Eurocom Racer 2.0 Review: Intel's Ivy Bridge Meets Nvidia's Kepler

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
PlatformIntel rPGA988, HM77 Express, MXM-3 Discrete Graphics
CPUIntel 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
RAMSamsung 8 GB (2 x 4 GB) DDR3-1600 SO-DIMM, CL11, 1.35 V, Non-ECC
GraphicsNvidia GeForce GTX 660M: 835 MHz, 1 GB GDDR5-4000
Display15.6" Non-Glare LED Backlit TFT, 1920x1080
Webcam2.0 Megapixel
AudioIntegrated HD Audio
SecurityBuilt-in Fingerprint Reader
Storage
Hard DriveIntel SSD 520 120 GB, SATA 6Gb/s
Optical DriveTSST TS-L633F 8x DVD Burner
Media Drive9-in-1 Flash Media Interface
Networking
Wireless LANRealtek RTL8188CE 802.11n Combo PCIe NIC, 150 Mb/s
Wireless PANIntegrated Bluetooth Device
Gigabit NetworkRealtek RTL8411 PCIe 10/100/1000 Mb/s Ethernet
IEEE-1394Integrated IEEE-1394 Controller
TelephonyNot Available
Peripheral Interfaces
USB1 x USB 2.0, 3 x USB 3.0
Expansion CardNot Available
HDD1 x eSATA 3Gb/s
AudioHeadphone, Microphone, Line-In, Digital Out Jacks
Video1 x Single-Link DVI-I, 1 x HDMI, 1 x DisplayPort
Power & Weight
AC Adapter180 W Power Brick, 100-240 V AC to 19 V DC
Battery14.8 V, 5200 mAh (76.96 Wh) Single
WeightNotebook: 7.1 Pounds, AC Adapter: 1.8 Pounds, Total: 8.9 Pounds
Software
Operating SystemMicrosoft Windows 7 Professional 64-bit Edition, OEM
Service
WarrantyOne-year, Parts and Labor
Price$2146


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.

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  • amuffin
    Quote:
    $2146


    WHAT!

    You could get a laptop with a 680M for that price! :ouch:
    4
  • azathoth
    I would have loved to see some Temperature readings on the GPU/CPU during usage. A lot of gaming laptops even whilst brand new can generate enough heat to be uncomfortably hot in some areas.
    5
  • xanagu
    Anonymous said:
    Quote:
    $2146


    WHAT!

    You could get a laptop with a 680M for that price! :ouch:

    Seriously Tom? you can get a much better deal with 3610QM, 16GB RAM, 750GB HDD and 7990M for $1470
    4
  • Crashman
    xanaguSeriously Tom? you can get a much better deal with 3610QM, 16GB RAM, 750GB HDD and 7990M for $1470
    Remember Eurocom loves high-end CPUs and SSDs. Besides, why would I want 16GB in a notebook?
    4
  • xanagu
    cuz its a free upgrade?
    2
  • esrever
    Seems a bit too pricy. Battery life isn't good either, only slightly better than the other models. Also not really portable so why would people care that much about battery life?
    3
  • rorouni
    do they have one that supports stereoschopic 3d?
    1
  • uglynerdman
    u could get a clevo with a 680m for 1800. this whole article only recinforces my belief in buying a p150em even with a normal 670 installed itll still be better for the price. i find eurocom a lil over priced. xoticpc ftw
    1
  • uglynerdman
    i really dont get why xangu's comment was downrated and crashman's was uprated. its true you could get a better deal 1500 does get you a i7 3rdgen with 8 gbs ram and a 7970m. and saying that eurocom likes highend ssds and cpus? ummm.. im sorry are there different cpus available everyone sells all the intel i7 mobile quads. all the boutiques. Same with SSDs and hard drives. What has to stand out from a place is the build quality cooling slight performance difference > competitors and other bits to justify an inflated price. The battery life is always hovering around 4 hours max. not matter which model you have you still gotta plug in a power brick eventually. theres car adapters, plugs on greyhound and amtrak. heck airport seats have plugs nearby. the 670s can game unplugged for a few hours. a few more minutes on the 660? i feel the 660 should be in a ultrabook not a rugged sized notebook. Look at the size. it looks as big and heavy as its competitiors. Dont get me wrong i like eurocom they have some great stuff just, i dont see a noticeable difference to justify the price/performance of that setup vs other boutiques. Id really like to see a toms review of more clevos and msi customs/ does anyone offer superior cooling builds etc.
    4
  • uglynerdman
    xanagucuz its a free upgrade?

    while above 8gbs is nonsense for gamers if you like playing in a window and running other programs and doing other things such as uploading a vid coding a vid, doing other activities a lil bit of ram goes along way. i myself go out of the way to tweak my games to use 4gbs if they dont support it and multitask. Besides 16 gbs is usually about 40-80 bucks more > standard 8gbs. it has its uses unless ur solely gaming. 16 gbs is my standard. i have enough ram to abuse skyrim on ultra full of mods windowed while talking online watching a news feed and streaming video in another window and extra monitor.
    3
  • Wisecracker
    "...such hardware combinations are not totally practical..."

    Yup.

    Nice to dream, though ....
    0
  • ojas
    what about the experience factor? heat while working (not playing)? typing? bloatware? responsiveness?
    0
  • halls
    On the "Test Settings and Benchmarks" page, I think you have the Eurocom's RAM switched with one of the other machines.
    0
  • cknobman
    I honestly dont really see any value or reason to get this machine. Waaaaay to pricey considering the hardware you get. Now if this thing had a 7970m or 680m then we could start talking.
    4
  • universal remonster
    In May I bought an Asus G75 with identical hardware specs with the exception that mine is a 17", and it had a 1TB hdd, for $1249.00. I added a Intel 520 128GB SSD as well for $180.00 and am using the 1TB drive as storage. Point being, I paid $1420 for the same laptop with a bigger screen and tons more storage. I dont understand where Eurocom is justifying this $2100.00 price tag.
    6
  • A Bad Day
    Quote:
    There's good news, though. Powerful hardware continues getting more efficient.


    A few more years, once developers start porting games from the PS4 or 720, there will be a demand for more hardware.

    Hopefully.
    0
  • B3RL1N
    Correction?

    The 660M in this review model is MXM, right? (As noted on page 4 where a 660M MXM card was provided for testing purposes)

    Last I checked, the nVidia GeForce 660M MXM variant doesn't come with 2GB of VRAM, only 1GB.
    Even Eurocom's site lists 1GB of VRAM, as does any Sager/Clevo MXM 600M models. Correct me if I'm wrong, because if Eurocom has a 2GB MXM GPU, color me interested.
    0
  • RedJaron
    "Desktop replacement" and "mobile workstation" laptops are like a Porsche Cayenne and Lexus LX. They'll never actually go off-roading.
    1
  • Crashman
    B3RL1NCorrection?The 660M in this review model is...only 1GB.
    Thanks.
    0