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Toshiba Qosmio X875 review:

Strong gaming contender, but do we still need 3D?

Connections, performance, and battery life
If you're tired of ultraslim laptops that leave you wanting for ports and connection, then the Qosmio X875 should satisfy. It has dual video outputs, four USB ports (two are USB 3.0), and both headphone and mic jacks, at a time when many laptops are going to a single audio port. This particular configuration also includes a Blu-ray recordable drive, which is much less common than the read-only Blu-ray drives found in most other BD-enabled laptops.

For a hefty $1,800-plus investment, you get a powerful, well-equipped laptop. If you're interested in the X875 but want to spend less, I'd consider the lower-end $1,199 model, which still has a Core i7 quad-core processor, Nvidia's 670M graphics, and a 1080p screen, but trades down to a smaller, non-hybrid HDD, drops the RAM from 16GB to 8GB, and loses the Blu-ray and 3D functions.

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It should come as no surprise that a laptop with Intel's high-end 2.4GHz Core i7-3630QM CPU, plus 16GB of RAM, and a hybrid hard drive, would be fast. Of course, it's well-matched with other Core i7 quad-core laptops, such as the recent Lenovo IdeaPad Y500, and much faster on some tests as laptops with the ultra-low-voltage version of the Core i7 (the 1.9GHz i7-3517U) found on more ultrabook-style systems. That means the X875, whether you pay $1,200 or $2,200 for your configuration, is going to be more than fast enough for even heavy multitasking, video editing, or other high-pressure tasks.

The real reason to choose this over another quad-core laptop is the high-end GPU. Nvidia's GeForce GTX 670 is near top of the line, and one of the reasons you might consider paying more the $1,000 for a laptop. A full 1080p resolution the X875 ran BioShock: Infinite at 20.1 frames per second at very high settings. The very challenging high-end Metro 2033 test ran at 13.3 frames per second at the same resolution. That means that by dialing back a bit from the top settings (really intended for gaming desktops), you can get great frame rates from any current game, even at 1,920x1,080 pixels. If you want to spend about twice as much (or more), our Windows 8 Origin PC Eon 17-SLX, with dual GeForce 680M cards, ran the same BioShock: Infinite test at 37.6 frames per second, but that's overkill for most gamers -- if you're that serious, you're probably building your own gaming desktops from scratch.

Of course, with all that power coursing through the system, it wouldn't be wise to expect much from the battery. The X875 ran for 1 hour and 39 minutes on our video playback battery drain test, and that's without even a running a game to really tax the CPU/GPU, or any 3D content. Using those features, you can expect even less battery life. To be fair, big desktop replacement laptops such as this are not intended to live away from a wall socket for more than a short while (and they'd hardly fit on an airline tray or coffee shop table).

The Toshiba Qosmio X875 is one of the only new 17-inch Windows 8 gaming laptops you can buy right now. The components inside are current, including the new hybrid hard drive, but the design and features feel dated, including the clunky stereoscopic 3D implementation and lack of a touch screen. If you're in the market for a gaming desktop replacement, I'd suggest skipping this $1,800-plus configuration and instead starting with the slightly stripped-down $1,199 base model, adding must-have upgrades as you go.

Multimedia multitasking test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Adobe Photoshop CS5 image-processing test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Apple iTunes encoding test (in seconds)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

BioShock Infinite (frames per second)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Native resolution, 1,920x1,080  
Toshiba Qosmio X875-Q7390

Video playback battery drain test (in minutes)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

Load test (average watts)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

System configurations:

Toshiba Qosmio X875-Q7390
Windows 8 (64-bit); 2.4GHz Intel Core i7 3630QM; 16GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,600MHz; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670 3072MB (Dedicated) HDD#1 1TB Hybrid Toshiba 5400rpm HDD#2 1TB 5400rpm Toshiba

Lenovo IdeaPad Y500
Windows 8 (64-bit); 2.4GHz Intel Core i7 3630QM; 16GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,600MHz; (x2) 2GB Nvidia Geforce GT650M; HDD#1 SanDisk 16GB SSD/ HDD#2 1TB Seagate 5400rpm

Origin EON17-SLX
Windows 8 (64-bit); 3GHz Intel Core i7-3940XM; 16GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,600MHz; (x2) 2GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 680M; HDD #1: 240GB Intel 520 SSD / HDD #2: 1TB Western Digital 5400rpm (RAID 0)

Dell XPS 15
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) w/ SP1; 2.1GHz Intel Core i7-3612QM; 8GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,333MHz; 1GB Nvidia GeForce GT 640M LE / 64MB (Dedicated) Intel HD 4000; 750GB Toshiba 5400rpm

Apple Macbook Pro 15-inch w/ Retina Display (June 2012)
OS X 10.7.4 Lion; 2.3GHz Intel Core i7-3610QM; 8GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,600MHz; 1GB Nvidia GeForce GT 650M + 512MB Intel HD 4000; 256GB Apple SSD

What you'll pay

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