Saturday, October 24, 2009

Sager Notebook & - Review

So I have been using nothing but Ubuntu Linux as my home operating system for almost a year now and one thing that always kind of irked me was having unused Window's licenses laying around that I was not using. I mean what is the point in not using Windows if Microsoft is still making money off of the product I purchased? When I purchased my netbook was I able to get one of the EEE PCs that shipped with a copy of Xandros on it (I know, still not open source but at least its Linux & was easy enough to over write with Ubuntu. Plus I got it on the cheap.). Now only one of my two computers I owned had a Windows license that was not is use. A few months back I had started searching around for a laptop upgrade (anyone who has owned a laptop knows they date quickly), I was looking for something decently specific in my laptop purchase along the lines of the following specs:

  1. Size - 15.4 inch or smaller. I really dislike 17+ inch laptops, they are massive to lug around. When your laptop weighs over ten pounds it might as well be a desktop if you ask me.
  2. Resolution - The laptop I had been using contained a high resolution screen (1680x1050) and I had grown acustomed to viewing things at such a resolution, I did not want to revert back to a lower end one (1440x900)
  3. Graphics Card - I wanted something powerful in the system. The laptop I was upgrading from had an nVidia 9500M GS in it. I wanted something at least 50% faster than this card.
  4. Operating System - I did not want a Windows sticker stuck to the bottom of my shiney new laptop. I wanted something that either A.) Came with Linux pre-installed or B.) Came with a blank hard drive
Enter - recommend by a fellow user on the LinuxQuestions message boards - they make custom high-end gaming laptops. Their prices are comparable with other places I had found around the internet, how ever they had one advantage others did not - they where the only one I found find that would ship me a custom laptop with a blank hard drive. Surprise, surprise being able to get the product with out Windows packaged with it allow me to cut around 100$ off of the price tag. In addition to this I was able to customize, hard drive, RAM, processor, graphics card, screen resolution, and accessories all to the exact specifications I wanted. In the end the laptop I ended up order sang to the tune of around 1,600$ with the following specifications (If you want a good laugh compare these specs VS price to the Macbooks I listed here):
  • Processor: Intel p9700 - 2.8ghz Dual Core
  • RAM: 4gigs of DDR3
  • Hard Drive: 320gig, 7200RPM
  • Graphics Card: nVidia 260m, 1gig DDR3 dedicated
  • Size: 15.4 inches and weighing in at just shy of 7 pounds
  • Screen Resolution: 1680x1050
Good laptops at a fair price how ever is not the only good thing about - their customer service is fantastic, easily one of the best companies I have ever had dealings with. I ordered my custom laptop on a weekday morning, not even two hours later I received a phone call from a real person calling to confirm my order before the credit-card I had entered on the web-page was charged. The associate I spoke to on the phone was both knowledgeable and helpful, he ran down a quick list of the parts I had ordered to be sure I did not want to make any last adjustments. From that point on I was kept up to date on the status of my laptop via email and around twenty days later I had received my new gaming rig in the mail.

The laptop as a unit performs wonderfully! It easily takes everything I can throw at it and then some. The only two down sides to it are the short battery life (around an hour and forty-five mins) but then what full size laptop (with a good graphics card) lasts much longer than that anywho? I have a netbook if I want extended battery life. The second (and this is rather irksome) is the fact that it lacks a boot menu key. Meaning if I want to boot from external media (such as USB drives) I have to go change a BIOS setting so it's priority is above that of the internal disk. This really isn't a big deal and it doesn't affect performance at all but it is bothersome none the less.

All in all I had a fantastic experience and will be putting all my future laptop orders through them. (Although I don't plan on upgrading again for another couple years hehehe). I would recommend them to any looking for a good place to buy a powerful notebook from - Linux or Windows.

~Jeff Hoogland


  1. Well-written article as usual, I'll check those guys out as I'm in the market for a portable computer with some power.

    "...the only one I found find that would _SHIP_ me a custom laptop with a blank hard drive..."
    ..typos happrn. ;)

  2. Thanks for the correction. As you can see this is one of the first things I ever wrote, so I doubt many have read it.