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Do Core i7 And GeForce GTX 660M Make Sense?

Eurocom Racer 2.0 Review: Intel's Ivy Bridge Meets Nvidia's Kepler
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We're gamers, but when we end up liking a notebook, it's usually because it's actually portable. Yes, it's fun to benchmark the highest-end graphics modules and desktop-class processors in systems that get dubbed "mobile workstations." But at the end of the day, such hardware combinations are not totally practical.

Our opinion is often at odds with high-end builders like Eurocom, who really prefer to show of the capabilities of their desktop-replacement notebooks. Fortunately, we were able to convince the company to send over a mid-sized, mid-priced configuration for today’s analysis.

Comparing the Racer 2.0’s baseline GeForce GTX 660M graphics module to the GTX 675M, the less expensive GPU demonstrates better overall value. That’s in spite of the fact that, at only $165, the GeForce GTX 675M upgrade adds less than 8% to the system’s total price. Heck, upgrading from a one-year warranty to three-year coverage costs more than that ($271)!

But those numbers come from a benchmark set where only one-third of the overall performance summary comes from games. There were a couple of instances where the GeForce GTX 660M required a drop to 1600x900, while the GTX 675M played smoothly to 1920x1080. A value chart based on 1920x1080 performance adds a little perspective:

Even with its Ivy Bridge-based CPU, the GeForce GTX 660M’s high-end gaming value falls slightly behind the older Radeon HD 6990M-equipped configuration. Of course, Ivy Bridge helps catapult GeForce GTX 675M ahead of AMD's older flagship.

Given that this is a portable gaming machine, you might think that we'd be driven toward the more expensive configuration. But the number we have stuck in our heads is 44. As in, 44 minutes of Battlefield 3 that we were able to play using Nvidia's more efficient Kepler architecture without having to plug into a wall. Some enthusiasts might be unwilling to drop their gaming resolution to 1600x900, but we’d gladly make that sacrifice in exchange for 48% more play time on the road.

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