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Aftershock Titan V2.1 review: With great power, comes great size

By Salehuddin Bin Husin - 13 Jan 2015
Launch SRP: S$4208

The Overview


Overview

It seems like it's been long since we reviewed the original Aftershock Titan (with dual NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680M GPUs)  and although we also reviewed last year's Titan refresh, we figured it was about time to take a new look at the latest update to the Titan series from Aftershock.

While we've thus far seen quite a number of notebooks from various companies with the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 900M series of graphics chips, only one other company has them in SLI in their notebook, the Aorus X7 Pro. Although it uses the 'weaker' of the two of the latest NVIDIA mobile GPUs,  (GeForce GTX 970M), putting two of them together in SLI created a nigh unstoppable gaming notebook. That bar has been raised with the new Aftershock Titan V2.1 with its dual NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M GPUs. We've provided a handy table below, so you can look over the specs for the various Titan refreshes over the years.

Aftershock Titan Compared
  Aftershock Titan V2.1 Aftershock Titan (2013) Aftershock Titan
  Aftershock Titan V2.1 Aftershock Titan (2013) Aftershock Titan
Processor and Chipset
  • Intel i7-4710MQ (2.5GHz)
  • Intel HM87
  • Intel HM87
  • Intel Core i7-4700MQ (2.4GHz)
  • Intel Core i7-3630QM (2.4GHz)
  • Intel HM77
Operating System
  • Windows 8.1 64 Bit
  • Windows 8
  • Windows 8 Pro
System Memory
  • 16GB DDR3L
  • 16GB
  • 8GB DDR3
Video & Display
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M (2 x SLI)
  • 17.3 Inch Full HD Matte LED display
  • 17.3-inch Full HD TN panel display
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M SLI 4GB GDDR5
  • 2-way NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680M SLI
Storage
  • 120GB SSD + 1TB HDD
  • 256GB SSD + 1TB HDD
  • 750GB HDD, 256GB SSD
Optical Drive
  • 8 x DVD ± R/RW/4X +DL Super Multi Drive
  • SuperCombo DVD
  • DVD-RW
Connectivity
  • Intel 7260 A/C WiFi + Bluetooth
  • Killer Ethernet + Wireless
  • RJ-45 Ethernet Port
  • 802.11 b/g/n
  • Bluetooth v4.0
Audio
  • Soundblaster X-FI MB3
  • Onkyo speakers
  • Creative X-Fi
  • 2.1 speakers
  • 1 x headphone port
  • 1 x microphone port
I/O Ports
  • 4 x USB 3.0 (1 x powered USB port, AC/DC)
  • 1 x USB 2.0
  • 1 x Thunderbolt
  • 1 x HDMI Output
  • 1 x eSATA (USB 3.0 combo)
  • 1 x Headphone jack
  • 1 x Microphone jack
  • 1 x S/PDIF output jack
  • 1 x Ethernet
  • 1 x 9-in-1 card reader
  • 4 x UDB 3.0 ports
  • 1 x USB 2.0 port
  • 1 x Thunderbolt
  • 1 x HDMI
  • 1 x Headphones
  • 1 x Microphone
  • 1 x S/PDIF jack
  • 1 x Ethernet
  • 4 x USB 3.0
  • 1 x e-SATA/USB 3.0 combo
  • 1 x HDMI
  • 1 x DisplayPort
  • 1 x line in
  • 1 x optical jack
  • 1 x multi-card reader
Battery Type
  • 89.21Wh (8 Cells, Removable)
  • 89Wh
  • 6-cell 89WHr
Dimensions
  • 419 x 293 x 39.3~49.7 mm
  • 419 x 293 x 49mm
  • 415 x 290 x 55mm
Weight
  • 3.9kg (including ODD and battery)
  • 3.9kg
  • 4.3kg

From the table, we can see that besides the internal hardware upgrades, the Titan series has pretty much kept the basic formula intact - keeping the same proven chassis and cram it with high-end components that matter most for gaming. Let's take a closer look at the Titan V2.1:-

