Xi PowerGo XT Notebook Review
Alexander Murray posted on January 18, 2016 |
At times, when we grow tired of the mundane cubicle life, or when we need to complete multiple tasks while on the go, dependable computing capabilities are a necessity. As such, leveraging a laptop with substantial power permits flexibility for accomplishing tasks normally requiring a desktop workstation, all while still on the go. The Xi PowerGo XT Notebook is more than capable of delivering high-quality performance, while engaging users with premium workstation features to drive productivity. As a first-time user of a Xi notebook, I was curious to see how different the PowerGo XT would be from my typical everyday laptop experience. For instance, does the hardware configuration allow me to run graphics applications such as SOLIDWORKS, or even Photoshop, without crashing? Can I toggle between multiple Internet-based programs without the notebook stalling or gasping for more memory? Would the onboard sound, graphics processing unit (GPU) and display hardware support my desire for great sound and enhanced visuals? Or would I be limited in how I could upgrade and expand the system’s capabilities? Ok, so for my broad, but necessary, questions, I must say yes, the PowerGo XT Notebook performed very well under varying design conditions and never left me on the bench begging to get in the game. The machine is a complete workhorse that pushed beyond what I would expect from a notebook.

Figure 1. The Xi PowerGo XT.
Figure 1. The Xi PowerGo XT.

Mobile Workstation Features  

First, I will go ahead and point out that this system is huge—but that’s a good thing. The spacious 17.3 in. LED screen enhanced the viewing experience and made it easier for me to work on. If your eyes are less than perfect, like mine, the larger screen makes the user experience even more enjoyable and gives the feel of a desktop monitor. The keyboard also has an illuminated backlight that adds both flair and ease of use in rooms with minimal lighting. I found the backlighting to be a great option for varying environments, especially in low light areas. This is an option I never even thought of incorporating into a system. Nonetheless, the PowerGo XT also has a wider, yet stylish, body that is heavier than an average notebook, but with the amount of power, performance and stability packed into this device, I am surprised that it doesn’t weigh more. There are several premium features in this workstation, such as the sixth-generation Quad Intel Core i7-6700K desktop processor with Turbo Boost, along with a Microsoft Windows 7 OS and 16GB DDR4 dual-rank interleave RAM to support system performance and multitasking between programs. I definitely took advantage of this, since it seems that I can never run less than five programs at a time, in addition to having multiple social networking Internet tabs opened simultaneously. The PowerGo XT integrates a full keyboard, multitouch track pad, video camera and dual-band wireless Bluetooth module to name a few. I must also mention the vibrant audio. It is a must that I listen to music while I work, and this internal audio system did not disappoint me. Multiple inputs to choose from include:
  • (3) USB 3.0 connectors
  • Headphone and microphone inputs
  • Multi-memory SD card reader slot
  • HDMI input
  • (2) Rear DisplayPorts (for optional dual monitors)
Graphical Performance and Efficiency 

Moreover, the graphical performance on the PowerGo XT is phenomenal. When creating part features with a SOLIDWORKS CAD application, I was more than amazed by how quickly parts could be generated or opened with ease. For instance, I can’t even count the amount of times in which simple tasks, such as opening a 3D part or assembly, has caused my laptop and/or desktop workstation to crash, losing work in the process. This was not an issue with the Xi PowerGo XT. The graphics in this mobile workstation are powered by a high-end NVIDIA Quadro M3000M GPU. The performance of the GPU, in combination with the 17.3 in. LED screen, made my 3D CAD renderings, as well as any video I watched, look amazing. The laptop also features a 256 GB Samsung solid-state drive (SSD). The SSD option could be considered a pricey one by some, but it yields the benefit of less heat draw and can perform significantly better than a typical hard drive. Moreover, I was impressed with the overall processing speed. Every component integrated into the PowerGo XT was definitely built to conquer high-level design, multipart assembly and any computational task that is thrown at it. This notebook is lightning fast. 

