Aftershock PC is a fairly new addition to the gaming scene. Based in Singapore, the small team specializes in custom-built gaming notebooks and offers a highly personal level of service and attention to detail for every notebook built. Each notebook receives a 48-hour burn-in testing and monitoring period to ensure against hardware defects, as well as a full test run of benchmarks to check that system performance is up to standard. A massive choice of configurations are available for each notebook, with options ranging from the display type (both matte or glossy are available) right down to the type of thermal paste used.
The Titan is Aftershock's newest creation, a 17.3-inch gaming notebook with a dual-GPU setup. Both 2-way AMD Radeon HD 7970M CrossFireX and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680M SLI configurations are available. Our review unit has been fitted with an Intel Core-i7 3630QM (2.4GHz) processor, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680M 2-way SLI with 4GB GDDR5 (combined amount of VRAM), 8GB RAM, 750GB HDD + 256GB SSD and Windows 8 Pro. This configuration will set you back S$4507, while a similar unit but with a 2-way Radeon HD 7970M CrossFireX setup will cost S$4077.
Note:- As of 3rd December 2012, the Titan is not listed on Aftershock's website, however, if you get in touch with them, it is available for order. We're told that due to high demand, orders for the Titan will take about 2 weeks to ship.
Custom-built notebooks have a reputation for being unattractive rectangular bricks. This isn't really their fault as there just isn’t a high enough demand for custom chassis to make sleek, nice looking ones widely available. Furthermore, more compact customized designs would also impede on how the internal components are laid out or what's eligible to fit inside. Due to these constraints, custom-built notebook designs are unlikely to change much anytime soon. While the guys at Aftershock have done their best with the Titan, including using a soft-touch matte black finish that is somewhat reminiscent of the Stealth Black finish used by Dell on its Alienware notebooks, and a pair of shiny cooling exhaust vents found on the back of the machine that look a bit like stripped-down versions of the ones ASUS uses on its G74SX, essentially the Titan is still a huge, black, rectangular brick.
Having said that, sometimes manufacturers can go a bit overboard on ‘gamer aesthetics’, so a simple, understated look isn’t all that unwanted. A small Aftershock logo on the lid is the only branding found on the notebook and, in fact, you can opt for no branding at all if you prefer. Opening it up, the interior is just as plain, although a black, brushed aluminum panel surrounding the keyboard does spruce things up a little bit. The wrist rest features the same soft-touch matte black finish as the exterior.
The notebook is fairly heavy, weighing in at 4.3kg. To make matters worse, it also uses the biggest power brick we've ever seen, which itself weighs a massive 1.5kg. Just for comparison, the power brick alone is heavier than most Ultrabooks!
Our review unit is equipped with a full HD, 1920 x 1080 pixels resolution matte display although, as mentioned, if you prefer, a glossy option is also available. The display on our unit was excellent with a bright screen, good color reproduction and fairly wide viewing angles. As good as the display is, we did notice a fair bit of flex with the lid, so do be careful when opening or closing it.
Audio was decent but nothing particularly impressive. While it was loud enough, the built-in subwoofer was a bit disappointing, as the bass was not pronounced enough. There are definitely much better 2.1-channel audio setups on other gaming notebooks out there (MSI's GT70 is one example).
The Titan is equipped with a full-sized backlit keyboard which includes a number pad. While the latter is a nice addition, it unfortunately makes everything a bit cramped as there’s no space between the keyboard and number pad section. The arrow keys have also been jammed in, which worsens the overcrowding problem. We also noticed a fair bit of keyboard flex. On the plus side, the keys themselves are quite firm, with reasonable travel distance and provide a nice tactile feel when bottoming out.
Gamers will be pleased to see that the Windows key has been relocated to the right-side. Having said that, we did notice a minor quirk regarding the keyboard layout: the sleep button has been precariously sandwiched between the mute and volume controls, so do be careful not to put the machine to sleep while you're trying to adjust the volume.
The trackpad on the Titan is a bit of a mixed bag. On the one hand, it's one of the largest 'clickpads' we've ever seen. For those not familiar with the term, clickpads are usually found on Ultrabooks and feature an entire clickable surface rather than the usual right and left click buttons positioned beneath the pad. The click response is nice and firm, with a surprisingly high amount of travel, so there's no danger in accidental mis-clicking if you have heavy fingers.
On the other hand, the clickpad has been coated in a glossy finish that results in quite a high level of surface friction. As such, you'll often find your finger 'sticking' as you drag it across the pad. Unfortunately, this made it quite unacceptable for gaming. We expect most gamers will want to connect the mouse of their choice for gaming on the Titan.
Next to the trackpad you'll find a fingerprint scanner, normally only found on business notebooks. While this is a nice additional security feature, it's a bit superfluous as we expect you'll be keeping the Titan firmly at home on your desk 99% of the time, although gamers who want to keep pesky siblings off their TItan might find some mileage here.