When it comes to technology, the trend is to make things smaller and more powerful. This certainly has been the case in mobile computing. However, Ontario, Canada-based Eurocom continues to buck that trend with a lineup predominantly composed of desktop-replacement notebooks.
With the just-released D900F Panther, the company has created what it claims is the world's first notebook built with Intel's Core i7 processors. CRN Test Center reviewers spent a little time with one of the new systems, and it lived up to our expectations.
At just a hair less than 12 pounds, the 15.8 x 11.9 x 2.05-inch Panther is definitely not a lightweight. But Eurocom didn't waste any of the available space that the large screen provided. Externally, the unit has a full-size keyboard, including a number pad. On the inside, there is space for up to three separate hard drives that can be set up in various RAID configurations and, due to the Core i7's triple channel memory capability, there are slots for three SO-DIMMs.
The D900F is available with every Core i7 CPU currently being made, including the server-class Xeon processors, and is highly customizable in almost every other component as well. Our evaluation unit was stocked with the 3.33GHz i7-975 Extreme processors, 6 GB of DDR3 memory, an nVidia GeForce GTX280M graphics chipset, an 80-GB solid state drive and two 500-GB hard drives configured in RAID 0. Other components in our system included a 3-megapixel Webcam, a Blu-ray reader/DVD burner, a Bluetooth module and 802.11 a/b/g/n wireless networking.
The system has a professional, classy look to it, with a glossy gray finish. The WUXGA 1,920 x 1,200 screen (a WSXGA+ 1,600 x 1,050 version also is available) is bright and displays colors vividly, although this comes at the cost of a little glare. A matte version of the screen also is available. Blu-ray movies looked beautiful, allowing this workstation to serve double duty for entertainment purposes.
Four strategically placed fans line the bottom of the case and small rubber legs prop the unit up. This design does a surprisingly exceptional job of keeping the system cool, with the hottest points barely warm to the touch.
When using Primate Labs' Geekbench2 benchmarking suite, the D900F scored a chart-topping 9,827. While we were hoping to break the 10,000 mark, this still is in the range of only the fastest rack-mounted servers we've tested -- pretty good for a notebook system.
Eurocom claims the 12-cell battery offers one hour of life. When tested by turning off all power-saving features and playing a Windows Media video repeatedly until the system died, our battery lasted one minute past the one hour mark. We think it's safe to say that in normal usage, the company has understated the specification and more than an hour is clearly likely.
Overall, the D900F Panther is a computer enthusiast's dream. It takes the power of the fastest desktop components available and fits it into a portable (though heavy) chassis. The base price of a standard configured system is $3,069 and increases with customization.