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CyberPowerPC Tracer VII Review: 13900HX + 4090


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CyberPowerPC Tracer VII


(note this is a rewrite as my original draft was corrupted during a crash. It is not as refined as the first draft, so, if nothing else, perhaps you can appreciate the amount of hours I had to dedicate, twice...)

The CyberPower Tracer VII/Eluktronics Mech-17/XMG NEO 17, and others.

There are a few overview/reviews on youtube, so I try to focus on my personal experience and details not evident unless using the laptop as primary for a span of time.

True 17" device, with liquid cooling option, running Windows 11, Intel i9 13900HX, and full power (extra power?) RTX 4090 as configured.

TongFang opted for the less expensive i9 13900HX as their only option for cost/volume pricing, a decision I can't argue with given the price of this unit.

The Cyber Power version comes with Windows 11 by default, and has some options for customizing including Windows 11 Pro, RAM, Storage, and accessories. Their prices are also the best out of the manufacturers available to North America by several hundred dollars per unit at the cost of a limited BIOS for now. Basically, you can buy a fully configured Tracer VII, with watercooler, for the cost of a 'bare bones' Mech 17.



The laptop is a true 17" 16:10 device with thin bezels, which slots it in almost perfectly between the smaller 15.6/16" and the Larger 17.3/18" laptops.

That said, it feels larger than a 16" laptop more than the dimensions suggest. It is also reasonably deep. It kind of falls into a unique category where it is not quite small enough to be readily portable, and not quite large enough to feel like a full DTR in terms of screen size. But it leans farther into DTR size realm than the Portable laptop side.  Maybe for larger people this would be less noticeable, but it will not fit in cases designed for 16" laptops and does not carry as well as the Legion 7 16" which is only about 325gm less.

Pictures show the comparison of the Legion 7 16", on the TongFang, on the Scar 18.





The chassis uses a clamshell design (single, central hinge with gaps on the sides). Personally, I have not been a huge fan of this design as it typically limits the hinge ROM, but limited ROM is pretty much standard this generation. This is different from the 16" version which uses a more traditional full hinge across the back. The gaps caused by the lid have traditionally been traps into which things like cords and lanyards get trapped, but this is somewhat mitigated by the smallness of the gaps this version has. While lid flex can also be a problem with this design, the Tongfang has a very stiff lid with little flex.

This should be the last year of this chassis, as newer screen tech and other design plans will necessitate a clean slate design, which will probably end the unique 17" 16:10 configuration.

That said, despite taking up some of the rear with liquid cooling ports, the port selection is good, better than the Scar 18 with a dedicated full SD card slot, ports on the back, and sides. Power cord also goes on the back which is my preferred location for desk organizing.

Flex is not a problem in the chassis, nor is carrying it by the corner, though just due to the size I prefer to carry it over the arm tucked to my chest.

Unscrewing the bottom panel is fairly straightforward, but note that two screws on the rear where the water-cooling loop comes in also need to be removed. The main screws near the back are very deep and the cutouts for the screws are very small, so you need a very thin driver to reach down.

There are two RGB strips/inserts on the rear, and the CP logo on the lid. That is it. Otherwise, plain black laptop.





Despite being physically larger, the laptop does not feel that much bigger in terms of screen size. When sitting in front of the laptop, the distance from the end of the laptop to the start of the keyboard is much larger than say the Legion 7, this has the result of pushing the screen further away from you, making the screen feel subjectively smaller.

2" seems to be the magic number. Push the 17" screen 2" further away from you than the 16" screen, and they effectively appear the same size. The legion 7 with its shorter depth is over 1" closer to you when on a desk. So, the perceived difference in size is not as much as 1" extra diameter would appear.

Colours and brightness are good, not quite to the level of Legion 7 or the Scar 18, but really only noticeable side by side. Day to day use is unaffected.





The keyboard is of 'mechanical' design.
From Eluktronics:

"Keyboard: Cherry MX® Per-Key RGB Low Profile Mechanical Keyboard - 1.8mm travel, 65gf actuation force, 20 million keystroke rating *Top function row and 10-key membrane numeric keypad are membrane keys.  Mechanical keyboard switches are highly audible while typing.  This is NOT meant for a library, but does anyone still go there anyway?"

It is very loud. Eluktroniks mentions a library, I wouldn't want to bring it to a coffee shop, or an office setting, or a college auditorium for note taking. 100WPM on this device would be distracting to everyone.

Travel is consistent, actuation force is rather high, with a lot of ramp up until sudden drop off after the actuation, and a sudden stop as the key slaps the bottom of the deck.

