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Storage And Audio Performance

Eurocom Panther 5D Notebook Review: Faster Than Your Desktop
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Storage Performance

Our Panther 5D sample shipped with a trio of 256 GB Crucial m4s configured in RAID 5, giving us a decent balance between performance, capacity, and data protection.

We measured respectable sequential read speeds from the array, though writes aren't particularly impressive. This could be hampered over time since you don't get the benefit of TRIM, forcing you to instead rely on Crucial's own garbage collection routines.

The Panther 5D offers a great deal of flexibility for storage configurations. Dialing in the right combination of performance and data protection is as simple as making changes in the notebook's firmware, or simply ordering from Eurocom with the arrangement you plan to use.

Audio Performance

Audio fed to external amplifiers via the analog headphone jack sounded very good. The optical digital output works well if you have an external DAC. Additionally, I didn't have any trouble hooking up to a receiver via HDMI. There wasn't any buzzing or popping to report from the analog outputs, either.

I set up multi-channel output through the analog jacks, HDMI output, and TOSLINK interface without any issues.

Testing Through Headphones

As part of my usual testing routine, I like to listen to music through multiple sets of headphones. Through the very sensitive Etymotic HF3 in-ear buds, there was no unwanted noise to report, and music playback sounded good. Audio quality was also good from the slightly bass-heavy Bowers and Wilkins C5 earphones. I also had good experiences with the very detailed and slightly bass-shy Shure SE425.

Additionally, I auditioned a couple of pairs of traditional over-the-ear headphones. The 32-ohm Grado SR125s sounded good. With Sennheiser's HD 600s plugged in, the headphone output drove the difficult 300-ohm load to solid listening levels.

Music through Sennheiser's HD 600s was neutral, detailed, and had a wonderful sense of rhythm and pace. I found myself listening to entire albums played back from the Panther 5D’s headphone jack instead of my normal dedicated amplifier. With all of the software processing disabled, I found the Panther 5D to be nothing short of excellent.

With all of the audio hardware I tried, there was very little distortion, no background noise, and no hiss. I got an excellent sense of detail with wide stereo separation. The overall tonal balance was great. The low bass had a strong impact without being bloated. Above all, the sound straight out of the Panther was involving.

In short, the Panther 5D probably has the best headphone output of any notebook I have ever used.

If you do need to tweak the sound, the equalizer in the Sound Blaster Console is excellent.

We were less enthused with the Sound Blaster headphone optimizer. The software appears to crossfeed audio to make headphones sound more like listening to speakers in a room. Unfortunately, the effect takes away from the excellent performance of the Panther’s built-in headphone amp.

Built-In Speakers

Unfortunately, the built in speakers sound like they come from a clock radio. They seem much better tuned for vocals than music. The subwoofer does help with upper bass, but not as much as we've heard from other systems. Even with extensive tweaking using the bundled software, the built-in speakers cannot compare to other high-end laptops. Game sound effects, movie vocals, and teleconferencing are fine; the lack of low bass and high treble detract from the impact of sound, but dialog is at least very clear.

The Panther 5D offers a ton of analog and digital audio I/O, along with the software to adjust those connections. While the notebook's built-in speakers leave us unimpressed, its headphone output is excellent.

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Top Comments
  • 31 Hide
    vmem , December 4, 2013 9:13 PM
    I want the satisfaction of just dropping this monster on someone's desk, and say

    "personal server: DEPLOY!"
  • 20 Hide
    Razerium , December 4, 2013 10:17 PM
    Sure it's better than my desktop, but it's also three times more expensive!
  • 15 Hide
    coffeecoffee , December 4, 2013 10:14 PM
    Great for individuals that moves around often (i.e LAN parties, get togethers, etc) IF the hardware can be kept cool AND if the fan doesn't sound like a space rocket taking off. However, one will need a deep pocket to afford something like this.

    @vmem "Personal Server: Please insert Credit Card to continue! $_$"
Other Comments
  • 31 Hide
    vmem , December 4, 2013 9:13 PM
    I want the satisfaction of just dropping this monster on someone's desk, and say

    "personal server: DEPLOY!"
  • 15 Hide
    coffeecoffee , December 4, 2013 10:14 PM
    Great for individuals that moves around often (i.e LAN parties, get togethers, etc) IF the hardware can be kept cool AND if the fan doesn't sound like a space rocket taking off. However, one will need a deep pocket to afford something like this.

    @vmem "Personal Server: Please insert Credit Card to continue! $_$"
  • 20 Hide
    Razerium , December 4, 2013 10:17 PM
    Sure it's better than my desktop, but it's also three times more expensive!
  • 2 Hide
    f-14 , December 4, 2013 10:20 PM
    now this is how you're meant to play crisis 1-2-3 right by any one with an iMac.

    the main people i can see needing this bad boy is division commanders on a battlefield as well as NSA hackers and CIA spies and Drone operators
  • 1 Hide
    airplanegeek , December 4, 2013 10:28 PM
    you guys didn't review the sound volume :( 
    but what i really wanted to see was the effects of ocing the gtx 680Ms :p 
  • 5 Hide
    16bit , December 4, 2013 11:14 PM
    Great article. Puts my 17.3 inch laptop to shame.

