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Test System And Benchmark Suite

Eurocom Panther 5D Notebook Review: Faster Than Your Desktop
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Synthetic and game tests are performed on the MSI GT70 Dragon Edition 2, Eurocom Panther 5D, and Alienware M18x. The Dragon uses Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 780M mobile GPU, while the M18x employs the previous-generation GTX 680M. Eurocom's Panther 5D employs a desktop processor and a pair of GeForce GTX 680M modules running in SLI. All comparison machines utilize DDR3 or DDR3L-1600 RAM, and their CPUs and GPUs run at factory clock rates. The MSI GT70 Dragon Edition 2 uses a GPU clock rate 75 MHz higher than stock and 500 MT/s-higher memory.

Alienware M18x
ProcessorIntel Core i7-3940XM (Ivy Bridge) Quad-Core @ 3.0 GHz, 55 W TDP
PlatformIntel HM77 Express
Memory8 GB Dual Channel DDR3 @ 1600 MT/s
GraphicsNvidia GeForce GTX 680M 2 GB GDDR5
Storage180 GB Intel SSD 520 + 500 GB 7200 RPM Hard Drive

Eurocom Panther 5D
ProcessorIntel Core i7-3970X Extreme (Ivy Bridge) Six-Core, 3.5 GHz Base Frequency, 150 W TDP
PlatformIntel X79 Express Chipset
Memory32 GB Dual Channel DDR3 @ 1600 MT/s
Graphics2 x (SLI) Nvidia GeForce GTX 680M, 4 GB GDDR5
Storage3 x 256 GB Crucial m4, RAID 5

The productivity-oriented benchmarks are run on comparison machines with Intel's Core i7-3940XM (Ivy Bridge) and Core i7-4930MX (Haswell) quad-core processors. The -3940XM is in Dell's Precision M6700 Covet Edition. The -4930MX is in MSI's GT70 Dragon Edition 2, which is slightly overclocked to let the CPU run at 4.1 GHz in its most aggressive Turbo Boost mode. 

All of these tests are run on an optimized image of Windows 8 loaded on a 180 GB Intel SSD 520 drive that we install ourselves. Compression tests are run on a RAM drive to minimize the impact of storage hardware on each machine.

Dell Precision M6700 Covet Edition
ProcessorIntel Core i7-3940XM (Ivy Bridge) Quad-Core, 3 GHz Base Frequency, 55 W TDP
PlatformIntel QM77 Express
Memory8 GB DDR3 @ 1600 MT/s, Dual-Channel
GraphicsNvidia Quadro K5000M

MSI GT70 Dragon Edition 2
ProcessorIntel Core i7-4930MX (Haswell), Quad-Core, 3 GHz Base Frequency, 4.1 GHz overclock, 57 W TDP
PlatformIntel HM87 Express Chipset
Memory16 GB Dual Channel DDR3L @ 1600 MT/s
GraphicsNvidia GeForce GTX 780M, 4 GB GDDR5, Optimus Switchable Graphics Technology
Storage3 x 128 GB SanDisk SDSA5SF2-128G mSATA, RAID 0 (Primary System Drive)

