Eurocom X5 (Clevo P177SM)by Vivek Gowri on September 2, 2013 12:00 AM EST
Interestingly enough, this is the first Extreme Edition CPU I’ve had the opportunity to review since I started at AnandTech. The first Intel Extreme I’ve actually ever spent any time with, even. So I was definitely intrigued. This is more than overkill for my use cases, but damn if I wasn’t psyched to benchmark it. My reaction was actually akin to a clip from Top Gear that I’m rather fond of:
So, anyways, the i7-4930MX. It’s a quad-core, eight thread CPU clocked at 3GHz and a max turbo that’s nearly at the magical 4GHz mark. The 57W TDP of the CPU alone is more than the entire thermal envelope of the last notebook I reviewed....times two and a half. As such, this is the fastest notebook we’ve got on our charts, though we'll be updating these shortly when we add a second i7-4930XM equipped MSI GT70 to the list.
The primary points of comparison for our Eurocom X5 test unit are the MSI GT70 Dragon and the Mythlogic (Clevo P157SM) – as outlined in the introduction, the two have a fair amount of similarity in specification and target market. The two key performance differences come in the CPU – the MSI had the i7-4700MQ (2.4GHz base, 3.4GHz turbo) and the P157SM has an i7-4900MQ (2.8GHz base, 3.8GHz Turbo) – and storage, with the MSI’s multi-mSATA SSD RAID configuration and Mythlogic's 512GB mSATA.
It’s interesting to look at the MSI, which is by all accounts an extremely powerful computer, and see how much faster the Eurocom’s Extreme Edition processor is in some of the CPU intensive tasks. It’s awesome. There has never been a faster mobile processor, and that makes this (and every other) Extreme Edition CPU special. On the other hand, the i7-4900MQ is basically half the price and in several benchmarks it delivers higher performance, suggesting there are other factors at play.
Unless your name is Smaug and you live in a castle buried in gold, I don’t think the Extreme Edition is necessarily the most prudent financial decision. But bragging rights cost money, and so does the cutting edge in performance. Now, to top this, I want a mobile hex. That’d really be something.
3DMark basically tells a similar story, again with the fastest systems swapping places. Drivers are likely playing more of a role here as well, and our test drivers on the Eurocom are slightly older than what we used with the Mythlogic. Let's see how things go in actual games.
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JarredWalton - Monday, September 2, 2013 - linkYou have to make sure to compare similar configurations, though. Pro-Star and several others don't include the OS by default, for example, so that's at least $80. Mythlogic and Eurocom do LCD calibration for "free", which is worth at least $25 I'd say. Then look at default warranties and configuration options and go from there.
I'd suggest an i7-3800MQ, GTX 780M, 2x8GB RAM, and a 240/256GB mSATA drive with 1TB HDD as a good baseline. Then toss in Windows 8 64-bit, 802.11ac, and upgrade the thermal compound just for kicks and you end up with the following prices:
Eurocom: $2457 (no 802.11ac)
LPC-Digital: $2379 (cash $2308)
Maingear: $2618 (no mSATA options other than caching - yuck!)
Origin: $2629 (no 2x8GB RAM option, so this is 4x4GB)
Pro-star: $2324 (cash: $2254)
XoticPC: $2354 (cash: $2283)
I think that's most of the major resellers of Clevo notebooks in the US, and you can see that outside of Maingear and Origin, pricing falls around $2300-$2400. A couple places offer cash discounts, others offer additional customization options, etc. Looking at the configurators, I'm still partial to Mythlogic, simply because they offer 512GB mSATA drives and a few other nice extras. AVADirect is the only other place with 512GB mSATA, but I've never liked that their site requires you to click "update price", plus they don't pre-calibrate the LCD.
Anyway, it pays to shop around as always when purchasing something in this price range. Find the options you want, compare pricing, and if you have any additional knowledge of the support and customer service take that into account.
rpgfool1 - Monday, September 2, 2013 - linkI'm not a person willing to spend with bells and whistles, especially when it comes to the holidays like Black Friday and Christmas. That is reserved for my desktop PC. I know some resellers don't have the OS and installing drivers will be slow for a Clevo notebook. It's nice for some people who can afford those options, but in a few years they'll be obsolete due to new CPU and GPU (like Broadwell and Haswell refresh).
DanNeely - Monday, September 2, 2013 - linkIs there any particular reason to go with an mSATA SSD? Cleavo's still putting dual 2.5" bays; so why not go with the generally a bit cheaper and better performing 2.5" models instead?
JarredWalton - Monday, September 2, 2013 - linkmSATA is simply a nice way to get additional storage. Start with a large mSATA, and then adding 2.5" HDD, SSD, or SSHD is simply down the road. Finding reasonably priced retail mSATA is a bit trickier and with M.2 coming the future supply may be limited. Of course, technically mSATA drives are usually a bit slower than regular SATA, as they have fewer packages to work with so parallelism isn't quite as high. Not really a huge problem in my book, but if you need maximum SSD speeds then 2.5" drives are still a bit faster.
MDX - Monday, September 2, 2013 - linkCouldn't buy anything Clevo, just too damn hideous. It's time for some style, guys (and not the apple version of style - aluminum/black got old years ago)...
Calista - Monday, September 2, 2013 - linkVivek, do you have any knowledge about why external graphics never made it to the world of laptops with the exception of low-powered solutions utilising Cardbus, ExpressCard or USB? With such a silly amount of different form-factors and often sky-high price-points I have a hard time understanding why no one have bothered with the concept. Especially since so many laptops are sold as "gaming laptops". Is it because of technical reasons? Since it seems quite easy creating a PCI-E 1x lane (as in ExpressCard) why not try scaling it it further?
BlakKW - Monday, September 2, 2013 - linkThis is a question I would really like to see explored. My guess is that moving the gpu outside the chassis doesn't decrease weight and increase battery life enough to make a gaming laptop "mobile" when undocked from gpu.
While I like about the concept is the idea that I could use normal gpu's (780 vs 780m), and that it would come in a box like the power brick, which I could open and upgrade as needed.
Gadgety - Monday, September 2, 2013 - linkAs in the Sonnet and Magma ExpressBox (up to three full length cards) via Thunderbolt? Magma's ExpressBox also comes in non-Thunderbolt variants for up to 7 cards.
Calista - Tuesday, September 3, 2013 - linkThunderbolt is barely three years old (and have seen very slow actual adoption), and the products you spoke about is also quite expensive, in the $400-$500 range excluding the card itself. Compare this to the common docking station which can be found in the $200 range, and this includes the "OEM markup", i.e. why a new OEM battery cost $150 while it can be found online from a third-party source for a third of the cost. A desktop GPU in the $200 range would do very well compared to also a high-end mobile GPU since power and cooling would be much less of an issue. Oh well, it's just speculation. Maybe mobility is worth more than price/absolute power for a gamer on the go.
willis936 - Monday, September 2, 2013 - linkI'm done with notebooks after my now 5 year old ideapad desktop replacement. I still don't have reason enough to justify an upgrade though. POWERRR!!