I just got a brand new Sager NP9170 laptop, with Ivy Bridge processor and Radeon 7970m graphics.
The first thing I did to test the machine was to install Steam, and then install the original Portal.
I noticed that there was some serious "tearing" going on and, while it was plenty fast, it really looked ugly whenever I moved the mouse to look around.
My second test was with Portal 2, an obviously much newer game. With Portal 2, which has higher quality graphics to begin with, the experience was very smooth.
So there must be something I can do to get my machine to run Portal 1 (and probably similarly old 3d games) smoothly. Any tips?