Figure 2. SOLIDWORKS part created on the Xi PowerGo XT.
Figure 2. SOLIDWORKS part created on the Xi PowerGo XT.

  Benchmarking the PowerGo XT Notebook 

A few general benchmarks were run for the PowerGo XT Notebook and are illustrated below
Windows Experience Xi PowerGo XT  gfdgfd
Windows Experience HP ProBook  ergregfds

Figure 3. Windows Experience Index score for system components.

Using Windows 7 built-in experience index, I compared the PowerGo XT to my trusted work HP ProBook laptop that I use on a daily basis. The index score measures computer hardware and software capabilities and reports the metric for the lowest performing component. I was curious to see just how well the PowerGo XT matched up, but as you can see from the illustration above, the base score for the Xi PowerGo XT came in a lot higher at 7.8 in comparison to the 6.5 base score for the HP. The scores were nearly perfect across every subscore. As such, the Xi PowerGo XT performed better when performing resource-intensive tasks such as CAD modeling and even high-level gaming.  
PassMark Xi PowerGo XT  gffsffgefcds_1 PassMark HP ProBook  gfdgfdsgfds_2

Figure 4. PassMark comparison with other systems.

A second benchmark for system performance was run using the PassMark 8.0, which measures system performance against several standard hardware configurations. The Xi PowerGo XT produced an overall PassMark composite score of 6,442.7, while the HP ProBook eked out a 2,165 for the same test—yes, a significant difference in processing speed, giving the upper hand to the PowerGo XT.
SPECviewperf Benchmark Xi PowerGo XT  fdsfdsfs_1
SPECviewperf Benchmark Online report fsdfdsfss_2 HP ZBook 17
fdsfdfdsfdszcdsfcdfdsadsa_3 Lenovo ThinkPad W540 workstation
Figure 5. SPECviewperf benchmark for Xi PowerGo XT Notebook and other models. 

For the SPECviewperf benchmark, which specifically measures real-world professional graphics performance, I pulled a few recent scores of a few comparable mobile workstations that were published on the SPECviewperf 12 site. Higher scores in each category indicate a higher graphical performance when used for each listed application—for instance, behavior under conditions within SOLIDWORKS, CATIA, NX, etc. From Figure 5 above, you will see that the Xi PowerGo XT returned a composite score of 112.58 in the SOLIDWORKS test. In comparison, the HP ZBook 17 mobile workstation reported a score of 61.9 and the Lenovo ThinkPad W540 returned a score of 35.06 for the same test—another hands-down win for the Xi PowerGo XT. Online SPECviewperf scores from the compared models can be found here.
Cinebench Xi PowerGo XT fdsfdfs_1 Xi PowerGo XT wefdsfdgfs_2 HP ProBook   erfewfrdscdfs_3 HP Pavilion G Series Laptop

Figure 6. Cinebench benchmarking.

The final benchmark comparison involved the Cinebench benchmark. This benchmark measures CPU processing power and OpenGL GPU performance under real-world conditions. I ran this benchmark for both the Xi PowerGo XT and my trusted HP ProBook. In addition, I added another laptop, an HP Pavilion G series that I use for other graphics applications. The comparison from Figure 6 shows that the PowerGo XT generates the highest metrics of 104.65 for the graphics and 485 for the CPU. My everyday ProBook, sporting the modest consumer-grade Intel HD Graphics 4000 consistently failed the graphics test and consequently would not return a value. Furthermore, the CPU ran at less than half the rate of the PowerGo CPU. Finally, the Pavilion scores were nothing less than disappointing and don’t even compare to the performance of the Xi PowerGo XT. This notebook is a beast. 

