28th November 2007

NVousPC Mercury Laptop with Custom Paint Job – Review (Page 4 / Gaming)

posted by Doomzilla in Laptops/ Computers, Reviews Subpage |

My final two tests have nothing to do with numbers or comparison. This model isn’t really marketed for gamers as it is more for general productivity, but I thought that it would be worth looking into to see just what this laptop could play. In my past experience, I have ran Counter Strike: Source and Unreal Tournament 2004 on less powerful machines than this, so I took it up a notch. The two games that I decided to use for the gaming tests were Condemned: Criminal Origins and S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Shadow of Chernobyl. Honestly, I didn’t think either game was going to run, at least beyond the point of being pretty rendered slideshows. Condemned came out on the original Xbox and then was ported to PC, but it is one of the hidden gems of PC gaming. The game is more atmospheric and scary than F.E.A.R. (also developed by Monolith) and actually requires a little brain power. Combined with a knock-out paranormal crime story, this game should be on your list of games to play. Anyways, after installing Condemned I set the resolution to 1280×800 and set all the details to the minimum levels. I figured the game would run, but not very well, but I was proved wrong. The game ran smooth and never really stuttered throughout the first level. The game wasn’t the prettiest it could be, but on a 14.1″ LCD, you aren’t going to really notice some of the fancier effects anyways.S.T.A.L.K.E.R. is also a fairly tense game as well, but has better graphics and huge open outdoor levels. I remember playing this when it was first released and it took a pretty powerful computer to run it reasonably well. I figured this game wouldn’t run at all, but gave it a chance for the sake of testing. I set the resolution to 1280×800 to maintain the correct aspect ratio and set everything to the lowest settings. I then went on to the first mission and waited for the level to load. It took a while for it to load since S.T.A.L.K.E.R. has some fairly expansive outdoor levels, but when it finally took me to the first level it had some unexpected results. It was obvious all the textures were turned low, but the first room you are in had great framerates and never stuttered. Once I walked out into the open world, it stuttered a bit as it was still loading the world, but after that it ran very consistent and was playable. Unfortunately, the very short draw distance required to keep up reasonable framerates was distracting as many trees that are slightly farther in the distance turn into blurry blobs that barely resemble trees. Everything else in the game looks great and I ran around the first mission shooting the enemy with zero issues. I tried increasing the draw distance a bit, but the hit to framerates was too severe to play comfortably. Still, to play a game like this with integrated graphics was way beyond my expectations.

While it did play slightly old games without a problem, you aren’t going to be able to play Crysis or Quake Wars or the like on this laptop. To give you some idea how it stacks up against the newest of games I decided to test it with 3DMark06 which is also distributed by Futuremark.

nvouspc-mercury-3dmark06.png

nvouspc-mercury-3dmark06-detailed-results.png

So, in short, even though the Mercury does not have a dedicated graphics card, it still performs very well in older games but chokes on new releases. Their is a trade off though, as integrated graphics tend to have longer battery life and run cooler over all, meaning less noise from fans and less searing heat on your lap.

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