New Laptop review - Vortex IX | PCSPECIALIST

New Laptop review - Vortex IX

Hi all.

Just got prompted by PC Specialist to review my new Vortex IX gaming laptop - I've been so focussed on transferring all my Steam games (and playing them at Ultra settings, yay!) I've not had much time before. I've attached some pics and the specs are copied at the end of the review.

So... first impressions. Nice gunmetal grey chassis, presumably of aluminum with a large touch-sensitive pad which doubles up as a nifty fingerprint scanner - much cooler than the 10yo Clevo laptop I also own where you have to scrub your fingertip over a metal probe and practically draw blood, Gattaca-style (for those Millennials who don't get the sci-fi film reference, I probably have twice the miles on the clock that you do!). Only con I can see is that it is inevitably a fingerprint magnet, which is presumably why they included a little blue terrycloth pad to wipe away any smudges. On another note - the chassis is not your typical gaming "Vegas" style area 51 neon signage; bar a distinctive orange flash at the sides and rear air outlets, this understated laptop would not be out of place at a Lib-Dem conference. This does not count as a con in my view as I think the current trend for fixing more LEDs onto your LEDs, onto your RAM module is a bit vulgar and bling - I mean, hell, why not go the fully monty and craft-glue some swarovski crystals to your heatsink as well...

Screen - Full HD IPS and a very vibrant colour palette, good, even backlighting and I am very pleased there are no stuck pixels as with my last lappy. I went with the Vortex rather than the Recoil mainly because I only wanted a 15.6 screen but also because of the G-SYNC, about which I had heard good things - and I am impressed with the smoothness of fast-paced action in first-person shooters I have played, like Dishonored 2 and Metro: Last Light Redux. No stuttering or tearing - and the (non max-Q) RTX 2070 I opted for can keep the frame rate in the 100's on top settings, so right up there benefitting from the 144hz refresh rate.

Keyboard - Gotta love the "gamer dude" backlighting - not really my bag, baby, but saves me from pausing my game long enough to turn the light on, I suppose. Was not so keen on the chiclet style keyboard of the Vortex - would have much preferred the mechanical one of the Recoil - but good enough for WASD gaming. This review btw, is being typed on the mech keyboard of my 10yo lappy so as I don't get RSI. This is the one con I had to live with when choosing my specs, else I would have had to have forfeited the GSYNC. I also wanted the Thunderbolt-C USB port which the Recoil omits - just so I can get an EGPU for a little future-proofing when the graphics start to show their age.

CPU - i7 9750H 9th gen Coffee Lake Refresh, with 6-core goodness & hyperthreading. Good gaming mobile laptop choice but was surprised when benchmarking it that it rates as fairly average. Still, it handles single and multi-core applications with no noticible bottlenecking. Integrated i630 graphics and hybrid switching enabled in the BIOS make the laptop more power-efficient when running standard office software.

GPU - RTX 2070 8gb non Max-Q. Almost overpowered for 1080p gaming! I chose the Vortex because I saw the other 15.6 chassis were "thin 'n light" and therefore needed a cut-down graphics solution due to heat handling. Despite this, the Vortex is not what I would call a bulky laptop - it may not be as millimetre thin as a Razor-Blade chassis, but the improved thermal dynamics in the thicker case allow for more powerful hardware or overclocking. It's a trade-off again, but an acceptable one.

RAM - two sticks of 8Gb Corsair 2666mhz. Possibly 16 is overkill at the present time but no harm in a little future-proofing, right?

Storage - I went for the Samsung 970 plus M.2 512Gb. Wow. I mean, this thing goes like S.O.A.S, (to use a rather vulgar turd vs spade acronym). Benchmarked at something like 3300Mbs read, 3100Mbs write, 250k random IOPS - it's 10x faster than a good SSD drive - so why would any sane person want to select a SATA SSD or God forbid an HDD instead? With this, Win10 loads to the lock screen in approx 10 secs from cold and is good to go, and all further background TSR processes are fully active in RAM memory within 25-30 secs of pressing the power button. Got to say though: I'm puzzled that the 500gb WD-Black NVME was £3 more expensive than the Samsung 970 in the Configurator, when it only read/writes at around 1800Mbs - anybody know if it trades raw speed for durability or something? As I still have 1 empty M.2 slot, I plan to fill the M.2 drive with games and then add in another 512Gb or 1Tb card in a couple of years when the price is right. Also, the new Thunderbolt / USB4 external drives are currently rather expensive but should become more affordable in time - since I held out for the fast 40gbs port in the Vortex, there's a further option to play with.

Final point: I didn't spend an extra £120 buying an OS, as I already had an old PC copy of Win Vista with a pre-booked Win 10 Anniversary Ed upgrade key - I copied the bootable recovery Win 10 OS to USB (downloadable from the Microsoft help page) to update the PC-Specialist unlicenced test copy on the laptop to Win 10 Pro and plugged in the product key - it worked perfectly, why spend more if you don't need to?

Hope you liked the review, happy gaming, guys!

Product Category / Product Description

Chassis & Display
Processor (CPU)
Memory (RAM)
Graphics Card
1st Storage Drive
1st M.2 SSD Drive
Memory Card Reader
Vortex Series: 15.6" Matte Full HD 144Hz LED Widescreen (1920x1080) + G-Sync
Intel® Core™ i7 Six Core Processor 9750H (2.6GHz, 4.5GHz Turbo)
16GB Corsair 2666MHz SODIMM DDR4 (2 x 8GB)
NVIDIA® GeForce® RTX 2070 - 8.0GB GDDR6 Video RAM - DirectX® 12.1
500GB SAMSUNG 970 EVO PLUS M.2, PCIe NVMe (up to 3500MB/R, 3200MB/W)
Integrated 6 in 1 Card Reader (SD /Mini SD/ SDHC / SDXC / MMC / RSMMC)
AC Adaptor 1 x 230W AC Adaptor
Battery Vortex IX Series 6 Cell Lithium Ion Battery
Power Cable 1 x 1 Metre UK Power Cable (Kettle Lead)
Sound Card
Bluetooth & Wireless
USB/Thunderbolt Options
Keyboard Language
2 Channel High Def. Audio + SoundBlaster™ Cinema
GIGABIT LAN & WIRELESS INTEL® Wi-Fi 6 AX200 (2.4 Gbps) + BT 5.0
1 x USB 3.1 PORT (Type C) + 2 x USB 3.0 PORTS + 1 x USB 2.0 PORT
Operating System Language United Kingdom - English Language
Office Software
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