Benchmark Suite

Synthetic
Futuremark 3DMark 11Version 1.0.3.0, Benchmark Only
Futuremark 3DMark VantageVersion 1.1.2, Benchmark Only
Productivity
File Compression7-Zip Version 9.28: THG-Workload (1.3 GB) to 7z, command line switches "a -t7z -r -m0=LZMA2 -mx=5"
WinRAR Version 4.2: THG-Workload (1.3 GB) to RAR, command line switches "winrar a -r -m3"
WinZip Version 17.0 Pro: THG-Workload (1.3 GB) to ZIP, command line switches "-a -ez -p -r"
Photoshop CS6Version 13 x64: Filter 15.7 MB TIF Image: Radial Blur, Shape Blur, Median, Polar Coordinates
Premiere Pro CS6Version 6.0.0.0, 6.61 GB MXF Project to H.264 to H.264 Blu-ray, Output 1920x1080, Maximum Quality
Maxon CinebenchVersion 11.5 Build CB25720DEMO
CPU Test, Single- and Multi-Threaded
HandBrake CLIVersion 0.98: Video From Canon EOS 7D (1920x1080, 25 FPS) 1 Minute 22 Seconds
Audio: PCM-S16, 48,000 Hz, Two-Channel, to Video: AVC1 Audio: AAC (High Profile)
iTunesVersion 11.0.2.23: Audio CD "Terminator II SE", 52 min, convert .wav to .m4a audio format
LAMEVersion 11.0.2.26: Audio CD "Terminator II SE", 53 min, convert .wav to .mp3 audio format, Command: -b 160 --nores (160 Kb/s)
Gaming
Battlefield 3Campaign Mode, "Going Hunting" Mission 90-Second Fraps
Test Set 1: Ultra Quality Settings
Test Set 2: High Quality Settings
Test Set 3: Medium Quality Settings
BioShock InfiniteBuilt-In Benchmark Utility @ 1920x1080
Test Set 1: Ultra, DirectX 11, DDOF
Test Set 2: Ultra, DirectX 11
Test Set 3: Very High
Test Set 4: High
Call Of Duty: Black Ops IICampaign Mode, "Celerium" Mission 2-Minute Fraps
Test Set 1: Extra Quality, High Filtering, 8x MSAA, Ambient Occlusion, High Depth of Field
Test Set 2: High Quality, Medium Filtering, 2x MSAA, Ambient Occlusion, Medium Depth of Field
Test Set 3: Normal Texture Quality, Low Texture Filtering, Low Depth of Field
Crysis 3Test Set 1: Very High Details, Very High Textures, Motion Blur Medium, Lens Flare Enabled, 2x SMAA, 16x AF
Test Set 2: High Detail, High Textures, Motion Blur Low, Lens Flare Enabled, 2x SMAA, 8x AF
Test Set 3: Low Detail, Medium Textures, Motion Blur And Lens Flare Disabled, No AA, 4x AF
DiRT: ShowdownBuilt-in Benchmark
Test Set 1: Ultra Quality Settings
Test Set 2: High Quality Settings
Test Set 3: Medium Quality Settings
Hitman: AbsolutionBuilt-in Benchmark
Test Set 1: Ultra Quality Settings
Test Set 2: High Quality Settings
Test Set 3: Medium Quality Settings
Sniper Elite V2Built-in Benchmark
Test Set 1: Ultra Quality Preset
Test Set 2: High Quality Preset
Test Set 3: Medium Quality Preset
Test Set 4: Low Quality Preset
Tomb RaiderBuilt-In Benchmark @ 1920x1080
Test Set 1: Ultimate
Test Set 2: Ultra
Test Set 3: High
Test Set 4: Normal
Total War: Shogun 2Built-in Benchmark
Test Set 1: High Graphics @ 1920x1080, FXAA
Test Set 2: Very High Preset @ 1920x1080
Test Set 3: Balanced Graphics @ 1280x720
World of Warcraft: Mists of PandariaHoneydew Village, Between Guards In The Rain, 60-Second Fraps
Test Set 1: Ultra Preset
Test Set 2: High Preset
Test Set 3: Medium Preset
Storage
CrystalDiskMarkVersion 3.0.2
Display
Datacolor Spyder4 EliteBrightness, Contrast, White Point, Luminance Uniformity, Color Uniformity, Color Gamut, Color Accuracy, Monitor Rating

A Note on FPS

We realize that playable frame rates can be debated on a per-game and per-vendor basis, which is why I'm simply listing averages. As long as we're getting smooth gameplay, I tend to choose higher-quality visuals over higher frame rates. After all, we want to see all of the work that game designers put into making a game visually appealing. Typically, we find that 20 FPS is the absolute minimum we’re willing to call acceptable, with 30 FPS a more ideal minimum. In multi-player games, we favor higher frame rates and low lag.

Display Testing Methodology

Display testing and calibration is carried out using Datacolor’s Spyder4Elite calibration system, which we walked through in Display Calibration 101: Step-By-Step With Datacolor's Spyder4Elite. The system consists of a full-spectrum, seven-color sensor. All of the measurements and charts are generated by the Spyder4Elite software. The only changes are a quick crop to make the images easier to read.

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