Intel® Pentium® 4 3.0/3.2/3.4/3.6/3.8GHz (LGA775, 800FSB) w/HT
1024KB On-die L2 Cache (5xx series)
2048KB On-die L2 Cache (6xx series)
Intel® 915P chipset + ICH6
Dual Channel DDR2 400/533 (2 or 4 DIMM required for Dual channel mode)
4MB Flash ROM BIOS
- Hard Disk Drive
PCI Local Bus Interface
2x Detachable 2.5” 9.5mm SATA150 or ATA100 Hard Disk Drive
- Hardware Raid-0 or Raid-1
- Floppy Disk Drive
Ext. USB 3.5” 1.44MB Floppy Disk Drive
- Built-in 7-in-1 Card Reader (MS/MSPro/SD/MMC/CF/MD/SM)
17” WSXGA+ TFT (Glare-Type) / 17” WUXGA
256MB Video Memory
PCI-Express 16x Modular Video Card from ATi or nVIDIA
Dual-View Display Capability
DVD or CD-ROM Drive
2x Optical Drive Bay
Interchangeable with DVD/CD-RW Combo drive or DVD±R/RW Combo drive
Built-in 8ch Azalia Sound System (with 8 external speakers output without Ext. decoder)
S/PDIF Digital output
SRS WOW support
Audio DJ Access Front Panel with MP3 playback compatible
1 Built-in Microphone
4 Built-in Speakers
1 Built-in Subwoofer
PCMCIA 3.0 Standard Compliant
1 Type II PCMCIA Slot
Integrated Touchpad With Scroll Up/Down Slider
Full Sized Keyboard with Numeric Keypad
Windows 95 2 Hot keys
Integrated with Hot Keys for LCD Brightness, Suspend, Panel/CRT Display
3 Hot Keys for E-Mail, Web Browser. And AP-Key
Infrared Communication, FIR, SIR and ASK Compliant
1 16c550 Compatible Serial Port
1 Parallel Port, with ECP/EPP Support
1 External Keyboard Port
1 DVI Port
4 USB 2.0 Ports
4 multi-function Audio Jacks
1 RJ-45 LAN (10/100/1000Mbps)
1 RJ-11 Modem
2 IEEE 1394a Fire Wire
1 S-video TV-Out
1 S-video Video-in
1 Lithium-Ion Battery
Full Range Auto-Switching 100V/240V AC Adapter
System Management Mode (SMM)
Suspend to HDD / DRAM
Full features of SMI Power Management, Doze, Sleep, Suspend/Resume Mode
It's bigger than a bread box!
Mini-PCi Hardware MPEG-2 TV-Tuner (MCE2005)
Internal 802.11g Wireless LAN Mini-PCI interface
Internal 802.11g & Bluetooth combo card Mini-PCI interface
Build-in Digital Video Camera
Above is the 9880 with the WUXGA and the software that comes with Windows Media Center edition. Some pictures in the review are done with the WSXGA+ LCD and the non-Media Edition TV tuner options.
Standard USB floppy drive that came with the test unit.
The air exhaust is on the left side toward the front and on the back side toward the right. Above you see the card reader with the dust cover removed and below is the TV tuner/capture with its dust cover removed. The regular TV tuner is from AVERmedia, and it is multi-regional, both PAL and NTSC. The Media Center edition TV Tuner information can be found Here Your coaxial cable for cable TV plugs right into the back of it and it will let watch cable TV with an included remote control.
Very nice front-panel DJ. The buttons are recessed so it's difficult to turn it on by accident. This is how the front-panel DJ works: when the computer is powered off, you can turn the front panel on which will power up the media drives and let you play CD music and listen through the speakers or the headphone jack. For those long plane rides it saves batteries and allows you to listen without firing up Windows. You can play from both media drives and the DJ will total up the tracks. Also, it plays MP3s!
Hot keys at the top from left to right:
email, internet, audio, and power by default.
Pictured from left to right: Acer 1712, Sager 9860/9880, Sager 8790, and Sager 5690.
The unit has four memory slots which, in theory, would handle 4GB of RAM-- but it's not so simple as that. The reason for four slots was to allow the user to achieve 2GB of RAM with four 512MB sticks, saving a lot of money over the equivalent two 1024MB sticks, while at the same time allowing those who ordered 1024 with their system (two 512 sticks) to upgrade without replacing two 512 sticks with 1024 sticks. Instead they can just add two more 512 sticks. Unfortunately, with the 9XX chipset design there are limitations on total RAM. If you put four 1024MB sticks into the system it will report 2.8GB available. Intel claims that it is not a hardware issue at all, but that the amount of RAM reported and used by a computer is dependent on the operating system being used.
The Intel manual in reference to RAM and this chipset.
The Graphics Card
The 9880 is being released with the NVIDIA 6800 Ultra (NV42). It's a socket type GPU meaning mostly it can be easily removed. There is no word to confirm a future option and how it would be upgraded (end user, Sager). This unit uses PCI-Express.
