iBUYPOWER Battalion 101 W230SD

13-inch Gaming Laptop Featuring the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M

Clevo W230SD Chassis
Cleve W230SD Chassis. ©Clevo

iBUYPOWER no longer sells the Battalion 101 W230SD but it is still possible to find similar laptops based on the Clevo W230SD chassis from other companies. If you are looking for a compact laptop be sure to check out the Six Best Lightweight Laptops to Buy in 2016.

The Bottom Line

May 27 2015 - The Battalion 101 W230SD updates the affordable 13-inch gaming platform to the latest NVIDIA graphics platform.

It still retains its incredible performance and power in a small package but retains the quirks of the previous W230SS including the fairly noisy fans and its less than stylish design. Still, if you want a lower cost compact gaming system, it does a good job.


  • Strong Performance for Size
  • Lots of Storage Upgrade Options
  • Good Battery Life


  • Cooling Fans Can Get Very Noisy
  • Peripheral Ports Get in the Way of Using External Mouse
  • Quality Not As Good as Premium Brands


  • Intel Core i7-4710MQ Quad Core Mobile Processor
  • 8GB PC3-12800 DDR3 Memory
  • 500GB 7200rpm SATA Hard Drive
  • 13.3" WUXGA (1920x1080) Display With 720p Webcam
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M Graphics with 2GB GDDR5 Memory
  • Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n Wireless, Bluetooth
  • Three USB 3.0, One USB 2.0, HDMI, 9-in-1 Card Reader
  • 12.99" x 8.94" x 1.26" @ 4.6 lbs.
  • Windows 8.1

Review - iBUYPOWER Battalion 101 W230SD

May 27 2015 - iBUYPOWER's Battalion 101 W230SD is essentially an updated version of the previous Battalion 101 W230SS.

Both are laptops based upon the Clevo whitebook laptop chassis with the same model number. This means that physically, the system is identical to the previous model. It is thick for a 13-inch laptop at 1.26-inches but it is designed for gaming which requires higher performance components and improved cooling.

Weight is also fairly high at 4.6 pounds making it not much lighter than some 15-inch laptops but it is more compact.

Powering the Battalion 101 W230SD is the Intel Core i7-4710MQ quad core mobile processor. This gives it a very slight speed bump over the previous version but this provides it with very strong performance that can be used for any type of task whether it is PC gaming or doing some desktop video editing. The processor is matched up with 8GB of DDR3 memory that provides it a smooth overall experience with Windows even when heavily multitasking.

Storage remains identical with the past W230SS model by featuring a 500GB traditional hard drive that provides a decent amount of storage even if it doesn't have the performance of a solid state drive. The system is fully customizable though which means that users can upgrade to either a larger hard drive, opt to install a 2.5-inch based solid state drive in its place or a mSATA drive in addition to the hard drive. If you need additional space beyond these two options, the system does feature three USB 3.0 for use with high speed external hard drives. Like many newer laptops, there is no optical drive on the system but this is not an issue with the rise of digital software distribution.

So the big change for the Battalion 101 W230SD is the graphics system. The display remains the same with a 13.3-inch display panel featuring a 1920x1080 native resolution. It is a decent panel but certainly could use improvements. Response times are good for gaming but the color and brightness levels could be improved. It certainly falls short of the display used by the Alienware 13 but this system is hundreds less. The change is with the updated NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M graphics processor. This provides it with good performance up to the panel's native resolution with good detail levels. It may not have the performance for as many filters but it certainly is much more affordable than with more powerful graphics processors.

The keyboard layout and trackpad are pretty unremarkable. It uses the same isolated layout as the last design which works but doesn't distinguish itself as being either great or bad. The layout obviously is not as large as those found on larger 15-inch gaming laptops which means keys can be a bit more cramped. The trackpad is a decent size and features dedicated buttons which reduce the surface size but give a more accurate click. The downside is that the buttons are very soft and not well suited for PC gaming. Most gamers will probably end up using an external mouse instead though.

The Battalion 101 W230SD features the same 62.1 WHr battery pack that was used in the previous chassis. This is larger than your average 13-inch laptop but this is a more powerful system. In digital video playback tests, running time was essentially the same as before at just over four and three quarter hours. This is a good running time but is less than what Apple MacBook Pro 13 can achieve at nearly double the running time. Of course, this is with digital video playback. if you plan on using it for gaming on the go, expect the running time to be much lower.

Pricing for the iBUYPOWER Battalion 101 W230SD has gone up a bit compared to the past model with the base price now being $1199. This is more affordable than the Alienware 13 that costs around $1400 for a similar display and graphics setup. Alienware's offering has less general performance from using a Core i5-5200U dual core processor but it does offer similar gaming performance at the mobile level. Alienware's system offers a slightly thinner design that is more stylish than the plain looks of the W230SD. The big difference is that the Alienware can be expanded for desktop class performance if you add on the very expensive external Graphics Amplifier unit.

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