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Are you tired of gaming notebooks that have to be tethered to a power outlet? We test Eurocom’s Racer 2.0 to see if its combination of a 22 nm Intel-based CPU and 28 nm graphics processor from Nvidia can help enable playable performance on the road.
It's pretty common for us to hear hardware manufacturers throw the word "gaming" in the description for their products. "Unleashed" is less telling, but also relatively popular. Usually, though, those terms are tacked onto desktop-oriented components.
Unfortunately, when you try to stick too many high-octane parts into a mobile machine, you end up spending more time tethered to a wall. And it's hard to use a word like unleashed when there's literally a leash keeping you from moving around freely.
Portable gaming machines generally fall into two categories: those that work well on the road but constrain gaming to unacceptably low levels, and those that serve up playable frame rates without any realistic expectation of mobility. In the past, we've had a hard time getting excited about either of those two extremes.
There's good news, though. Powerful hardware continues getting more efficient. That means higher performance and less power consumption. And so we're presented with Eurocom’s Racer 2.0 platform.
A starting price of only $1500 gets you an Ivy Bridge-based processor and a Kepler-based GPU. Eurocom added a few extras to our review unit to make it a true performance-oriented powerhouse priced just north of two grand.
|Eurocom Racer 2.0 Component List|
|Platform||Intel rPGA988, HM77 Express, MXM-3 Discrete Graphics|
|CPU||Intel Core i7-3820QM (Ivy Bridge), Four Cores, Eight Threads, 2.7-3.7 GHz, 5 GT/s DMI, 8 MB Shared L3 Cache, 22 nm, 45 W|
|RAM||Samsung 8 GB (2 x 4 GB) DDR3-1600 SO-DIMM, CL11, 1.35 V, Non-ECC|
|Graphics||Nvidia GeForce GTX 660M: 835 MHz, 1 GB GDDR5-4000|
|Display||15.6" Non-Glare LED Backlit TFT, 1920x1080|
|Audio||Integrated HD Audio|
|Security||Built-in Fingerprint Reader|
|Hard Drive||Intel SSD 520 120 GB, SATA 6Gb/s|
|Optical Drive||TSST TS-L633F 8x DVD Burner|
|Media Drive||9-in-1 Flash Media Interface|
|Wireless LAN||Realtek RTL8188CE 802.11n Combo PCIe NIC, 150 Mb/s|
|Wireless PAN||Integrated Bluetooth Device|
|Gigabit Network||Realtek RTL8411 PCIe 10/100/1000 Mb/s Ethernet|
|IEEE-1394||Integrated IEEE-1394 Controller|
|USB||1 x USB 2.0, 3 x USB 3.0|
|Expansion Card||Not Available|
|HDD||1 x eSATA 3Gb/s|
|Audio||Headphone, Microphone, Line-In, Digital Out Jacks|
|Video||1 x Single-Link DVI-I, 1 x HDMI, 1 x DisplayPort|
|Power & Weight|
|AC Adapter||180 W Power Brick, 100-240 V AC to 19 V DC|
|Battery||14.8 V, 5200 mAh (76.96 Wh) Single|
|Weight||Notebook: 7.1 Pounds, AC Adapter: 1.8 Pounds, Total: 8.9 Pounds|
|Operating System||Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64-bit Edition, OEM|
|Warranty||One-year, Parts and Labor|
Alright, so, the final price of our Racer 2.0-based system is actually more than $2100. But that includes a superfluous 4 GB memory module that adds $110 to the price. We wouldn't recommend that configuration to most buyers. Intel's Ivy Bridge platform only requires two modules to satisfy the dual-channel memory controller. Eight gigabytes is more than enough for most desktops, and it's even harder to justify extra memory with a notebook's lighter application load.
Putting that $110 expense aside, Eurocom’s Racer 2.0 delivers on portability in heft, too. We're tired of seeing companies advertise the purportedly low weight of their portable workstations by conveniently neglecting to add in the power bricks. Eurocom gives us a combined weight just under nine pounds for its Racer, and that pleases us. We can carry nine pounds even while running between gates at the airport.