Schenker XMG P503 £1717
14th Oct 2013 | 08:30
When it comes to gaming, the GPU always has to take top billing
This 15.6-inch/40cm notebook is certainly no sleek Ultrabook, but it isn't quite the space-hog the 17-inch/43cm version was. The shrinking of the screen is no indication of a quality reduction in the XMG P503. It may be smaller, but in that still-chunky chassis resides the most powerful mobile consumer graphics card currently on the market.
Where the XMG P703 houses Nvidia's GTX 770M - itself no slouch in gaming terms - the GPU at the heart of this beast is the top-end GTX 780M. It's the pinnacle of Nvidia's mobile tech tree and has considerably more graphical grunt than the discrete notebook chip from even one step below it. It's more akin to a GTX 680 or GTX 770 from the desktop crowd.
You're also getting an impressive 1,536 CUDA cores in this, the only GK104-based mobile GPU of the current range. And there's a hefty 4GB VRAM running on a full-width 256-bit bus, too.
Night and day
Compared to the GK106-based GTX 770M in the previous Schenker machine we've tested, it's night and day. That's not to say the second-tier mobile chip is a particular slouch, but the GTX 780M is offering around 10fps extra performance at the native resolution of this machine's 1,920 x 1080 panel.
The XMG P703 was more than capable at throwing the latest titles around at great speed with full tessellation and 4x anti-aliasing - well, apart from the seriously punishing Metro: First Light, that is - but the GTX 780M still holds its own. The fact this laptop is capable of powering our Heaven 4.0 benchmark at over 30fps gives us great confidence that this (admittedly very expensive) laptop is still going to be competitive in the frame rate race a year or two down the line.
And after that it will more than likely still be able to offer decent performance with newer graphical techniques turned off. With the lack of upgradeability from these desktop replacement laptops, they need to have this sort of future-proofing from day one.
Because of this high-spec GPU, the shift down to a lower processor is completely understandable. The performance benefit from the slightly quicker i7-4800MQ simply pales into insignificance when you boot up any game.
CPU encoding performance
Cinebench R11.5: Index score: Higher is better
XMG P503: 6.94
XMG P703: 7.21
DirectX 11 gaming performance
BioShock Infinite: Frames per second: Higher is better
XMG P503: 45
XMG P703: 39
Metro: Last Light: Frames per second: Higher is better
XMG P503: 23
XMG P703: 16
The rest of the spec is almost identical to the previous Schenker machine, which is to say, pretty spectacular. Like the other Schenker machine, this is not a cheap desktop replacement. It's a huge investment compared to what you might be able to spec out in desktop form, and you've got to be 100% sure this is the right form factor for you before you drop the cash.
But if you're after some serious mobile gaming performance, this GTX 780M is as quick as you're likely to get in single GPU trim right now.