Pricing Summary 

The base model for this notebook is stacked with multiple features, comes with a Xi parts replacement warranty and is competitively priced at around $1,699. Now, this price level may not be right for everyone, but again, high-quality workstations that can handle 3D modeling tasks and simulations demand more coin. As such, the as-reviewed configuration is significantly pricier at $3,120, but of course this is not your average off-the-shelf notebook. The PowerGo XT is built for professional performance and is meant to be driven by users requiring graphics-intensive applications. If you are only looking to surf the Web or send an occasional email, then there may be too much power under this hood for you. However, if you are looking for a high-quality notebook that can operate as your main CAD workstation by supporting on-the-go design and gaming capability as a bonus, then the PowerGo XT will inspire you. See the added component options below.    
00031 Xi® PowerGo™ XT (Base Configuration) $1,699.00
01041 Intel® Core™ i7-6700K 4.0/4.2GHz-1C Turbo Boost 8MB Shared L3 Cache DMI 2.0 Quad-Core 6th Gen. 14nm w/Artic Silver® 5 Thermal Compound $169.00
02347 16GB DDR4 @ 2666MHz SO-DIMM Dual Rank Interleave $99.00
04579 NVIDIA® Quadro® M3000M 4GB GDDR5 VRAM Maxwell™ architecture GPU (In Stock) $539.00
05206 17.3" 1920x1080 Full HD LED Backlit Matte Type Display $79.00
03199 256GB Solid State Drive Samsung® SM951 M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 2150/1200MB/s Seq.R/W 512MB Cache Buffer <.3ms seek Shock Resistant 1500G. (UEFI Boot, Not to be used as boot drive on XEON based systems) $199.00
32142 Optional 1TB 5400 RPM SATA 6Gb/s (9.5mm) Seagate® Solid State Hybrid Drive with 64MB cache 8GB MLC SSD NAND Cache $139.00
06067 No Internal Optical Drive Bay available for this model Incl. w/ Base
41115 External DVD Writer 8x Max. USB 2.0 (USB 3.0 Compatible) Slim Optical Drive $69.00
10001 No External Speakers option Incl. w/ Base
12099 Built-in Gigabit Ethernet LAN and Killer™ Dual Band Wireless-AC 1535 + Bluetooth® module Ver. M.2 $49.00
13029 Built-In Backlit Full Size Keyboard with Numeric Keypad Incl. w/ Base
14019 Built-In Multi-touch Trackpad Pointing Device (for CAD use a cordless mouse is highly recommended) Incl. w/ Base
16084 Genuine Microsoft® Windows® 7 Professional Edition SP1 64-bit (32Bit avail. on request) Fully installed, configured and updated, includes original DVD media and COA $79.00
35025 Mouse Pad & Balsa Glider w/ Xi logo. (Assorted, design may vary). Incl. w/ Base
35027 McAfee® Antivirus Plus for Windows - One-Year subscription - McAfee Registration code provided for Download & Installation Incl. w/ Base
18001 Standard Xi Warranty w/Express Advance Parts Replacement, Lifetime Tech Support, Three Year Labor FOB Xi, One Year on System parts. Manufacturer warranty on Software, Monitors and external accessories.(Freight both ways paid for parts only inside US & CA) Incl. w/ Base

Figure 7. The PowerGo XT Notebook pricing options.

Conclusion I must commend Xi for producing this premium notebook that encompasses enough onboard power to support a 3D designer’s passion for stability, as well as a gamer’s critical desire for system performance. The PowerGo XT has the power of a professional desktop but merits praise for remaining a robust mobile CAD workstation with the fortitude to effortlessly outperform many notebooks and desktop PCs on the market. The benchmarks clearly show the PowerGo XT notebook is worth engaging for serious CAD workflows. Not every company can stake that claim about their mobile computers.

Alexander Murray is an instructional designer and developer for a mid-sized organization in Central Ohio. Murray is also an adjunct engineering technology instructor at Columbus State Community College in Columbus, Ohio, and has more than 14 years of engineering design and training experience in both the mechanical and civil industries. His education includes an AAS in mechanical engineering technology; a bachelor of science in industrial technology from Kent State University; a master of science in industrial and systems engineering from Ohio University; and he is currently completing a PhD in instructional technology from Ohio University.

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