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Haswell Laptops

Written on August 1, 2013 by Matt Bach

Test Hardware

For the majority of our testing,  we used the hardware listed below. Whenever possible, we used the maximum amount of RAM, but otherwise we used the same hardware in all of our test laptops.

  B560i  V560i V760i M560i M760i
CPU Intel Core i7 Mobile i7-4900MQ 2.8GHz
RAM 2-4 x Kingston SODIMM DDR3-1600 8GB
Hard Drive Intel 520 120GB SATA 6Gb/s 2.5inch SSD
Wireless Intel WiFi/Bluetooth 6235
Video Card Intel Integrated Intel Integrated + Nvidia GT 765M Intel Integrated + NVIDIA MXM Geforce GTX 770M 2GB


Stability and Compatibility Testing

Our extended testing procedure for motherboards (see below) may at first glance seem short, but in actuality is very extensive. What you need to keep in mind is that the very first item - running the test system through our standard build process - is itself a 98-point checklist.

The majority of the other checkpoints are designed to verify that the motherboard will function properly with a wide range of hardware. For that reason, we test using the various supported video options as well as test with the largest quantity of RAM (2,3 or 4 x 8GB depedning on the model), and with the fastest SODIMM RAM currently offered by Puget Systems (DDR3-1600MHz).

Test B560i V560i V760i M560i M760i
Run test system through the Puget Systems build process
Review Device Manager to ensure all drivers loaded correctly
Loop test system through >50 reboot loops
Loop test system through >50 standby loops
Verify standby functionality using supported GPUs
Run 3D graphics testing using supported GPUs
Test all internal SATA controllers
Verify stability with the largest quantity/size of RAM available
Verify stability with the fastest RAM offered by Puget Systems
Test battery life under various loads
See following section for results
Test thermal performance in multiple environments
Review Event Log for any unexpected warnings/errors
Verify basic functionality with latest version of Ubuntu (13.04)

Overall, all of these units did very well in our testing with the majority of the issues coming from OS compatibility and normal thermal concerns. The Windows 7 issues were primarily due to the fact that many laptop manufacturers are currently focusing on Windows 8 support over Windows 7 support. So while Windows 7 support should improve over time, there is currently one notable issue with the V560i and V760i. Specifically, if you install a MSATA drive (formatted or not) and hit the Airplane Mode hotkey to enable/disable WiFi and Bluetooth, you get a .Net error and the hotkey software crashes. It doesn't affect system stability and many of the other hotkeys still function, but you have to reboot in order for all of the hotkeys to start fully working again. This issue is very likely to be fixed in future driver updates, but for now we recommend not using a MSATA card in the V-series of laptops.

The second issue we found is due to the fact that Haswell processors run much hotter than their Ivy Bridge predecessors. Because of this, we highly recommend using the notebooks on a flat, hard surface when doing anything other than very light tasks. Luckily Haswell has very good thermal management so these units should never actually overheat, but if the cooling fans do not have enough access to fresh air the CPU performance can drop pretty significantly when doing processor intensive tasks.

The other problems we found were all due to various issues with Ubuntu. The first issue, which was universal to all five units, was that Ubuntu does not yet have driver support for the new Intel integrated graphics or for the NVIDIA video cards found in these laptops. This is somewhat to be expected since development of Linux drivers tends to trail behind Windows drivers, but for now these units are limited to only very basic video output in Ubuntu. In addition to the video driver issue, we also found that you cannot change the screen brightness from Ubuntu on any of the units and that the fingerprint sensor found on the V560i, M560i, and M760i is not supported.

It is normal for Ubuntu and other linux operating systems to not support all of the hotkeys found on laptops, and these units are no exception. The hotkeys for airplane mode (to disable the WiFi/Bluetooth), display output switching, screen brightness and the keyboard LED modes (on the M-series) do not work. In addition, the physical mute button on the V760i and the GPU switching button found on the V560i and V760i are also non-functional in Ubuntu.

The rest of the basic functionality of these units (including standby, audio, webcam, wireless, Bluetooth, USB 3.0 and any hotkeys not previously mentioned) worked with no issues and no special driver installations. While the amount of issues we found in Ubuntu may seem large, with the exception of the lack of video drivers - which should be addressed in future Ubuntu updates - the rest of the issues are fairly common with laptops. 

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Tags: B560i, V560i, V760i, M560i, M760i, W650SZ, W350STQ, W370ST, P150SM, P170SM

Is the illuminated keyboard feature compatible with various flavors of Linux? (I am thinking Ubuntu/Debian)

Posted on 2013-08-13 08:59:02

Sorry for the bit of a late reply, but I just checked with a laptop we have in production and the illuminated keyboard work, but it is completely non-configurable. So if you want a blue backlit keyboard, you're good to go. If you want to change the color, change the brightness, or even turn it off however, you will need to have Windows and the hotkey software installed.

Posted on 2013-08-19 19:04:56
Kinjal Biswas

best performed os ms win 8 or linux.great review and truly very helpful

Posted on 2013-08-16 20:54:12