A flagship graphics launch is bound to fail unless it's the fastest game in town. Well, both AMD and Nvidia say their respective juggernauts have that title. Clearly, only one company can be right. Is the Radeon HD 6990M or GeForce GTX 580M quicker?
A thick arm, a fat wallet, and a little technical knowledge are all that stands between you and portable gaming paradise. System builder and hardware co-developer Eurocom makes it that easy to get a top-end gaming configuration, with a bit of help from its chassis and GPU partners.
Central to its efforts, the aged Panther 2 chassis now houses Intel’s desktop-class (130 W) Core i7-990X hexa-core processor, in addition to a pair of MXM-based graphics cards.
At this point, we could frankly start recycling photos and go into a full description of the Panther 2, a machine that has garnered more than its share of attention in various Tom’s Hardware notebook reviews if we include its X7200 siblings.
But rather than rewrite previously-published information, today’s article focuses on the things that make this Panther 2 special: namely, its ability to accommodate incredibly powerful dual-card mobile graphics configurations. Below is the configuration that first arrived in our lab.
|Eurocom Panther 2 Component List|
|Platform||Intel LGA 1366, X58 Express / ICH10R, MXM-Based Discrete Graphics|
|CPU||Intel Core i7-990X (Gulftown) Six-Core 3.46-3.73 GHz, 6.4 GT/s QPI, 12 MB L3 Cache, 32 nm, 130 W|
|RAM||Samsung 12 GB (3 x 4 GB) DDR3-1333 SO-DIMM, CL9, 1.5 V, Non-ECC|
|Graphics||Dual AMD Radeon HD 6990M, 2 GB GDDR5, CrossFire|
|Display||17.3" Glossy LED Backlit TFT, 1920x1080|
|Audio||Integrated HD Audio|
|Security||Built-in Fingerprint Reader|
|Hard Drive||3 x Intel 510 250 GB SSD, 750 GB (Striped), SATA 6Gb/s|
|Optical Drive||Matshita UJ240AS 6x Blu-ray Burner|
|Media Drive||9-in-1 Flash Media Interface|
|Wireless LAN||Bigfoot Killer Wireless-N 1102 (Atheros AR5BHB116)|
|Wireless PAN||Internal Bluetooth V2.1/3.0 +EDR Module|
|Gigabit Network||JMicron PCIe 10/100/1000 Mb/s Ethernet|
|IEEE-1394||Optional (not installed)|
|USB||3 x USB 2.0, 2 x USB 3.0|
|Expansion Card||Not Available|
|HDD||1 x eSATA 3Gb/s|
|Audio||Headphone, Microphone, Line-In, Digital Out Jacks|
|Video||1 x Dual-Link DVI-I w/VGA Adapter, 1 x HDMI|
|Power & Weight|
|AC Adapter||300 W Power Brick, 100-240 V AC to 15 V DC|
|Battery||14.8 V, 5300 mAh (78.44 Wh) Single|
|Weight||Notebook 13.4 pounds, AC Adapter 3.6 pounds, Total 17.0 pounds|
|Operating System||Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64-bit Edition, OEM|
|Warranty||Three-years parts, labor and tech support|
Since today’s article compares the latest mobile GPUs from both Nvidia and AMD, Eurocom also included a pair of GeForce GTX 580M graphics cards. That’s a $581 upgrade for most buyers, yet it barely compares to the sexy $1755 hard drive upgrade already installed in the configuration that showed up at our door. If you were really worried about pinching pennies on this thing, you could cut the price by $268 and choose a one-year warranty instead.
Moreover, if you really want to switch graphics modules around, you'll need the different GPU heat sinks. All of these parts arrived separately so that we could experience the upgrade process available to any owner of an X7200-based chassis. Eurocom even sells alternative upgrade components if you own a Dell or HP notebook, for example, and would like to upgrade.