Skyfire IV Review - Good Things Come In Small Packages | PCSPECIALIST

Skyfire IV Review - Good Things Come In Small Packages

anselhelm

New member
Specs

Chassis & Display
SkyFire: 14" Matte HD+ LED Widescreen (1600x900)
Processor (CPU)
Intel® Core™i5 Dual Core Mobile Processor i5-4210M (2.60GHz) 3MB
Memory (RAM)
8GB KINGSTON HYPER-X IMPACT 1600MHz SODIMM DDR3 (2 x 4GB) [custom request]
Graphics Card
NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 850M - 2.0GB DDR5 Video RAM - DirectX® 11
1st Hard Disk
[self-installed] 128GB SanDisk Ultra Plus
2nd Hard Disk
750GB WD SCORPIO BLACK WD7500BPKX, SATA 6 Gb/s, 16MB CACHE (7200 rpm)
Memory Card Reader
Integrated 2 in 1 Memory Card Reader (SD, MMC)
Thermal Paste
ARCTIC MX-4 EXTREME THERMAL CONDUCTIVITY COMPOUND
Sound Card
Intel 2 Channel High Definition Audio + MIC/Headphone Jack
Wireless/Wired Networking
GIGABIT LAN & WIRELESS 802.11N CARD INC. BLUETOOTH 3.0
USB Options
2 x USB 3.0 PORTS + 1 x USB 2.0 PORT AS STANDARD
Battery
SkyFire 14" Series 6 Cell Lithium Ion Battery
Power Cable
1 x UK Power Lead & 90W AC Adaptor
Keyboard Language
INTEGRATED 11.6"/14" MSI UK KEYBOARD
Mouse
INTEGRATED 2 BUTTON TOUCHPAD MOUSE
Webcam
INTEGRATED 3.0 MEGAPIXEL WEBCAM
Warranty
3 Year Silver Warranty (1 Year Collect & Return, 1 Year Parts, 3 Year Labour)
Dead Pixel Guarantee
30 Day Dead Pixel Guarantee Inc. Labour & Carriage Costs
Delivery
STANDARD INSURED DELIVERY TO UK MAINLAND (MON-FRI)


Pictures & Screenshots

Lid
20141215_195445.jpg

Base
20141215_195614.jpg

Keyboard & Screen
20141215_195737_15.jpg


Review

I could write quite a lot about this lovely laptop, but instead I'm going to sum up my thoughts more concisely to be more considerate to anyone who might want to configure this laptop.

Screen
Unless you really want 1080P on this screen, 900P is fine. Even at this resolution, I had to increase the DPI in Windows and text is tiny in non-DPI-aware programs. The viewing angles are decent for a screen at this price range. (If you're a real quality buff, you'll want something higher quality.)

Chasis
Simple but sleek. Unfortunately a fingerprint magnet, but that's to be expected. Looks professional. Very light laptop but feels sturdy. Doesn't feel flimsy like others do.

Cooling System
Loud at full throttle (such as intense gaming) but not too unpleasant overall in short periods or if you have headphones on. Like myself, I recommend investing in a cooling stand to sit underneath it, as this will reduce the noise immensely. I definitely recommend going for the better thermal paste, as the temps can easily pass 80°C even with this before the cooler kicks in fully.

BIOS
Simple but effective. Had enough options, for example, for me to prefer legacy boot over UEFI mode before installing Windows on it. (Wish I'd not installed this on my main PC. No tangible benefits and a few disadvantages / irritations.) Could do with some more settings, but it does what I need it to for a laptop.

Keyboard / Mouse
Both quite generic, but pleasant for their respective sizes. You'll want an external mouse for any prolonged gaming and possibly even an external keyboard for some types of games if you prefer arrow keys over WASD, but these are issues that could not be avoided with any brand of laptop: it's a size issue.

Speakers / Sound
Sound quality is honestly quite good, though naturally the tiny stereo speakers are tinny and designed for basic Windows sounds etc. For any prolonged non-headphone sounds, get some external speakers.

Battery
For its size, it's good. Ignoring size, you won't be doing much gaming away from the mains: about an hour, depending on the game. If you really want to game away from the mains for any prolonged period, you'll want to look into an external laptop battery. (I think that one from Antec on Amazon.co.uk might be compatible, but I've not looked into this too much as I'm rarely away from mains power.)

Gaming
Really pleased with it. You can see my 3DMark score here, based on high performance settings. It does what I need it to do without breaking a sweat. (I can't really speak for gamers who play Crysis or similar games, but it plays Civ V well enough for me, as well pretty much any other game in my Steam collection or Origin games (username: anselhelm). Also, a DDR5 Maxwell 850M is just an underclocked DDR5 Maxwell 860M at a much cheaper price, so it's a very cost-efficient graphics card.


Overall

Most pleasant and most powerful laptop I've ever owned. Works perfectly for me as a secondary machine. If you want a full desktop replacement, you will probably want a larger and more powerful device, but for anyone who wants a small and decently-powerful machine, I highly recommend this, especially for the cost.
 

anselhelm

New member
Great review! Have you recorded temperatures of the cpu/gpu when gaming?

Not in the sense of logging, but the processor seems to float around 75-80°C under intense gaming. I've not done any logging on the GPU under load. I might fire up Furmark and have a look.


Edit: After running Furmark for a while, the GPU reaches a stable high of about 74°C and the CPU floats between 72-81°C.
 