(I did a search and Linus Tech Tips basically described this as a ‘front loaded activation curve’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LqCzNyaC3Cg 8:45 min mark)

The keyboard button choices are also a bit strange, it gives us a pause button, but no dedicated home button. There is no enter button on the numpad, and I pressed the "." button several times after typing in a string of numbers. This is mostly the result of missing a 4th column of numpad keys, the lack of which I do not understand as there is clearly enough space for the additional keys on the chassis.

Backlight on the keyboard is not uniform, and is either brighter in the middle or near the top, and the bottoms seem under lit. Very evident on the bottom row, where the windows key and the other keys on the bottom are only half illuminated.




Gizmosliptech gave rave reviews for this keyboard set up. This is my first mechanical laptop keyboard, and I don't quite feel the same way.

What follows is only opinion so feel free to skip to the next section.

{To my use and understanding, the idea behind a mechanical keyboard is consistent, repeatable, tactile (sometimes audible) actuations, which allows for a smoother typing experience and ease of touch typing. The key should activate before bottoming out, allowing you not to bottom out every time you type, since there is no padding at the bottom of the stroke, and enables short stroking of the keys for faster typing. Saves wear and tear on your fingers as well.

On this keyboard there is no tactile feedback of activation, only a sudden 'give' after a sizeable activation force, making it almost impossible to touch type due to such short travel (even though it is long for a keyboard), and no cushioning at the bottom of the stroke, the impact of which gives the only 'audible' indication that the key has activated. So, what we end up with is an odd combination of keys with slightly more key travel and no cushion at the bottom.

It actually takes more effort (actuation force) to type on (push key to movement threshold) than a desktop mechanical keyboard or any of the membrane laptop keyboards currently in my possession. My hands average-sized for my gender, yet the difference is notable.

I would prefer a good membrane keyboard with long travel on a laptop as since touch typing is more difficult, at least your strokes are cushioned at the end. The short stroke of a laptop mitigates most of the prolonged and inconsistent squishiness of cheap desktop keyboards. And a good membrane keyboard can be consistent and pleasant to type on and use consistently (think any major business line of laptops, and in my experience also the Legion 5 of 2021)

In fact, even this keyboard is better with a membrane, since the Num Pad and Fn keys use a membrane. Travel is a bit shorter, but is consistent, easier activation, quieter, and cushioned.

I wrote half this review on the laptop keyboard and half with a $30 desktop, off brand mechanical keyboard, and the difference in typing fatigue at speed is incredible. The Legion 7 2021 with its very short travel keys, which I criticized back on NBR, is more comfortable to type on for long periods.}



The touch pad is good in responsiveness and smoothness. The button activation is smooth and relatively light, so easy to activate with fingers and not whole-hand weight. It is somewhat heavier to activate with fingers at the top of the pad, but it is still possible. This is both a pro and a con as will be seen below.

The touchpad is centered in the chassis, not to the keyboard. It is also HUGE. It is Longer and Wider than a 3.5” HDD.


The touchpad does have zones where you can turn either the right half (where your right palm will sit) off or turn off the touchpad entirely.

The problem is that because the touchpad is so huge that even with half of it turned off, you still palm-click the touchpad, which naturally selects on the screen somewhere other than where you were typing. Palm rejection does not extend to actually clicking the touchpad...

This is more than mildly annoying, as the only other solution is to consciously to lift your palm off the touchpad every time you type, which is not the best for fatigue and repetitive motion. You can turn the touchpad off, of course, but then you have to turn it on and off every time you want to use the mouse.

If the touchpad was at least keyboard centered (I pretended to type with my hands shifted to the right to simulate keyboard centered) the ulnar aspect of the palms would be straddling the touchpad making accidental touches less likely but not avoided entirely, with the L hand now being able to join in the accidental clicks as well.



They are loud. That seems to be their claim to fame. They may distort somewhat at volume, and fidelity is not the best with their down-facing nature. This seems to suffer more when lifting up the back of the keyboard since the speakers were probably tuned to reflect off the flat surface the laptop is sitting on.

Use headphones



The laptop does come with Conductonaut, so it looks like Tongfang is giving liquid metal across the board for this model.

Air cooling is adequate for a laptop of this size and performance with a traditional heatpipe design. It is not as efficient at removing heat as the Scar 18 or other dedicated Air-Cooled laptops, with somewhat higher temps (5-10c) but still able to get top performance at the cost of noise.

Fan noise is plentiful given the amount of cooling the laptop has to produce. But compared to the Scar 18 and Legion 7, it lacks the shrill, high-pitched whine associated with most laptops. This is one of the nicest laptop fan noises I have listed to, with a lower constant wooshing sound at full bore.

