How to start? This is my 1st review and 3rd Sager notebook. I have previously owned a NP8790, and an NP 9262. I purchased the 9280 to replace the 9262 which was stolen. Since I do not own a desktop, size and weight is not an issue.
The Sager NP9280 is based on the same Clevo D900 chassis as the NP9262 Review Steve@NBF reviewed back in October of 2008. That being I stole some of his review. Sorry Steve. Although it is the same chassis, there are tons of component upgrades that make the NP9280 a much more superior machine. The first noticeable difference is the CPU, going from a Core 2 Duo to an Intel I7 Chip. The second noticeable difference is going from the GeForce 8 series SLI cards to the nVidia GeForce GTX 280M Card, equaling a total of 1,024MB dedicated video memory. These two components will clearly make a huge impact in performance whether you are using this notebook for gaming, video rendering or other high demanding processes.
I ordered the notebook with Raid 5 on 3 500Gb 7200 rpm hard drives and with in 1 hour I had an hard drive error out. I started a rebuild of the raid 5. after 30 hours it error out and started rebuilding again. I called Sager support and they agreed to send a new hard drive. Since I’m a little inpatient I went to “BestBuy” and bought a spare drive. I then proceeded to rebuild the notebook from scratch with the raid 5. After 6 hours of installing software and my backup files another hard drive developed the same error as before. I gave up on the raid 5 configuration. I started a new install with raid 0. I have not had any problems since.
Sager 9280 Intel® Core™ i7 Desktop Replacement Gaming Notebook (Built on Clevo D900F) Qty: 1
17" WUXGA Super Clear Ultra Bright Glossy w/ Wide Viewing Angle (1920x1200 resolution) Qty: 1
30 Day No Questions Asked Money Back Guarantee! (Others only give you 15 days) Qty: 1
nVidia GeForce GTX 280M Video/Graphics Card w/1GB (1024MB) Memory (User Upgradeable!) Qty: 1
Intel Core i7-950 Quad (Nehalem) | 3.06GHz | 8MB L3 Cache, 4.8GT/sec QPI | 130W, LGA 1366 Qty: 1
Arctic Silver 5 High Performance Thermal Compound Qty: 1
6GB (6144MB) DDR3 1066MHz SDRAM Triple Channel Memory | 3 SODIMMs Qty: 1
RAID 5 (Stripping + Mirroring - Requires 3 Identical Hard Drives) Qty: 1
500GB l 7200RPM I SATA II-300 (16MB Cache Buffer) Qty: 1
Add 2nd 500GB l 7200RPM I SATA II-300 (16MB Cache Buffer) Qty: 1
Add 3rd 500GB l 7200RPM I SATA II-300 (16MB Cache Buffer) Qty: 1
8X DVD±R / RW / 4X + Dual Layer Drive with Software Qty: 1
Enhanced High Definition 3D Audio Sound System with S/P DIF Digital Output Qty: 1
Integrated Built-In Bluetooth Module + EDR Qty: 1
Internal Built-In 7-in-1 Memory Card Reader (MS/MS PRO/MS DUO/SD/Mini-SD/MMC/RSMMC) Qty: 1
Integrated 3.0 Megapixel Digital Video Camera (Built In Webcam!) Qty: 1
Integrated Built in 10/1000 Fast Ethernet / LAN Network Card Qty: 1
Integrated Built in Intel Pro Wireless Wi-Fi Link 5300 802.11 A/G/N Qty: 1
Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate 64 Bit Installed (64 and 32 bit CD included with drivers) with windows 7 upgrade Qty: 1
STANDARD SMART Li-ION BATTERY ( 12 CELLS ) Qty: 1
Deluxe Black Business Carrying Case (Free!) Qty: 1
Microsoft Office Ready with FREE 60-Day Trial! Qty: 1
Sager 3 Year Warranty (Parts and Labor) + Lifetime Toll-Free Domestic Technical (No Accidental Protection Policy)
What's in the Box:
Upon opening the box, two things will become apparent. First is the free standard notebook carrying case, which is very convenient for any notebook user. The second thing users will notice is the notebook itself, perfectly placed in a nice tight package.
Software and OS
The machine initially shipped with Windows Vista 64bit installed, I immediately started installing my personal software. Since I had the hard drive problems and went with a raid 0. I had to reinstall the OS from scratch. This went with out a hitch. Unlike my 9262 with Windows XP I did not need to add the Raid driver support. The install of Windows Vista and my software went very smoothly. The speed of the hard drive transfer rates, are excellent. When I was transferring my backup files I had 2 transfers going at once, both had a transfer rate of 28 Mb/sec
This notebook is huge. Not only by width and length, but by height. The notebook stands over two inches thick when closed and weighs well over 10 pounds. The chassis is the exact same as the NP9262 model in terms of dimensions. In the center of the notebook lid is a neat and professional looking Sager logo. The great thing about all Sager notebooks, is there is very little to be displeased about in terms of aesthetics. Every notebook on the Sager line is a shade of gray, brush metal genetic looking notebook.
The notebook build is strong and sturdy in all areas. The keyboard has very little flex, the CD/DVD drive feels strong and sturdy as it ejects and closes. The lid feels tight against the notebook when strapped down and does not move when the notebook is opened.
Like all Sager notebooks that have been reviewed, the LCD screen’s are remarkably sharp, bright and close to flawless. At this point in time, after roughly 30 years of Active Matrix Display development, we have reached a point where we can safely assume that all LCDs packaged with notebooks should be dead pixel free and manufactured to the best of the ability. Customers should feel confident when buying from Sager for they also have a very reliable dead pixel policy when purchasing.
