WASHINGTON, June 17, 2014 – The Maingear Pulse 17 is an ultra-thin, sleek laptop that can hold its own among, if not best, many desktop PCs.
Weighing in at a mere 6lbs, the Pulse 17 is quite the monstrosity of gaming laptops. Not because it has the fastest hardware currently available but because it has no problems performing as good as it does while keeping the thermals at bay. All this and more in an design that will make even MacBook Air users take a second lookat it.
From the outset, it’s difficult not to be impressed by the Pulse 17. The aluminum casing feels upscale, however its purpose is fuctional, aiding in heat dissipation. To handle the thermals, this computer uses two side vents near the back of the unit.
One side has a fan that pulls cool air in, blowing it across the warm chips inside, exiting the heat out of the other side.
At no time, did we experience the Pulse 17 shutting down from getting too hot.
At the heart of it lies the Intel Core i7 4700HQ 2.4GHz processor with 8 megabytes of L3-cache and will operate at an effective 3.4GHz turbo mode under a heavy load – its total draw is 47 watts. Our review unit is an earlier model with the NVIDIA GeForce 765M in it while the newer models feature the more formidable GeForce 870M so while our test results are still very stellar for a laptop with such a small footprint, the 870M units provide even more GPU power at the same price now as when the Pulse 17 was first released.
16 gigabytes of DDR-3 system RAM is standard as is a 128GB SSD primary hard drive. Our test unit does have the optional SuperRAID setup for its primary hard drive which consists of two of the 128GB SSD drives in a RAID 0 from the factory. Extra storage comes from its included 1 terabyte, 5400rpm secondary hard drive. If you do want a bit of extra speed boost from the secondary, you can also opt for a 1 terabyte hybrid drive that 8 gigabyte of caching built into it.
Ports on the Pulse 17 include four USB 3.0 ports, one HDMI port, mic-input, headphone out, SPDIF output, an SD card reader and a 720p HD webcam.
The inclusion of the Killer gigabit Ethernet port along with the Killer 802.11/n wireless network card speaks to the gaming pedigree of this laptop. File transfers on the wireless were among the best we’ve ever seen from any computer and of course the wired transfers, using our gigabyte switch, were also ridiculously fast.
There wasn’t a huge difference in ping times in gaming with either one but the “snappiness” of the Killer technology could be “felt” during day to day use.
Benchmarks: All game tests were set to maximum graphical settings in each game at a resolution of 1920×1080.
Battlefield 4: 32fps
Call of Duty: Ghosts: 44fps
Batman Origins: 57fps
Assassin’s Creed: 37fps
Fire Strike: 2395
Cloud Gate: 12743
Ice Storm: 88713
Home Accelerated: 3022
Creative Accelerated: 3023
Work Accelerated: 3999
What the Pulse 17 proves is that you can have formidable gaming prowess in an ultra-thin laptop that doesn’t over-heat (but can get hot on the lap) while running the most demanding of today’s top-shelf gaming titles. Also when looking at our test results, bear in mind that the updated model features an even faster GPU.
Priced at just under the $2100 dollar mark, it may seem quite a bit more than many you’ll find at your local Best Buy but it becomes very competitively priced when looking for a premium laptop that can tied you over for the next few years. Its combination of performance, build quality easily makes it one of the better values we’ve seen in a laptop.
In the end, it’s not a hard decision at all to recommend the Maingear Pulse 17. We’re confident you’ll agree, that it’d be difficult to find a better-performing unit at its physical size and price, anywhere.
Company website: www.maingear.com