Mobius TL 580 vs MacBook Pro

 vs

I adore my Apple MacBook Pro 17". I've been using a MacBook Pro as my main computer for years and years.

But I got a non-Apple laptop as my new laptop. Why? Gaming. I had long threatened to do so: unless Apple came through with top-of-the-line video cards for their laptops, I would follow the card and buy whoever did. I still use my Apple MacBook Pro 17" (2009) for computing, but I use my Doghouse Systems Mobius TL 580 for World of Warcraft.

I chose Doghouse Systems because I'd heard of them on The Instance podcast and I had a great experience with them even before I bought from them. I've never encountered a more honest, direct, friendly, and helpful business. 

I have a few examples but in the interest of keeping this from TL;DR just know that honest, direct, friendly, and helpful equals Doghouse Systems.

Anyway, how did the actual laptop work out?

I've never had a better out-of-the-box experience with any product, ever. Including Apple.

They offered to pre-load World of Warcraft as well as Lord of the Rings Online, Rift, and Starcraft II, and even iTunes, which I took advantage of, of course. As a result, this is the complete list of steps I had to take when I got my Mobius TL 580 from Doghouse Systems:

  1. Unbox it.
  2. Plug it in.
  3. Turn it on.
  4. Join my home wireless network.
  5. Log on to WoW and begin playing a fully patched and updated and Cataclsymed game.

That's incredible! Everything set up and ready to go like that? Amazing! Great! And such a delight! Even Apple products take you through a series of steps to sign on, make an iCloud account, and the like. I understand that, since especially having an iCloud account will make using the computer so much better, but really nothing beats being able to just take it out of the box, turn it on, and begin playing. Crazy good!

The graphics are wonderfully awesome

Settings are set at "Ultra" and everything, no matter how intense, is as smooth as glass. I was really quite struck by that, and it delivered everything I was hoping for—and more. 

It's improved my enjoyment of the game, made me want to play it more, and made me want to do more things. It's true that if you're hampered by hardware you'll be less likely to do something. This manifests itself in, for example, playing Skyrim. I adore that game but there were things I didn't do, doors I didn't go through, expressly because of the load times on the Xbox. 

The same is true with World of Warcraft. I feel like I can go anywhere, hop into any instance, blast out any special effect, and look out over as vast a landscape as I want from the highest tower and it'll all be handled with 100% rocking awesome aplumb, as if there was nothing to it.

Quite coincidentally, after the Mobius had been ordered but before it had arrived, I encountered an actual game play issue on my MacBook Pro due to framerate. There's a new monster with a new effect that would drag my laptop down to 5 FPS, which was enough to cause me to die rather predictably during that fight, and for the recurring reason that I couldn't see everything. That same battle on the Mobius TL 580 is bewilderingly smooth, rich, clear, sharp, and complete.

Temperature

The laptop has great ventilation. The top is completely cool everywhere. I can feel hot air exiting out the back, underneath the screen, so that's where it all goes. The fan(s) are not loud and in fact are nicely soft. Not as quiet as my MacBook Pro, but the comparison is unfair since the two have dramatically different heat characteristics. I was quite concerned that the Mobius TL 580 would have jet engine fans like the Xbox, but I am comforted to note that it's quite pleasant.

The design

I've learned to appreaciate the clean elegance of an Apple product. The difference between the two laptops is stark. The MacBook Pro looks like it was designed with the intent of being used every day, for everything, and be a part of your life at home and in public. It's something you wouldn't be embarrassed to carry in the open. It has a nice aesthetic with clean lines and smooth elgance that says professional competence and portability anywhere. The Mobius TL 580 looks like it was assembled from available templates. On the other hand, it's not being used for everything and isn't going anywhere, so perhaps the design is not as important. Still, I miss it now that it's gone.

The speakers are disappointing

I didn't even know this was a thing until I used the Mobius, but apparently speakers and sound technology in a laptop actually do matter. The sound out of my three-year-old MacBook Pro is smooth, rich, full, and "present." I thought all laptops were like that because, c'mon, "they're just speakers and laptop speakers at that." How much variance could there be? Well!

The Mobius TL 580 sounds tinny, weak, small, sad, and regrettable. I was really quite struck by it. It actually sounds like the sound is issuing from tiny plastic speakers behind a plastic grill. I don't know what differing technologies are involved, but Apple clearly made the much better choice. I spend the majority of my time playing with my headphones, so this isn't as much of an issue.

Perhaps Doghouse Systems assumes everyone will do the same, and so turned their design attention elsewhere...? Or maybe this is the standard and the MacBook Pro is especially good and above average? It's hard for me to say.

The keyboard

I'm disappointed that the keys do not light up, despite the fact that the pictures on the website show that they do. Actually, they illuminate for other models of Mobius, just not mine. The MacBook Pro lights up and is nice, and I was rather looking forward to having illuminated keys, especially since the keyboard is black.

Ports

The MacBook Pro has but two USB ports. I found myself wanting three. The Mobius TL 580 comes with something like a million of them. I don't want for ports and it's nice to feel free enough to just toss things onto the machine without worrying about it. Luxurious!

Post Purchase Support

The Mobius TL 580 has function keys with strange glyphs on them. Not being a Windows laptop user, I didn't know what all of them meant. Some were apparent, others were not. I asked Doghouse Systems what they meant and they replied right away with a graphic (missing from the loose leaf binder/manual that comes with the laptop) illustrating what everything was. It turns out I can ignore all the buttons that were previously unknown, but it's nice to know what they do.

I feel confident that if I have any other questions or problems, Doghouse Systems will be quick and happy to reply and/or help.

Conclusion

This laptop was purchased for one reason: gaming. At that task it excels. I would say it's beyond expectations, but like Solo, I can imagine quite a lot. So I'll say it's everything I dreamt a gaming laptop could be on screen. It's glorious and a powerhouse and it's just shocking how much it can handle at once and with seeming casual indifference to the intensity of what's going on on screen.

Despite huccups, I'm quite happy with it. I adore it. It's my shiny.