- Excellent performance
- Brilliant high contrast display with 3D options
- Stays very cool
- Keyboard designed for gaming
- Uncomfortable touchpad
- Expensive as configured
- Bland design without custom skin
The Sager NP8170 from Xotic PC is a solid custom gaming notebook with plenty of performance and an impressive range of options.
The Xotic Sager NP8170/Clevo P170HM is an extremely solid custom gaming notebook with excellent gaming performance and runs extremely cool even when exerted. This machine joins the custom gaming world near the top with an Intel Extreme Edition quad-core processor, 16GB of RAM, and a powerful NVIDIA GeForce GTX graphics card. Will the Xotic Sager hold up strong against all of our synthetic and real-world tests?
Assembled by Clevo and Sager and Sold by Xotic
This custom gaming notebook is considered to be both a Sager NP8170 and a Clevo P170HM as it has parts assembled in by both of these manufacturers, although it is a Sager-branded notebook. After everything is put together, it is then sold to consumers by Xotic PC. Xotic is a reseller specializing in custom notebooks, and was founded in 1999.
The Xotic Sager NP8170/Clevo P170HM was sent to us to review from Xotic and is based on the Intel HM67 chipset on the Intel Huron River Platform. Aside from its fast Intel Core i7-2920XM Extreme Edition quad-core processor, the highlights of the machine include its graphics performance thanks to the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580M, keyboard with a w/a/s/d gaming key, USB 3.0 port, and beautiful high-contrast FHD 1080p display.
Build and Design
The 17-inch Xotic Sager NP8170/Clevo P170HM is on the heavy side of things at 8.59lbs and 412 (W) x 276 (D) x 41.8~45.4 (H)mm. Having carried gaming notebooks that are much heavier, though, at least it’s not 13-15lbs. The design is pretty average and typical-looking; it has an all-black exterior with the Sager logo in small silver lettering on the display cover. The lid is quite reflective, as is the palmrest and the surfaces around the display. The area surrounding the keyboard are matte, and is a slightly lighter black than the rest of the notebook. The speakers are located above the keyboard in a speaker bar layout. There aren’t any quick or easy-access keys, although there are a few LED indicators located on the top-right of the chassis for items such as Wi-Fi and capslock/numberlock. Overall, the design is unassuming and standard, but you can purchase a custom notebook skin through Xotic for as low as $89.
The build is a lot more impressive. The notebook is made of what Xotic called “metal brushed onyx,” meaning it’s covered in thick brushed aluminum on the palmrests and display cover. When the center of the chassis is pressed down upon, it does flex some, but not to the point of being an issue. I did notice that when the right side of the palmrest is pressed, it goes down much more easily than the left side. The display does not flex at all when we bend the cover in at each corner, which is a sign of durability. The hinges are also very sturdy; it almost takes two hands to lift and close the notebook cover.
The bottom is made of plastics, but thanks to the sturdy metals used in the chassis it’s not cheap-feeling. It’s very easy to upgrade the primary hardware, as the storage drives, graphics unit, RAM, and processor can all be access from the bottom panels. There are more than a few screws to remove to get to most of the hardware, though. There’s even a TV tuner card slot.
I’ll be honest: I simply love the fact that the brushed aluminum keeps the palmrests extremely cool at all times, even when the notebook is being pushed to its hardest during 3D gaming (and I can’t stress the importance of this enough). The only complaint I have about the build quality is the slight flex of the chassis when pressure is applied and the fact that the brushed aluminum material tends to attract grease from the hands very easily. Keep a microfiber cloth handy, for sure.
Ports and Features
The Xotic Sager NP8170/Clevo P170HM has an extremely good port selection, naturally; it’s similar to the selection on most gaming laptops. It includes two USB 3.0 ports and three USB 2.0 ports, one eSATA/USB combo, HDMI, a 3-in-1 media card reader, DVI-I output, Firewire, audio jacks, S/PDIF output, and CATV for the TV tuner option. The only complaints I have are it lacks an ExpressCard slot and the media card reader isn’t compatible with more than three types of cards (MS, MMC, SD).