The iBuypower Battalion Ultra-Thin M1771′s ($1,859) screen is big enough and the system is powerful enough that you truly can use the system as a desktop replacement. It’s got a quad core Intel Haswell processor and Nvidia GeForce graphics to get you through most games and multimedia tasks with ease. Its 17-inche screen is large, bright, and the system can drive up to a 4k monitor externally. It’s a power user’s system, to be sure. However, you will have to pay a premium for this system that can do everything.
Design and Features
The Battalion Ultra-Thin M1771 is true to its name, with dimensions measuring 0.85 by 16.5 by 11.25 inches (HWD). The system weighs 5.93 pounds, so it’s meant to sit on a surface rather than be used on your lap on an airplane or train commute. With the included power adapter, the Battalion Ultra-Thin M1771 has a beefy 7.17-pound travel weight.
The system has a black painted metal finish all around, with a centered, chiclet-style backlit keyboard. That keyboard has the full gamut of keys, including a numeric keypad. The Start button is on the right side of the space bar, but this is okay for gaming rigs since it is far away from the WASD cluster and won’t be susceptible to inadvertent keystrokes during heavy gaming sessions. If you’re looking for macro keys, you’re better off with systems like the Alienware 17 ($2,799), which includes a set above the number pad. Either pack a mouse or get used to the system’s chrome-ringed trackpad: The Battalion Ultra-Thin M1771 doesn’t have a touch screen. While you can argue you’ll be in 3D games much of the time on this system, multimedia apps and Windows 8.1 in particular really call out for a touch screen in 2013-2014.
Since the system has a 17-inch 1,920 by 1,080 resolution screen, so it’s certainly larger than our Editors’ Choice for ultraportable gaming laptops, the Razer Blade (2013) ($1,999), which has a 14-inch 1,600 –by-900 resolution screen. That said, the iBuypower Battalion Ultra-Thin M1771 is quite a bit slimmer and smaller than the former Editors’ Choice for entry-level gaming laptops, the CyberPower FangBook X7-200 ($1,549), which is comparatively chunky. The Battalion Ultra-Thin M1771 can do this because it eschews an optical drive. You’ll have to use an external USB drive to install older games from CD and DVD.
The Battalion Ultra-Thin M1771 is fully connected however, since it comes with Killer-branded Ethernet and 802.11a/b/g/n networking. Other connectors include four USB 3.0 ports, HDMI, two mini-DisplayPorts (capable of driving a 3,840-by-2,160 display), audio, and a SD card reader. The system comes with a pair of 128GB SSDs linked together in a RAID 0 array for speedy storage. While this is perfect for the obsessive gamer who rebuilds his OS and rotates games on and off his C: drive, 256GB total isn’t a lot of space for users that like to download media often. These users should think about investing in an external 2TB hard drive.
The Battalion Ultra-Thin M1771 we reviewed came with 16GB of memory, so multitasking shouldn’t be a problem, and you’ll have no problem meeting most games’ minimum requirements. The system we reviewed came with Windows 8.1. Thankfully, iBuypower didn’t install any bloatware, preferring to let the user install apps. The system only had the standard Windows 8.1 environment and Nvidia’s GeForce Experience pre-installed. GeForce Experience sits in the background, making sure your drivers are up to date and setup correctly for your games and gaming sessions. The Battalion Ultra-Thin M1771 comes with a standard one-year warranty.
Now, $1,800 is a lot to spend on a system, and for the most part is worth it. Thanks to its Intel Core i7-4700MQ processor, Nvidia GeForce GTX 765M graphics, and dual SSDs, the Battalion Ultra-Thin M1771 was one of the better performers on all our benchmark tests (except for battery life). The Battalion Ultra-Thin M1771 easily played both of our game tests at medium settings (Aliens vs. Predator 62 fps, Heaven 56 fps), in the same range as the Razer Blade (2013) and the Digital Storm Veloce ($1,596). Ramp up the settings to very high on both tests, and the Battalion Ultra-Thin M1771 slows to 20 fps. This is fine, because it means that it is possible to get good frame rates at the system’s full 1,920-by-1,080 resolution, you’ll just have to turn off some of the eye candy. The Veloce and Razer Blade also scale similarly.
The three systems are evenly matched at the multimedia benchmark tests, where the Battalion Ultra-Thin M1771 took 34 seconds for Handbrake and 3:24 for Adobe Photoshop CS6. Bascially, all three systems will make any performance user happy to spend between $1,600 and $2k. You’ll need to spend a lot more, almost $3,000 for the Alienware 17 to get significantly more performance. And that’s the rub, if you’re willing to put up with a lot less multimedia prowess, the entry-level gaming laptop Editors’ Choice MSI GX70 3Be-007US ($1,399) has even more 3D prowess than the Battalion Ultra-Thin M1771 for about $450 less. The MSI also lasts about four hours on our battery test.
The Battalion Ultra-Thin M1771 is a moderate performer on our battery rundown test. It made it to 3 hours 59 minutes and change, so we can call it four hours even. This is a half-hour better than the Digital Storm Veloce, but almost three hours less than the Razer Blade (2013), which remains our choice if you’re going to be a travelling gamer.
The iBuypower Battalion Ultra-Thin M1771 has a larger 17-inch screen, but it doesn’t otherwise outperform more portable rivals like the Razer Blade (2013) and Digital Storm Veloce on our benchmark tests. If you just need a large-screen gaming laptop, then you can give up multimedia power and step down to the entry-level MSI GX70 3Be-007US as your large-screen gaming rig. As an all-around performance machine, the iBuypower Battalion Ultra-Thin M1771 is jack-of-all-trades system that will make you pay for all the things it can do, and comes recommended. However, if you’re willing to make a few tradeoffs and focus your needs, there are less expensive choices out there.
|Processor Name||Intel Core i7-4700MQ|
|Operating System||Microsoft Windows 8|
|Networking Options||802.11n (2.4+5 GHz Dualband)|
|Processor Speed||2.4 GHz|
|Screen Size||17.3 inches|
|Storage Capacity (as Tested)||256 GB|
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc