Introduction

We recently received Toshiba's latest X305-Q725 laptop, which targets the mobile gaming sector. We have our own thoughts on what is best in this sort of market, and we know plenty of people that think this sector is a joke, to put it bluntly. However, while many people have no interest in desktop replacement notebooks, there are users that want this sort of system, and this review is targeted at that audience. Everything clear? Good, let's continue.

This is the first laptop we've been able to test that ships with a quad-core CPU, and moreover it's a Penryn-based mobile quad-core chip as opposed to one of the larger units that simply uses a desktop CPU. The processor isn't left without a supporting cast, though, with NVIDIA's current top-end mobile GPU, a 64G SSD backed by a 320GB HDD, 4GB RAM, and Windows Vista 64-bit Ultimate. How does the laptop perform and where are its strengths and weaknesses? That's what we're here to find out.


Right from the start, we know that this isn't going to be a laptop for everyone. When we mentioned battery life testing, our marketing contact was quick to point out that mobility wasn't a primary focus of this system. We agree with that assessment, but that doesn't mean we don't think gaming laptops inevitably have to have poor battery life. NVIDIA has worked with Intel and other companies to provide for hybrid graphics solutions where the discrete GPU can be disabled to conserve battery life, turning over graphics duties to the integrated solution. With high-end mobile GPUs using 10-20W even when idle, the ability to shut off such components could prove extremely useful. Unfortunately, Toshiba didn't attempt to provide such functionality, so the 9800M GTX is a constant drain on the battery. Couple that with a quad-core CPU, dual hard drives (one SSD and one 7200RPM drive), and plenty of other extras and we're once again looking at a laptop that is far more of a transportable desktop replacement (DTR) as opposed to a mobile computing solution.

There's nothing wrong with that sort of design, of course: plenty of people could use a portable workstation they can easily move between the home, clients, and office. We still think Toshiba could do more to address battery life, but the fact is all of the other components would still keep battery life under two hours in all likelihood. Until we get quad-core CPUs that can fully power down extra cores, plus supposedly better power management courtesy of Windows 7, the ability to get top-end AC performance without killing battery life remains out of reach.

So, what exactly does the Toshiba X305-Q725 offer, how much does it cost, and is it worth it? Let's get to it and find out.

Notebook Overview
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  • Dfere - Thursday, March 12, 2009 - link

    A business power user needs some mobility. I use a laptop as my main business computer. It would be nice to have something to play games at an ok rate. But given the bugs, let alone the power issues, I wouldn't. I need some mobility and I need my data and system operational to make revenue.

    A plain gamer/laptop lover wouldn't because it isn't a top performer, and thats why they buy.
    Reply
  • JimmiG - Thursday, March 12, 2009 - link

    I used to travel a lot between point A and point B and wanted a good gaming system at both places. I was considering a gaming laptop for a while but ended up building myself a Shuttle SFF system instead. Fit perfectly in the backpack together with my other belongings, cost about 1/4th of a gaming laptop and offered 95% of the performance of a full tower system. I just used a cheap 19" CRT monitor at one place and the LCD at the other. Amazing how small and light that system was.

    Of course if you travel a lot between many different location, this kind of laptop might make sense. Just hook it up when you arrive at the hotel room, cabin etc., and you've got a full gaming setup. Of course, if you don't care about games, you'd be better served by a netbook or 13" laptop...
    Reply
  • Enoc - Wednesday, March 11, 2009 - link


    with the AMD/Ati 4850 and 4870 for mobile... why these companies still use the renamed 9400/9500/9600/9800gt/gtx...? and what it worse some people think the GTX 280M is the same as the deskstop counterpart but is really a 9800GTX...

    AMD has a good oportunity if more OEM embrace the 4850/4870 for the enthusiast notebook segment like MSI has done and if they introduce low power(HE) quads and triple cores for this segment that would be a nice move...

    with $1500+- you could build something better with a compal/saeger barebone...



    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, March 12, 2009 - link

    Sager doesn't make barebones, I don't think; they use Clevo offerings. But yes, you can put together a better custom system I think. Pricing might not be much better, though. Reply
  • Memph - Wednesday, March 11, 2009 - link

    I'v had similar expiriences with my qosmio. The problems in the old drivers. have to uninstall them (twice) from the safe mode. and then install the newest nvidia drivers. Mine used to lock up randomly. Now everything works perfectly. Reply
  • jabber - Wednesday, March 11, 2009 - link

    I've had several laptops over the years. Best fix I've found for stability is to blitz the manufacturers build asap and slap on a fresh build with the latest OS. Go to the manufacturers site for drivers that you cant find elsewhere as they will generally be two or three versions on from the ones the laptop came with.

    There will also be a new BIOS update usually.

    Has always got rid of the quirks for me.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, March 11, 2009 - link

    FWIW, the instability issue always cropped up with a graphics application - game - running. (Well, there was the SysInfo issue with 3D/PCMark Vantage, but that's clearly a driver problem that they addressed.) I did run Folding@Home SMP on the laptop non-stop for several days with no crashes caused there. I did not test the GPU folding client, though, which would have been interesting to check now that I think about it.

    Personally, I do not run Folding@Home on laptops (anymore); it just places a huge load on the system and is almost asking your laptop to die a premature death. For that matter, I've stopped running it on most of my desktops as well - power costs for all the running computers were too much, so it's much cheaper to just leave them off when they're not in use.
    Reply
  • Wolfpup - Wednesday, March 11, 2009 - link

    Be funny to people? My notebook is my main system...I mean why not?

    Anyway, I'm so glad Anandtech is continuing to cover power laptops!

    I hate how gaudy this is, but I'd certainly consider it if not for the lack of Blu Ray and LED backlight. I actually prefer the single high end GPU route...

    Plus obviously the instability is disturbing. Must be a hardware defect somewhere, or else a bad driver. I've been Folding non stop on the CPU and GPU of my (much lower end) Asus n80 with a Penryn/Geforce 9650GT and it hasn't crashed once.
    Reply
  • piroroadkill - Wednesday, March 11, 2009 - link

    17" is too large for a notebook in my opinion, even a gaming one. 15.4" widescreen @ 1680x1050 would be perfect. Also how did they manage to make this thing so goddamn thick?! Reply
  • Blahman - Friday, March 13, 2009 - link

    Check this one out, matches your requirements exactly: http://www.msimobile.com/level3_productpage.aspx?c...">http://www.msimobile.com/level3_productpage.aspx?c... Reply

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