*Note; this screen depicts an Operating System not installed yet
This model contains the 17" WUXGA (1920x1200) Super Clear Clear Glossy Screen. Like most laptops today and all Sagers, the 9280 has eight levels of brightness settings that can be adjusted using the function key (FN) + the F8 key to lower the brightness and F9 key to raise it.
Just like it’s predecessor the NP9262, the Sager NP9280 does an incredible job of keeping the keyboard and surrounding chassis warm to the touch. This is very impressive considering how hot the CPU runs with two graphics cards inside. There is nothing more uncomfortable than a hot keyboard or touchpad and the NP9280 shows no signs of discomfort due to heat.
The keyboard also comes with a range of useful function keys; Pressing Fn + the ~ key will play or pause DVDs, F1 will toggle the touchpad, F3 will mute the sound on the notebook, F4 will initiate sleep mode, F5 and F6 will decrease and increase the sound volume respectively, F7 toggles the display through each output, F8 and F9 decrease and increase the LCD brightness respectively, F11 toggles Wifi on/off and Num Lk toggles Scroll Lock on/off.
A second disappointment is the comfort level with typing on the keyboard. Since the notebook is raised so high, daylong typing becomes an uncomfortable chore because your wrists have nothing to rest on. Your forearms end up resting on the front of the notebook, which is an unnatural position. (flex)
I have said this on every Sager I reviewed, but it is the truth. The Touchpad on the Sagers are the best I've used. It has a great texture, is set to a perfect acceleration on stock settings and is very pleasing to use. Next to the touchpad is the scrollpad which is also very easy to use and scroll through web sites or word documents.
There are three Application Hot Keys located at the top of the keyboard and two Game Hot Keys located to the left of the keyboard labeled G1 and G2. Three hot keys on notebooks are pretty standard these days and usually are set to generic functionalities as these are. The first Application Hot Key launches your default e-mail client. The second Hot Key launches the default internet browser and the third hot key can be set to different windows applications such as Microsoft Word or Virus Software. The Game Hot keys are a good idea, however most people who will be using this notebook for gaming, will probably be using their own keyboard, and own built-in hot keys instead of the ones on the left of the notebook keyboard. However, if you do end up using them, you can set them to pretty much any macro or command you wish.
There are two sets of LEDs on the 9280. The first three are built into the bottom of the LCD panel and represent the power and communication indicators. The first icon is the generic Power icon with what looks like a wall plug when AC power is in use. When Orange, this represents the battery power is being used. When Green, the Computer is On and when Blinking Green, the computer is in sleep mode. The second icon looks like a battery; when Orange, the battery is charging, green when the battery is fully charged and when blinking orange, the battery has reached a critically lower power state. The last icon resembles a wifi signal; when green this represents wireless LAN is powered on. When Orange, this represents bluetooth mode is powered on.
The second set of LEDs is located above the keyboard to the left of the hot keys. There is five LEDs, all green, which represent typical keyboard indicators such as number lock, caps lock and scroll lock (LEDs #3, 4, and 5 respectively). There is also a hard drive activity LED (#2) and a card reader LED (#1)which indicates when the notebook is accessing a card in the 7-in-1 card reader.
There were no issues with the Wifi.
One of the most impressive features on the 9280 is the four speakers built into the 9280’s chassis. This gives a subtle surround sound-like tone when playing games and watching DVDs. Usually notebooks, even desktop replacements, have only two speakers, but the 9280’s speaker quality is definitely a cut above average.
Input and Output Ports
The front of the notebook also has a Line-In audio jack, S/PDIF Out jack, Microphone In and Headphone Out jack. There are also two latches, which hold the screen down. On the very front of the notebook are two surprisingly large speakers. Two more speakers are located to the left and right of the keyboard.
With the 3.0 M/pixel camera the pictures are great.
The right side of the laptop contains 4 USB ports and the standardized security lock.
The left side is packed with components. The external monitor VGA output is the first feature starting from the left. There is also an HDMI and CATV port, RJ-11 modem and RJ-45 LAN jacks, an IEEE 1394 Firewire port, Express card slot (34/54), an optical drive and 7-in-1 card reader. Every laptop every made should have a 7-in-1 card reader which consists of supporting formats: MMC (Multimedia Card) / SD (secure Digital) / MS (Memory Stick) / MS Pro (Memory Stick Pro) / MS Duo (requires PC adaptor) / Mini SD (requires PC adaptor) / RS MMC (requires PC adaptor).
The back of the notebook has the widely popular DVI video output port, DC Power in connection, and fan intake/output.
The bottom of the laptop is where the four fan outlets are located for air intake and ventilation. The bottom is also where users can get access to the primary and secondary hard drive bays and secondary battery.
I have submitted a 3D Advantage benchmark in the benchmark section.
I also ran the Half Life 2 stress test and was well above 250fps. I did not get a screenshot but will the next time I run it.
Here is the stress test I promised 263.83fps
Size and Weight
Rated : 17" WUXGA 11.75" (w) x 15.5" (d) x 2.35" (h) and 11.5 lbs
Actual : Weight: 11.5 lbs
Heat and Noise
The notebook generates a decent amount of heat, which should not come as a surprise. It has a dual graphics card and high performance processor. However, the heat does not affect the keyboard or front of the notebook because of the placement of the air vents on the back of the notebook. Well done Sager.
Even with stress testing the CPU did not get above 63c
A battery test has not been completed at this time. I don’t think there will be much difference from the 9262
Screen : – Incredible sharpness and amazing viewing angles
Performance: – Best performing notebook I've tested to date!
Touchpad : – Best scroll/touchpad I've used in a notebook.
Free Stuff : – Ships with free laptop carrying case
Keyboard: - very uncomfortable to type on, forearms rest on end of notebook
Battery Life: – as expected, not much battery life at all
Weight: – very heavy!
Overall I’m happy with the notebook; since I got past the initial issues.