Overall, it is less noisy than the Scar 18. And while still audible with headphones, it is not disruptive due to the low pitch and easy to ignore. Max fans are louder but still not shrill. It is also not so loud as to irritate those in close proximity. Overall good for a gaming laptop.

On Air, GPU temps remained good generally under 80c at my typical less-than-maxed loads, CPU temps would peak into the 80's and 90's regularly, and occasional bumps to 100c which seems to be the norm for this gen of CPUs. I wonder if the sensor position or the way it is reading is different from previous gen, because the time to temp spikes seems very low.

Water cooling seems to have more effect for temperatures and noise rather than performance. Gizmosliptech's review seems to indicate that despite additional CPU wattage available, it does not generally improve performance by a lot.



Cyberpower, despite having the same layouts as the other resellers, does not have the unlockable options in the bios, making it the least configurable behind Eluktronics and XMG.

If you want to use the bios to make some tweaks you are out of luck with CyberPower's implementation. But if you are happy with the stock performance, which on the GPU side is better than pretty much all other offerings, then I see no reason not to save a couple hundred dollars and buy CyberPower.

Given how similar these laptops are it might be possible to Flash a Premamod bios onto them, but that is certainly a risky experiment.



At present, weak implementation. Drivers for the Tracer VII only started popping up 3/14, and only one driver (the audio driver) as of 3/25. I was able to bum a bunch of the drivers from the Eluktronics page, but I don't know that there is any excuse for not having drivers on a product that released weeks ago.



I had several interactions with cyber power when purchasing this laptop, and every time I spoke with someone they came across as indifferent. There was no drive, no enthusiasm. Very flat, and almost a bother to be talked to.

Contrast this with Newegg who always had energetic, knowledgeable and engaging people come onto the line.



Overall, I think that this is exactly what a boutique (read non-mainstream) manufacturer can and should do. It brings together a bunch of different ideas and tech under a price point that many can afford at the cost of being perhaps not the best executed, or the most refined. But where else can you get what it offers?

Performance is excellent for the size and in terms of raw numbers beats pretty much every other laptop out there on the GPU side.

If deciding between this and the 16" version, I think it would depend on your needs. If you don't need the bigger screen real estate, and want portability, definitely go 16". If you don't mind sacrificing some of that for a somewhat bigger screen, maybe give the 17" consideration.

Going forward, I think the 16 / 18" split makes more sense than this midway option, as it feels like a bad Goldilocks situation where it is neither too small, nor too large, and kind of loses out on both. This should be self-limited, however, as next gen should be a new chassis.

An 18" version of this laptop, with a quieter keyboard and a reasonably sized touchpad would suit my needs perfectly. In fact, if only for the keyboard and the touchpad (or perhaps just the keyboard layout), I probably would have kept it as primary.




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Performance testing is not my forte nor do I have enough time to dedicate to it properly. There are reviewers with videos whose numbers effectively duplicate mine, which is reassuring that there should be consistency across the tests, so I will defer to them.

All testing was performed with the latest bios and and same graphics drivers for each laptop. Both were elevated on stands with no active cooling.

Tongfang was in Turbo mode, with factory 100/500 overclocks on core and memory.

Scar 18 was originally tested on 50/100 factory overclock and then 100/500 to attempt to match the Tongfang.

Both were set to dedicated GPU mode, as the advanced optimus caused some crashes in between testing.

Experimental overclocks to 200/1000 were stable, however, the effect on Timespy was at most a couple hundred points. Games seem to demonstrate variable results depending on title with some minimal changes, and others gaining 5-10fps.

Temperature-wise, the Tongfang performed adequately on air. Average temps were 5-10c higher average than the Scar 18 in Turbo mode. Max fans can drop the temps a bit further, but GPU temps in the upper 70's to 80's are the norm (there may be a reason for this, however). Scar 18 seems very comfortable keeping GPU temps in the low 70's, or even 60's with max fans.

Both laptops have CPU temp spikes into the upper 90's and the occasional 100c. HWmonitor detects both going to throttle around 95c. This seems to be standard across all manufacturers so it has something to do with the Intel chips themselves just suddenly spiking temps. Perhaps the way sensors are reading this generation due to wattage draw?




Tongfang GPU performs about 23,150 in Timespy, and the Scar 18 around 21,800 in the same test with the SAME OVERCLOCKS, more on this later.

Tongfang CPU performs around 15,300, and the Scar 18 around 16,400

These are grossly similar to Gizmosliptech who has multiple runs in each on his videos of the two laptops.


