Maingear eX-L 15 Gaming Notebook Review

PCMark & 3DMark Tests

To start things off, we fired up Futuremark's system performance benchmark, PCMark Vantage. This synthetic benchmark suite simulates a range of real-world scenarios and workloads, stressing various system subsets in the process. Everything you'd want to do with your PC -- watching HD movies, music compression, image editing, gaming, and so forth -- is represented here, and most of the tests are multi-threaded, making this a good indicator of all-around performance.

Futuremark PCMark Vantage
Simulated Application Performance

Maingear's eX-L 15 notebook jumps out to an early and convincing lead, even when compared with other recently launched Sandy Bridge laptops. Next to the Asus G73SW and MSI GT680R, both of which are nearly identically spec'd, the eX-L 15 pulls way ahead and shows the advantage of a faster processor and top-end GPU and in some instances, its hybrid hard drive, though the Asus G73SW sports hybrid drives as well.

Futuremark 3DMark Vantage
Simulated Gaming Performance

Next we switched gears to Futuremark's 3DMark Vantage benchmark, which focuses squarely on gaming performance. Some of the technologies in 3DMark Vantage are only available with DirectX 10, making this a better barometer of modern gaming prowess than the the older 3Mark06 benchmark. And unlike previous versions, 3DMark Vantage puts a bit more emphasis on the CPU rather than focusing almost entirely on the GPU(s).


Here again Maingear's rig flexes its gaming muscle, but what's really surprising is the margin of victory. The eX-L 15 posted a score nearly twice as fast as systems equipped with an Nvidia GeForce 460M or ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5870. Keep in mind that the eX-L 15 is sporting a single GPU, albeit a mighty fast one in the GeForce 485M.

Futuremark 3DMark11
Synthetic DirectX Gaming

Futuremark 3DMark11

The latest version of Futuremark's synthetic 3D gaming benchmark, 3DMark11, is specifically bound to Windows Vista and 7-based systems because it uses the advanced visual technologies that are only available with DirectX 11, which isn't available on previous versions of Windows.  3DMark11 isn't simply a port of 3DMark Vantage to DirectX 11, though.  With this latest version of the benchmark, Futuremark has incorporated four new graphics tests, a physics tests, and a new combined test.  We tested the graphics cards here with 3DMark11's Extreme preset option, which uses a resolution of 1920x1080 with 4x anti-aliasing and 16x anisotropic filtering.

Given how new 3DMark 11 is, we're still building a repository of benchmarks based on the Extreme preset option, but so far, the eX-L 15 holds the record for the highest score.

With another convincing victory in 3DMark 11's Performance preset, the eX-L 15 completes its clean sweep of Futuremark benchmarks, besting all other recently reviewed systems, including a pair sporting Sandy Bridge hardware inside.

Related content