I recently (09/2013) decided that I needed a stronger computer, so I did some research and bought a 17.3" Clevo W370ST from a local retailer specialized on high-performance notebooks (branded as XMG). I configured it with one of the fastest notebook CPUs currently available, a Core i7-4800MQ, 8 GB RAM, 500 GB HDD, 120 GB SSD, and a GeForce GTX 765M. The graphics works very well under Windows 7.
|Game||Resolution & details||fps|
|FarCry||1920x1080, very high||260|
|FarCry 3||1920x1080, high||smooth (didn't measure)|
|Battlefield 4||1920x1080, medium||60|
|Battlefield 4||1920x1080, high||35|
I performed all measurements without anti-aliasing. I tried 4x AA in full HD with FarCry 3, but the frame rate dropped noticeably, so it is my conclusion that the GTX 765M is not the right hardware for AA.
It is important to use the most current Nvidia driver (at the time of this writing 331.65). First, I used an older version, which caused Battlefield to have extremely poor performance (very jerky and 28 fps at 1360x768 with low details).
Under Linux, I couldn't get the Nvidia graphics running with Bumblebee (neither under Debian, nor under Fedora). At least, it can be shut off, which saves some energy. I currently run the machine under Debian 7.1 with Xfce, but I also tried Fedora 19 (also Xfce). Both run smoothly, except that Fedora had the problem that if an external display was plugged in and the notebook display was shut, the login screen was not shown on the external display, and I had to type in the password blindfolded. I will stick to Debian, since it has a very low resource footprint (significantly less than Fedora, <170 MB RAM usage after boot) and I know it well and can solve problems there quickly in case they occur. (I guess it should be possible to bring Fedora down to 170 MB also, but I didn't try.)
I downloaded kernel 3.11.1 directly from kernel.org and compiled it with the default settings. It runs very well. (FYI, kernel 3.10 has a problem at shut down, it hangs.) Under normal circumstances, the machine stays so cool that its fans can't be heard. So, it is very well suited as an office machine. However, under heavy load, it gets quite noisy.
The SSD really pays off. LibreOffice starts in <1 second after boot, just as Firefox and GIMP. Smaller applications start so fast that I'm not able to notice any delay. But of course I took care that only static data is located on the SSD and that ext4 uses the TRIM command. Variable data lies on the HDD.
Hint: When installing Debian, I told the installer to mount / on the SSD, and it did so. But when I tried to boot, the BIOS told me that there was no operating system. As I found out, the reason was that the installer had written the master boot record not onto the SSD, but onto the HDD. I don't know why. So, I told the BIOS to boot from HDD instead of SSD, and it worked. This implies no performance penalty, because the OS itself is still booted from SSD. Under Fedora, this problem did not exist.
|Hardware||Status under Linux||Notes|
|8 GB DDR3, dual channel||works|
|500 GB HGST HDD (Western Digital)||works|
|120 GB Samsung SSD||works||a) mount only static folders like / and /usr on the SSD, mount
folders like /home, /var, /tmp on HDD
b) configure ext4 to use the TRIM command in order to preserve SSD performance (use the discard option in fstab)
|17.3" Display, 1920x1080||works|
|Intel Centrino Wireless-N 2230 chip||works||use the iwlwifi driver|
|Realtek RTL8111/8168/8411 LAN chip||works||use the r8169 driver|
|USB 2.0 controller (1 port)||works|
|USB 3.0 controller (2 ports)||works|
|Intel HD 4600 integrated graphics||works|
|Nvidia Optimus technology||problematic||I use Bumblebee to automatically shutdown the Nvidia graphics in order to save energy, but I could not get the graphics running|
|Nvidia GeForce GTX 765M||problematic||shut it down via Bumblebee|
|Intel HD audio chip||works|
|Card reader (SD, MMC)||?||didn't test|
|Webcam||does not work||I tried it with Gnome's Cheese application and didn't get an image. I did no further research regarding this issue, because I don't need the webcam.|