Summary and Conclusion
Performance Summary: It's difficult to single out any specific area where the M98NU XCaliber's performance stands out. That is because the M98NU XCaliber excelled at every test we threw at it. With few exceptions (see below), this notebook represents some of the fastest performance you can expect from a notebook--it would be an admirable companion for anyone looking for a mobile gaming machine. Of course, "mobile" is a relative concept, as the M98NU XCaliber weighs a not inconsequential 13 pounds and has a rather large footprint.
In addition to the M98NU XCaliber's impressive performance, it also offers excellent HD video playback as well as great-sounding audio--there aren't many notebooks out there that come with four built-in speakers and an integrated subwoofer. The caveat here is that we had to tweak the audio settings from how it was shipped to us, in order to get audio playback quality we were pleased with. Other stand-out features of the M98NU XCaliber are its stylish design, full-sized keyboard, integrated biometric fingerprint reader, and its impressive 18.4-inch display.
Some gamers will be disappointed, however, that even with such a large-sized display, the notebook's LCD does not support the popular 1920x1200 resolution. To display any screen resolution that has more than 1080 pixels in the vertical axis requires connecting the M98NU XCaliber to an external monitor--which, in some instances, negates the advantage of a portable gaming rig in the first place. It's heft and relatively short battery life are also not ideal, but typically come with the territory for high-end gaming notebooks.
There is no question that the M98NU XCaliber is an excellent machine for gaming, watching HD video, and for great-sounding audio (for music, movies, and gaming). But if you're willing to spend more than five grand for a notebook, make sure you do your homework before you commit to such a large purchase. Whenever you configure a system with top-of-line components, you almost always pay a premium for such components--you often wind up paying a lot for a relatively small gain in performance. Also, as the M98NU XCaliber is an OEM notebook from Clevo, you might want to check out other OEMs who sell the same model--they might have better deals or perhaps better warranty policies. Lastly, with Intel's Core i7 mobile processor now showing up in new notebooks, it is more than likely that there are even more powerful notebooks available than the M98NU XCaliber, for the same price or perhaps even less.