 

The Hardware

The Aftershock Titan V2.1 is a 17.3-inch gaming notebook with a Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels resolution) matte-finish display.  As we mentioned earlier, it also has dual NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M GPUs powering its visual capabilities, with general processing duties being handled by the familiar Intel Core i7-4710MQ at 2.5GHz (3.5GHz maximum). There's also 16GB of DDR3L RAM. The Aftershock Titan V2.1's storage capabilities are handled by a 120GB SSD and a 1TB HDD. On the connectivity side, the Aftershock Titan V2.1 has the Intel 7260, which supports Wireless 802.11ac as standards well as Bluetooth 4.0. There are also the usual plethora of ports scattered all over, just like its older brother, the Aftershock Titan (2013):-

The left side of the notebook has the Ethernet connection, various audio ports as well as the memory card slot. What's weird is that the left side is completely devoid of any USB port.

The right side plays host to the optical drive, the Thunderbolt port, as well as USB 3.0 ports and the hybrid eSATA/ USB 2.0 port.

The back has accented vents, two more USB 3.0 ports, as well as HDMI and DC input.

 

Features & Design

Power comes at a price. In the case of the Aftershock Titan V2.1, that price is size. The Aftershock Titan V2.1 is probably the biggest notebook we've reviewed this year (the previous Aftershock Titan review was done in 2013), topping even the massive MSI GT72 2QE Dominator Pro. Honestly speaking, the Aftershock Titan V2.1's gigantic size makes the sizable MSI GT72 2QE Dominator Pro look like a ultraportable. It's that big.

What it loses in portability, the Aftershock Titan V2.1 more than makes up for it in stability. It's hefty base means that there's no give at all, even during heated gaming sessions with the keyboard, although the same can't be said about the display. Unlike the base, the screen is a bit unstable. Slight impacts tend to make it wobble, and it's a major distraction if you're gaming or doing work on it and accidentally brush against the screen. The GT72 2QE Dominator Pro have and most other notebooks have similar issues but the Aftershock's display exhibited a little more disturbance than expected, especially when you take into account the thick notebook lid housing the display, which should have increased its stability (but it doesn't).

Like most notebooks, the Aftershock Titan V2.1 comes with a chiclet keyboard, though the one on the Aftershock Titan V2.1 is made to resistant smudges (unlike the ones on the Aorus X7 Pro or the Gigabyte P35X V3). We also found that the keys themselves can be depressed a tad deeper, likely due to the thicker base of the Aftershock Titan machine, making the keyboard overall more satisfying to use. Interestingly, the keyboard's has customizable backlight colors, just like the one on the MSI GT72 2QE Dominator Pro. Aftershock's easy to use application allows you to effortlessly assign colors for the keyboard backlights and the trackpad, which you can then instantly preview them on the keyboard itself.

The backlights can barely be seen in normal light but once it's dark, the keyboard's brighter than the North Pole on Christmas.

The clickpad has been replaced with a conventional trackpad this time. You can either tap on it to register mouse clicks, or if you prefer, you can use the grilled part of the chassis as physical mouse buttons.

Most of the indicators are on the lower right side of the base. There's the Airplane Mode and trackpad on/off indicators, a battery status indicator and a final one that shows whether the electrical adapter is plugged in and charging. However, you'll have to pay careful attention as the indicators are rather small.

That's all there is to look at on the Aftershock Titan V2.1. Next up, we have a battery of results from the benchmarks we ran on the machine.

8.5
  • Design 6.5
  • Features 8
  • Performance 10
  • Value 8.5
  • Mobility 6
The Good
Tremendous power, reasonable price
Comfortable keyboard
Customizable backlight colors
Thunderbolt port
Removable battery
The Bad
Plain design
Huge size and weight
Limited SSD storage
Processor could be better
Display underwhelming
No USB ports on the left side
Lacks a third display output for surround gaming
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