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Eurocom’s Clarksfield Cougar

Mobile Core i7-920XM: Power Is The Price For Better Performance

Intel seems to be deliberately keeping its Clarksfield debut low-key. It knows that this is the appetizer of Nehalem in a mobile environment, but it’s certainly not the entrée. For that, we’ll have to wait for Arrandale. Nevertheless, Clarksfield does represent today’s solution for the desktop replacement market, and it won’t be challenged by Arrandale’s more mainstream design cues.

Thus, if it’s mobile performance you need, Eurocom’s W860CU represents the top of the food chain for true mobile DTR performance in a 15” chassis.

The sample shipped to us sports Intel’s Core i7-920XM processor, 2GB of DDR3-1333 memory, a 500GB Seagate hard drive, Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 260M graphics module, and a Realtek-based 802.11 b/g/n wireless controller (no Centrino on this one).

No Centrino: Realtek delivers the 802.11b/g/n hereNo Centrino: Realtek delivers the 802.11b/g/n here

Perhaps most telling is that the Cougar weighs in at just over six pounds. In contrast, the Panther we reviewed back in July was almost twice as heavy at 11.8 pounds, and even MSI’s own “mainstream” GT725 weighed in at 7.8 pounds. As with most of Eurocom’s desktop replacement technology, the W860CU centers on a Clevo shell—the similarly-named W860CU in this case. It’s a fairly unassuming black-on-black design with plenty of modern connectivity.

Up front you’ll find indicators for the battery and AC power.

Nvidia's GeForce GTX 260MNvidia's GeForce GTX 260M

To the right, there’s an array of audio jacks, a single USB 2.0 port, an ExpressCard/54 slot (also compatible with ExpressCard/34), and a DVI monitor output. Bear in mind that the hinge on the notebook’s right-hand side is also a power button. This one stumped me for a few minutes, until I had pressed on just about every other surface.

Over on the left you get a DVD recorder, a 7-in-1 card reader, a mini FireWire jack, another USB 2.0 port, and a phone jack.

Flip the Cougar around and you’ll find vents for CPU/GPU cooling, a Gigabit Ethernet jack, an additional two USB 2.0 ports, an AC power connector, and HDMI output. Of course, you’ll want to read Thomas experience with Nvidia’s mobile graphics modules before trying to pair this desktop replacement up to a 30” display.

For the sake of comparison, Eurocom was also accommodating enough to send its M860TU Montebello, which sports the same graphics module, the same hard drive, 2GB of DDR3 memory, and Intel's previous flagship, the Core 2 Extreme QX9300. This is about as even a comparison as you can make.

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