CyberPower Extreme M1

July 12, 2009


At $2,300, CyberPower’s Extreme M1 17-inch gaming notebook is the antithesis of the budget Gateway P-7811 FX we’ve been raving about for months. The most obvious extravagance you get for the higher price is dual-GPU graphics in the form of two ATI Radeon HD 3870 cards in CrossFireX. The Extreme M1’s 2.53GHz T9400 Core 2 Duo CPU is also 270MHz faster and features twice the cache as the Gateway’s proc, its 320GB hard drive is more than 50 percent bigger, and its optical drive supports Blu-ray playback.

The question is, how do these extras translate in performance? Compared with our zero-point notebook, the Extreme M1 excelled in all the benchmarks to varying degrees—not surprising, given the zero-point’s age. Against the Gateway P-7811 FX, there was a little more give and take. For example, in the ProShow Producer and MainConcept benchmarks, CyberPower’s rig had gains hovering around 10 percent, which is proportionate to the M1’s clock-speed advantage over the Gateway’s 2.26GHz CPU. But in our Photoshop benchmark, the Extreme M1 was actually around 7 percent slower than Gateway’s P-7811 FX.

Gaming was an even more interesting story. We didn’t expect the dual-GPUs in the Extreme M1 to really flex their muscle in our standard notebook benchmarks, as FEAR and Quake 4 aren’t that graphically intensive, particularly at the mild settings we use in our mobile tests. But we certainly weren’t expecting the Extreme M1 to turn out just 28fps in FEAR—that’s 74 percent slower than Gateway’s budget machine. Without any clear explanation for the performance lag, we forged on. In Quake 4, the Extreme M1 was a more expected 7 percent faster than Gateway’s P-7811 FX.

We went a step further and tested the Extreme M1 with our desktop gaming benchmarks as well. After all, the CrossFireX graphics should be up to the task of more graphically challenging titles. And sure enough, we were able to run Crysis at the M1’s 1920x1200 native resolution and set to Very High Quality, albeit at just 15fps. With Unreal Tournament 3, the Extreme M1 surpassed even some gaming desktops with 114fps. Gateway’s P-7811 FX, with its single GeForce 9800N GTS, achieved half the frame rate in those two games: 8fps and 74fps for Crysis and UT3, respectively. Indeed, the overall gaming prowess of the Extreme M1 convinced us that the FEAR score is likely the result of a driver issue and not any hardware shortcoming.

Yet despite its competence as a gaming rig, we have some reservations about the Extreme M1. It’s heavier than most gaming notebooks, weighing close to 13 pounds with its power brick; its 12-cell battery can’t supply juice for a full two hours—we got one hour and 50 minutes through a standard-def DVD in power-saving mode; and its speakers are weak and tinny. Even more troubling, the Extreme M1 doesn’t feel all that sturdy to us: There was a slight buckling to the strip of touch-sensitive controls above the machine’s keyboard, and the lid of the notebook showed scratches after just a few days of indoor use—it’s little consolation that the scratches were camouflaged by all the smudges and fingerprints that quickly covered the machine’s shiny black veneer. For the price of this notebook, we’d expect better quality.


CPU : Intel 2.53GHz Core 2 Duo Mobile T9400
RAM : 4GB DDR3/1.066MHz
Chipset : Intel PM45
Hard Drive : Western Digital 320GB WD3200BEKT-22F3T0 (7,200rpm)
GPU : Dual ATI Radeon HD 3870 (CrossFireX)
Boot/Down : 37 sec / 49 sec
Lap/Carry : 9 lbs, 11oz / 12 lbs, 12oz


Zero Point CyberPower Extreme M1

Premiere Pro CS3 : 1, 860 sec 1,517 sec
Photoshop CS3 : 237 sec 207 sec
ProSho : 2,416 sec 1,834 sec
MainConcept : 3,498 sec 3,270 sec
FEAR1.07 : 14 fps 28 fps (100%)
Quake 4 : 29.1 fps 142 fps (+388%)

[via maximumpc]


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