    Finally I can have high end desktop performance on the go.
  • 1 Hide
    palladin9479 , December 5, 2013 12:51 AM
    I once had a Desktop Replacement laptop, huge monster that required a large AC adapter, was loud and heavy. These things are NOT portable, they are heavy to lug around and completely impractical for mobility. They are for people who, for whatever reason, do not want a desktop +monitor at their house. These are just desktops that are easier to transport around.
  • 0 Hide
    belardo , December 5, 2013 1:07 AM
    This seems more for bragging rights. Sure some people will NEED this... For a portable gaming system with 3 power-bricks, etc... why not get customized AIO? Or simply brink a small (SFF) case with keyboard and 20" display which would weight less? If you're gaming anyway - you'll need a mouse. The keyboard looks crappy, the numeric keypad is up against the main keys.

    Lets see, a SFF setup parts:
    PC: 5 = SFF-PC, keyboard, mouse, monitor, 2 power cords.
    5D: 7 = 5D Panther, Mouse, 2 power cords, 3 power bricks/converter.

    In return, you get a much better keyboard... then when broken, its a $10~150 replacement...
  • 2 Hide
    Avus , December 5, 2013 1:40 AM
    It may be fast, but it sure look ugly. If i compare this notebook to a car, it will be a Mitsuoka Orochi.
  • 3 Hide
    zodiacfml , December 5, 2013 4:32 AM
    awesome photography. i enjoyed looking at the parts.
  • 3 Hide
    toddybody , December 5, 2013 5:16 AM
    Incredible. Criticisms aside, awesome to see this dedication to performance..."skinny obsession" be damned.
  • 0 Hide
    corvetteguy1994 , December 5, 2013 5:38 AM
    Slam it on your friends desk and start poking it with a stick " optimus, TRANSFORM!"
  • -2 Hide
    ohim , December 5, 2013 6:19 AM
    This looks like a laptop from the 80`s :) ) and at that price point you have to be really retarded to pay such a price.
  • -2 Hide
    chesteracorgi , December 5, 2013 6:24 AM
    At over 4X the cost of my desktop, this portable monster performs only marginally better. Were I to spend as much on a desktop I'd build a Xfired (290s) or SLId (780s) machine with 4K triple monitor (at least 27" per monitor) surround graphics. The form factor of "laptops" is too confining to compete on a level playing field with desktops.

    Nice machine, but it is overbuilt for a laptop if you need external monitors to use its full graphics. Sure you can take it somewhere where you can hook it up to multiple monitors, but then it is no more portable than a desktop.
  • 3 Hide
    BigMack70 , December 5, 2013 6:38 AM
    Not faster than my desktop ;) 

    Anyways, nice review. It's fun to read about the stupidly high end laptops that most of us don't ever see or use in real life, just to know what's possible if you go for performance over form factor.
  • 0 Hide
    Elrabin , December 5, 2013 6:42 AM
    Insane.

    I understand that it's "PERFORMANCE AT THE COST OF EVERYTHING ELSE" but wow.

    To put this into perspective for that $6600, you could buy a fully loaded Precision M3800 quad core i7, 3200x1800 IGZO screen, 16gb ram, 512gb SSD + 1tb HDD and a Quadro k1100m that weighs 4lbs for $2600 and still have $4k left over to build a MONSTER workstation/gaming desktop

    Lets go nuts. A 4k UP2414Q Ultrasharp Monitor for $1400

    Core i7 4770k $300
    2 x Nvidia GTX 780ti $700 each
    512gb SSD
    4Tb HDD

    and a full build would still come out to less than 4 grand.
  • 5 Hide
    CaedenV , December 5, 2013 7:24 AM
    Ha! So that's what happens when you take a 1990's laptop case and fill it with modern hardware. Amazing!
  • -5 Hide
    Avro Arrow , December 5, 2013 7:30 AM
    I can only imagine possible military applications for this thing. If I had that kind of horsepower, I'd want a much larger screen than 17". The real problem I see with it is the same problem I see with pretty much all laptops. They're technological dead-ends because they cannot be upgraded. It's a cool thing to see what's possible but as Kurtwood Smith said in Star Trek VI: "Let us redefine progress to mean that just because we can do a thing, it does not necessarily mean that we must do that thing."

    I think that statement is perfectly applicable to the Panther 5D.
  • 1 Hide
    ram1009 , December 5, 2013 7:37 AM
    This is nothing but a status symbol for those with more money than sense and I'll never believe it stays cool under load until I see it in person.
  • 0 Hide
    Stevemeister , December 5, 2013 8:13 AM
    This just goes to prove that given enough money to spend you can get anything you want - the question is are you paying two to three times as much as you need to.
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