Intel® Pentium® 4 3.0/3.2/3.4/3.6/3.8GHz (LGA775, 800FSB) w/HT
1024KB On-die L2 Cache (5xx series)
2048KB On-die L2 Cache (6xx series)
Every 9880 is supposed to come from Sager with Artic Silver 5 applied to the CPU.
The Hard Drive(s)
The Sager 9880 has the option for up to two internal mobile hard drives of either PATA or SATA and they can be configured with RAID 0, RAID 1 or as two seperate drives without RAID. Raid 0 is known as "striping" and is for pure performance. What happens is the two drives look like one as far as storage goes and data is written/read from them both at the same time. The hard drive can often be the bottle neck in programs and when you have two drives that the system can write/read half the data each at the same time it can do it much faster than writing/reading all of the data from a single drive. If one drive fails, there's is no recovering data from the drive still good. In RAID 0, two 60GB hard drives would show up as a single 120GB drive in your Windows interface. The other is RAID 1 which is known as "mirroring" and is where one drive is cloned to the other one when writing data. This is for backup type purposes but keep in mind a virus will corrupt both drives so the main thing you can protect yourself with RAID 1 is if one of the drives physically fails, there's a chance the other can be your recovery drive. two 60GB drives in RAID 1 will show up as one single 60GB hard drive in your Windows interface.
With the 9880, multiple hard drives are arranged in a stacked configuration, one on top of the other. Depending on if you're using SATA or PATA drives, the appropriate flexprint/connectors are used. Both connectors are pictured here. Notice that the SATA drive connector is no different than the desktop version! Pictured are two SATA drives stacked in the bracket with the SATA interface on the left and the PATA interface on the right.
We tested with both 80GB 5400rpm SATA drives in raid 0 vs 60GB 7200rpm PATA drives in raid 0. The SATA drives barely won in PCmark04 testing, but only in the raid 0 configuration. This is due to the throughput of the SATA technology, when combined with the raid configuration. You can see the benchmark results below in the benchmark section.
The WSXGA+ option has the glossy/glare display (the wet look). We could find no ghosting at all on either LCD option comparing them to our 23" Benq 16ms LCD. Both screens look great and are the best options on the market for each resolution available. On the right is the WSXGA+ LCD and the left is the WUXGA.
The WSXGA+ in the pitcures looks a little more rich though you wouldn't know unless side by side in the pics. Both have great angle viewing and it comes down to mostly which resolution you want and if you want glossy or not.
The on-board audio output consists of four speakers and a subwoofer standard. This is a setup we've seen in many of the recent notebook releases, but from the sound of things, it was done with MAJOR improvement this time. My usual comments in the past have been, "four speakers and a sub, good sound, but it's still a laptop." Not this time. It actually sounds really good, with no tin can sound and none of the nasty vibrations you usually hear. While it's no live concert, these are by far the best sounding speakers I've ever heard in a laptop. If they don't do it for you, you still have the 8 channel sound system you can plug speakers into-- and if that doesn't do it, there's no hope .
Below you will see the 4 speaker and subwoofer layout:
9860 pictured which has the same speaker setup and locations as the 9880.
The TV Tuner and Software
Below we have a 19" LCD attached as a 2nd display. There's a DVD movie playing, cable TV through the TV tuner, City of heroes video game, the wireless internet (checking the forums), and AIM. COH ran lag-free like this and I even opened up the camera at one point and put it on the 2nd display with no problems.
Hooking up your cable TV is very simple as shown in the 3 pictures below:
At this point you just launch Aver Media and it will auto detect and set your channels. The unit supports both NTSC and PAL without any hardware change required.
Here's a in program snapshot through AverMedia's capture software and watching cable TV:
You can take snapshots and record video saving it to your hard drive(s).
You can control your TV in full screen or windowed from a distance with the remote control it comes with:
Pictured is the remote for the non-media center edition TV tuner, and below is Windows Media Center with the remote that comes with that version of TV tuner. Without a doubt, Windows Media Center blows away the other in every way from features, options, and ease of use.
If ordering Windows Media Center edition, it comes on a single CD from Sager as pictured.
Above you see the IR extenders that can plug into tha back of the receiver for easier use for range or whatever use you find for them.
Here's the parts that you will use with the Windows Media Center incl remote, adapters, and receiver. The adapters for both pal and ntsc versions are pictured but both may not come with a standard purchase.
Yes, our experinece has been that the remote also controls other features of the notebook such as booting up and shutting down. You can actually customize it to where you can do most everything incl mouse movement by remote. Pretty neat, but in most cases such as websurfing not very efficient.
The TV Tuner is an option and the S-video port next to it also has the ability to capture your input video.
