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Panther Guts

Eurocom’s Core i7 Notebook: Walking The Panther

Flipping the D900F reveals its 14.4V, 6,600 mAh (95 watt hour) battery and a label that points to the fact that Eurocom refers to this specific model as both the D9F and D900F. Clevo, the Taiwanese ODM responsible for the Panther's mechanical design and manufacture, uses the D900F designation in its own product description.

Opening the forward bottom panels reveals two-drive and single-drive 2.5” HDD bays. A fourth internal drive can be installed in place of the optical drive. This is a Eurocom-exclusive modification to the Clevo design intended to add value for the folks who either want increased redundancy or more capacity. Our configuration uses two 500 GB Seagate 7200.4 drives in a Level 0 array (striping).

Two identical-looking fans on the left might lead one to believe that this is an SLI-based notebook, but removing them proves otherwise.

The first sink covers a single graphics module, while the second fan resides over Intel’s X58 Express desktop northbridge. The big fan isn’t needed for the chipset, but is instead part of an enormous three-fan-wide CPU cooler that also serves the chipset.

Anyone coming into the notebook market from desktop gaming might be shocked to see the so-called GTX 280M is actually nothing more than a G92 part with added memory. We discussed this fact in today’s GTX 280M/GTX 280 editorial, and our benchmarks will reveal it’s a solid performer by notebook standards even though, behind the scenes, nobody (including several VARs to which we've spoken) is pleased with Nvidia’s mobile nomenclature.

To the right of the graphics are two of three DDR3-1066 modules. Accessible from beneath the D900F keyboard, the third memory module can be spotted above through two holes in the motherboard. Eurocom’s configuration page shows that retail units will instead include DDR3-1333 modules, which help to boost specifications even though our tests have shown limited benefit for faster RAM.

There is no mobile socket for Core i7 (Calpella, the mobile version of Intel's Nehalem micro-architecture, isn't expected until late 2009), and the familiar desktop socket holds a 3.20 GHz Core i7-965 Extreme. The i7-975 Extreme became available after our unit was built, but is still supported, and other high-end options include Xeon processors of the same design.

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