CPU consistency under load seems stable under typical gaming load (demo)

Both 4090's appear to max out around 2460mhz peak. This seems fairly consistent among the 4090 models I have seen. However, once the GPU reaches 100% utilization in Timespy, clocks will drop anywhere into the 1900-2150 range. This can be somewhat improved with overclocking (allowing the GPU to reach toward that higher frequency) but more importantly, THIS IS NOT TEMP LIMITED as during my testing with max fans, temps were well controlled even under 100% utilization.

What this suggests to me is that the GPU's are in fact limited by power, and that 175w is not enough to drive the cards at full clocks at 100% utilization. Perhaps there is another explanation, like built-in frequency/load throttling, but with my limited knowledge this is all I can come up with.

Tongfang, however, at the same clocks/overclocks, routinely pulls 100-200 mhz higher than other 4090's when at 100% utilization. Since Gizmosliptech and I had almost the same numbers, I doubt this is a fluke.

Gizmosliptech noted that the XMG Neo 17 exhibited a unique behaviour in that it rarely seemed to hit 175w during Timespy, and I noticed a similar pattern on my unit. This was not present on the Scar 18 which happily pulled 174-176w whenever it felt necessary).


Therefore, I suspect Tongfang must be doing something 'interesting' with their 4090's, as numbers in the 23k range are not the norm for 4090's so far. In fact, I could not get my Scar 18 to get within 1000points of those numbers at a 200/1000 overclock.

XMG also noted in their livestream at CES that adding water cooling would add wattage to the CPU but not the GPU (presumably since this is set by Nvidia).


In my original evaluation of the 4090 performance, before I had hands-on experience, I suspected that additional wattage would not add much in terms of performance to the 4090. But based on these results, and what I suspect Tongfang is doing, some additional wattage may go a long way toward improving GPU clocks under 100% utilization.

Taking a guess that 10w grants us 100-200mhz, could another 15 watts give us another 200mhz? Could we see 2400mhz at 100% utilization?

In either case, the real-world results will vary.

What I can conclude is that these chassis are more than capable of handling 175w from the GPU and probably more. Perhaps if Intel had better performance/efficiency, more wattage could be dedicated to the GPU, (which may be another reason for the 175w limit).


SCAR 18 1

Scar 18 1TS.jpg


SCAR 18 4

Scar 18 4TS, Max Fan.jpg



Cyber Power 2 - 3.jpg



Cyber Power No overclock.jpg



Cyber Power Time Spy 1.jpg



CP Overclock 200 1000.jpg


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Thanks for the review! Have been looking at the new NEO 17 for awhile now myself.


2 hours ago, SapphiraTriX298 said:

It is very loud. Eluktroniks mentions a library, I wouldn't want to bring it to a coffee shop, or an office setting, or a college auditorium for note taking. 100WPM on this device would be distracting to everyone.


I've read on XMG discord the other day that the keyboard "wears in" after some use and gets slightly quieter.

It's a shame to read that mechanical kb does not help with touch-typing, and in fact is worse than the membrane. I never owned a laptop with a mechanical kb, but wanted to try it. Now after reading your comments I think I might stick to membrane if I ever decide to purchase this model.



Currently and formerly owned laptops (specs below):

Serenity                    -> Dell Precision 5560
N-1                             -> Dell Precision 5560 (my lady's)

Razor Crest              -> Lenovo ThinkPad P16 (work)
Millenium Falcon    -> Dell Precision 5530 (work)
Axiom                        -> Lenovo ThinkPad P52 (work)
Moldy Crow             -> Dell XPS 15 9550



Senenity / N-1: Dell Precision 5560
    i7-11800H CPU
    1x32 GB DDR4 2,666 MHz
    512 GB SSD
    NVIDIA T1200
    FHD+ 1920x1200
    PopOS 22.04


Millenium Falcon: Dell Precision 5530
    i9-8950HK CPU
    2x16 GB DDR4 2,666 MHz
    1 TB SSD
    NVIDIA Quadro P2000
    UHD 3840x2160
    Ubuntu 22.04 / Windows 10 LTSC


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I am not sure how that is possible.

The only noise comes from the plastic of the key slapping the deck of the keyboard. There is no audible or tactile activation of the switch such as in blue switches. It is purely linear.


Perhaps they are getting better at actuating at the precise force necessary to minimize the 'back slap'.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Thanks for the review!


Would you mind checking the bios again?

I think you can unlock bios options with a setting in the control center.

Then reboot and disable overclocking lock


Can you see what options are available?


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