Hands on: Toshiba's Qosmio X300/01N gaming notebook

Big, red and powerful: the new Qosmio notebook from Toshiba

Toshiba's Qosmio X300/01N gaming notebook.

Toshiba's Qosmio X300/01N gaming notebook.

If you don’t like the overbearing style and blistering red colour of the 17in Toshiba Qosmio X300/01N, then it’s probably not for you. If you don’t have a spare $6000, then it’s definitely not for you! The Qosmio has evolved from the home theatre desktop replacement it once was (fully decked out with HD-DVD) to become a full-on tour de force for gamers who want the most powerful notebook they can get their hands on. It’s primed for use at LAN parties and gaming tournaments. It weighs well over 4kg (not including its massive power brick), so it’s not a machine for the road. Check out our review of the previous X300 notebook.

Inside the 4.3cm thick base of the Qosmio X300/01N is an Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9300 quad-core processor that runs at 2.53GHz. You also get 4GB of 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM, and most importantly for gaming, dual NVIDIA GeForce 9088M GTS graphics cards set up in SLI mode. Each card has its own 512MB memory buffer.

The storage configuration is interesting: you get 628GB of total storage, comprising a 128GB solid-state drive and a 500GB, 4200rpm hard drive. The solid-state drive is the system drive, which means Windows Vista and all your programs will load quickly. We wish the secondary storage drive was a 7200rpm model, however.

The 17in screen does not have a Full HD (1080p) resolution, maxing out at 1680x1050. This isn’t much of an issue, though, as the Qosmio X300/01N doesn’t have a high-definition disc player installed. Toshiba will never put a Blu-ray drive in its notebooks and says that it’s waiting for the next evolution in high-definition storage instead.

With a quad-core CPU and SLI graphics, the Qosmio X300/01N needs some serious venting, and this is provided on the rear of the unit. There are FireWire and HDMI ports either side of the vent.

The Qosmio X300/01N has four USB 2.0 ports (with Sleep-and-Charge technology), one eSATA port, FireWire, a webcam, a fingerprint reader, digital audio output, FM tuner, a memory card reader, an ExpressCard slot, and a PCI Express x1 slot. You also get Bluetooth, 802.11n wireless networking and Gigabit Ethernet.

There are five speakers in the Qosmio X300/01N, with two speakers located on the palm rest. The left speaker often gets obstructed when you type, which results in slightly muffled sound, but you’ll want to plug in a set of speakers to get full, rich sound out of it anyway.

While it’s especially designed for gamers and overclockers (yes, you can overclock this thing), the Toshiba Qosmio X300/01N is also suitable for game developers, and pretty much anyone who needs plenty of processing power that they can take with them between home and work. However, it lacks a few features that would make it even better for content producers: a Blu-ray combo drive instead of a plain old DVD burner, a 7200rpm secondary drive, a Full HD screen, and a backlit keyboard. It’s a big beast — it’s as wide as two 10.1in netbooks, and about two netbooks thick. It’s also expensive — to the tune of approximately eight NB200 netbooks!

Take a closer look at the new Qosmio X300 and Toshiba's NB200 netbook in our slideshow.

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Elias Plastiras
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