Standard with all 9880 systems comes Nero for burning and WinDVD for DVD watching. With the TV tuner option comes AverMedia with Windows XP, but the media center edition TV tuner does not come with TV software if you don't order it with Windows Media Center preinstalled. Below is a screenshot of the software for both AverMedia (left) and WinDVD (right) with their versions and options. When you play a DVD you often get the pop up after you put it in asking if you want to install "Interactual" player. From my experience it runs like crap and never install it. Always run your DVD movies through WinDVD.
AverMedia has the options listed of 4:3 and 16:9 with the resolutions of 720X480, 640X480, and 320X240.
For sound, Realtek is used:
AutoMail Checker is a program on the drivers CD you can install and easily setup to watch for new email:
It pops up to tell you you have mail:
lol, "You Have 1 Mails!" Best information feature hands down!
Buying direct from Sager, the 9880 comes standard with Windows XP, but through most resellers there is no OS by default. The reason behind this isn't to allow people to save a buck and pirate their software it's for those that get the software on their own conditions (college and business discounts) and those that already have software they wish to install. Regardless of whether you buy it with an OS or not you get the current drivers CD. After you install the OS you need to load the drivers in order off the drivers CD which is set up as simple as possible shown in the pic below.
The manual can also be found on the CD in .pdf form.
If you order the system with Windows XP, it comes preinstalled with all the required drivers. You also get a Sager recovery CD which is basically a Windows CD designed for the Sager system. Using the Sager recovery CD is just like a regular Windows install and requires you load the drivers after the install. Currently they are issuing SP2.
300K USB 2.0 Bisoncam
The camera works @ 640X480 and can integrate with your favorite video conference program.
Here's a couple of snapshots from the built in camera in Windows XP:
Below are two shots of the 9880 Phoenix 4MB Flash ROM BIOS
Hmmmm.... is that the NV42 I see listed? You have to watch where you get your information from . The ones quick to put info out are usually guessing, the ones who know talk when they're supposed to.
Battery tests were done in as far from optimum as possible like always. We played a DVD @ full screen in a fully loaded 9880 with no special dimming of the LCD or lowering of the volume. The unit shut off after 53 minutes of InuYasha ("the castle beyond the looking glass" for fellow fans like Luke and I)
The battery is a 12 cell Li-Ion 14.8V 6600MaH held in by 3 retaining screws and weighs in @1.5 lbs.
The keyboard is a solid design with no play/flex/bounce that you often see in laptop keyboards. The numberpad on the right is something that's become standard with many of the Sagers and loved by many.
Pictured is the 9860 which uses the same format for media drive access.
As you can see in the pic though they are set up for easy removal. Once you remove the hard drive cover, a single screw will allow the media drives to slide out.
The 9880 also comes standard with a USB floppy drive. It is required for installing Windows as Windows XP does not include the Promise 378 controller drivers.
The AC power adapter:
It weighs 2.4 lbs on top of the unit that weighs in loaded at 13lbs. It provides this hungry beast 20V @ 11A power (2A up from the 9860 brick pictured next to it).
Game Shots 9860/9880 with the WSXGA+
Counter Strike Source
City of Heroes
Far Cry pixel shader 3 support!
All of the above games except Doom 3 (no widescreen support) were run at the native resolution of 1680X1050.
Using the TV tuner (WINXP) we hooked up the Xbox to see how well it performed. We tried both the coax input through AverMedia and the S-Video input hookups Xbox offers. The coax input ran well but was grainy, the S-Video ran well and looked perfect. We noticed no lag:
Below is some screenshots from FarCry showing NVIDIA's 6800 feature of HDR (High Dynamic Range). Each screen shot shows the top without it on and the bottom with it on (no other setting changes):
Below we have the tests comparing 60GB 7200 rpm RAID 0 (PATA) vs 80GB 5400 rpm RAID 0 (SATA). We ran the tests many times and tried others also... we then wiped the drives, reloaded, tested again and the results still showed the same.
Don't read them wrong, one is not over twice the other, we just took the top of the scale on them.
The drivers used in these benchmarks were the 76.10 drivers. We played around with some overclocking and were unable to produce much of a gain in performance to report. The following benchmarks were run on our test system here @ PCT:
FARCRY AA:none AF:2X
FARCRY AA:4X AF:8X
The Doom3 test was run @ 1024X768 with HIGH quality AA:none and AF:8
I think this system is past due but very welcomed. It seems to perform very solid and if the weight and battery life doesn't bother you, you have an extreme system ready for anything you throw at it with the benefit of easily taking it to a LAN or anywhere else. I personally prefer the WSXGA+ look, but it's a tough call seeing them both. The Windows Media setup really surprised us on how well it integrates into this system and the TV/remote.
There's really no change in noise and temp between the 9880 and the 9860 while it gets a good performance jump if you look at the original 9860.
The 9880 sitting in front of me has no idea the many hours of gaming ahead of it and I've not looked forward to it more on any other computer.