Last edited:

SpyderTracks

Bingo Bango Orchestrator
Moderator
Not in the sense of logging, but the processor seems to float around 75-80°C under intense gaming. I've not done any logging on the GPU under load. I might fire up Furmark and have a look.


Edit: After running Furmark for a while, the GPU reaches a stable high of about 74°C and the CPU floats between 72-81°C.

That's pretty decent temps. Nice review, plus rep
 

rayschlosbon

New member
Specs

Chassis & Display
SkyFire: 14" Matte HD+ LED Widescreen (1600x900)
Processor (CPU)
Intel® Core™i5 Dual Core Mobile Processor i5-4210M (2.60GHz) 3MB
Memory (RAM)
8GB KINGSTON HYPER-X IMPACT 1600MHz SODIMM DDR3 (2 x 4GB) [custom request]
Graphics Card
NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 850M - 2.0GB DDR5 Video RAM - DirectX® 11
1st Hard Disk
[self-installed] 128GB SanDisk Ultra Plus
2nd Hard Disk
750GB WD SCORPIO BLACK WD7500BPKX, SATA 6 Gb/s, 16MB CACHE (7200 rpm)
Memory Card Reader
Integrated 2 in 1 Memory Card Reader (SD, MMC)
Thermal Paste
ARCTIC MX-4 EXTREME THERMAL CONDUCTIVITY COMPOUND
Sound Card
Intel 2 Channel High Definition Audio + MIC/Headphone Jack
Wireless/Wired Networking
GIGABIT LAN & WIRELESS 802.11N CARD INC. BLUETOOTH 3.0
USB Options
2 x USB 3.0 PORTS + 1 x USB 2.0 PORT AS STANDARD
Battery
SkyFire 14" Series 6 Cell Lithium Ion Battery
Power Cable
1 x UK Power Lead & 90W AC Adaptor
Keyboard Language
INTEGRATED 11.6"/14" MSI UK KEYBOARD
Mouse
INTEGRATED 2 BUTTON TOUCHPAD MOUSE
Webcam
INTEGRATED 3.0 MEGAPIXEL WEBCAM
Warranty
3 Year Silver Warranty (1 Year Collect & Return, 1 Year Parts, 3 Year Labour)
Dead Pixel Guarantee
30 Day Dead Pixel Guarantee Inc. Labour & Carriage Costs
Delivery
STANDARD INSURED DELIVERY TO UK MAINLAND (MON-FRI)


Pictures & Screenshots

Lid
View attachment 6006

Base
View attachment 6007

Keyboard & Screen
View attachment 6008


Review

I could write quite a lot about this lovely laptop, but instead I'm going to sum up my thoughts more concisely to be more considerate to anyone who might want to configure this laptop.

Screen
Unless you really want 1080P on this screen, 900P is fine. Even at this resolution, I had to increase the DPI in Windows and text is tiny in non-DPI-aware programs. The viewing angles are decent for a screen at this price range. (If you're a real quality buff, you'll want something higher quality.)

Chasis
Simple but sleek. Unfortunately a fingerprint magnet, but that's to be expected. Looks professional. Very light laptop but feels sturdy. Doesn't feel flimsy like others do.

Cooling System
Loud at full throttle (such as intense gaming) but not too unpleasant overall in short periods or if you have headphones on. Like myself, I recommend investing in a cooling stand to sit underneath it, as this will reduce the noise immensely. I definitely recommend going for the better thermal paste, as the temps can easily pass 80°C even with this before the cooler kicks in fully.

BIOS
Simple but effective. Had enough options, for example, for me to prefer legacy boot over UEFI mode before installing Windows on it. (Wish I'd not installed this on my main PC. No tangible benefits and a few disadvantages / irritations.) Could do with some more settings, but it does what I need it to for a laptop.

Keyboard / Mouse
Both quite generic, but pleasant for their respective sizes. You'll want an external mouse for any prolonged gaming and possibly even an external keyboard for some types of games if you prefer arrow keys over WASD, but these are issues that could not be avoided with any brand of laptop: it's a size issue.

Speakers / Sound
Sound quality is honestly quite good, though naturally the tiny stereo speakers are tinny and designed for basic Windows sounds etc. For any prolonged non-headphone sounds, get some external speakers.

Battery
For its size, it's good. Ignoring size, you won't be doing much gaming away from the mains: about an hour, depending on the game. If you really want to game away from the mains for any prolonged period, you'll want to look into an external laptop battery. (I think that one from Antec on Amazon.co.uk might be compatible, but I've not looked into this too much as I'm rarely away from mains power.)

Gaming
Really pleased with it. You can see my 3DMark score here, based on high performance settings. It does what I need it to do without breaking a sweat. (I can't really speak for gamers who play Crysis or similar games, but it plays Civ V well enough for me, as well pretty much any other game in my Steam collection or Origin games (username: anselhelm). Also, a DDR5 Maxwell 850M is just an underclocked DDR5 Maxwell 860M at a much cheaper price, so it's a very cost-efficient graphics card.


Overall

Most pleasant and most powerful laptop I've ever owned. Works perfectly for me as a secondary machine. If you want a full desktop replacement, you will probably want a larger and more powerful device, but for anyone who wants a small and decently-powerful machine, I highly recommend this, especially for the cost.
That's pretty decent temps. Nice review
 
Last edited by a moderator:
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