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Eurocom D90X

Five Multimedia Notebooks, Tested
By

If we had a "Big Kahuna" award to dispense for this round-up, the Eurocom D90X Phantom would be a shoo-in. Featuring an Intel Core 2 Q9450 quad-core processor, 8 GB of DDR2-667 RAM (with a 64-bit version of Vista Ultimate that really caused us some heartburn until we figured out how to construct a clean system build with all the right hardware drivers) and a RAID 0 pair of 7200 rpm 200 GB Seagate hard disks, this notebook was literally in a class by itself. Of course, at a price of over $5,965 as configured (you can only order these notebooks direct from Eurocom), you’d have to expect a lot of capability for such a big, big price.

On the keyboard deck, the order is: left channel speaker, four audio jacks (line-in, S/PDIF, microphone-in and headphone-out) then the right-channel speakers.

The D90X also qualifies as big for several other reasons: weight, performance and expandability. Eurocom reports an official weight of 11.9 lbs for the unit, but as ours came configured it weighed 13.0 lbs. Add another 2.2 lb. for the AC adapter and power cord and you’ve got a hefty chunk of technology to lug around. Of course, this is also the only notebook in this round-up that includes a quad-core (desktop) CPU and also dual-SLI graphics cards, so it pulls way ahead in our test results (except, of course, in battery life). With room for up to four hard disks, dual graphics cards and all kinds of other internal interfaces, this unit also accommodates more add-ins than most notebooks as well. Surprisingly, its dimensions are not the biggest, either — that honor goes to the HP HDX 9203KW, which appears next in this round-up.

The D90X also included a built-in Bluetooth receiver, a modem and GbE RJ-45, plus 802.11a/b/g/n wireless networking capabilities. Its DVI video output with HDCP support delivered high-definition output, but we were a little surprised that Eurocom omitted an HDMI output given the convenience of transporting audio and video over the same link. The built-in TV tuner included over the air HDTV support along with QAM for unencrypted HD channels on CATV (there aren’t many, but there are some, and this device handled them nicely).

Left side, from left to right: VGA port, S-Video out, CATV jack, RJ-11 modem jack, RJ-45 GbE port, ExpressCard slot, (beneath) optical drive tray and 7-in-1 memory card reader (MMX, SD, MS, MS Pro, MS Duo, Mini SD and RS MMC).

Ports and connectors galore also adorn all four edges of the D90X, as the following photographs will attest.

Eurocom recommends you leave these air intakes unobstructed or face overheating problems. As we ran this unit, it got noticeably warm underneath (we measured surface temps of 104 °F / 40 °C on the bottom surface using an infrared heat sensor), especially under heavy load. Yet another reason why this unit is by no means a true laptop!

Rear view, from left to right: Vent/fan intake, DC-in jack, DVI port, more vents and S-Video input jack.

Other notable things about the D90X reflect its desktop heritage: top FSB speeds of 1,066 MHz and 1,333 MHz, plus honest-to-gosh Intel 965 and ICH8R chipsets. The two 8800 GTS graphics cards together provide 1 GB of DDR3 graphics RAM and thereby limit 32-bit Vista to 3 GB of working memory space, which neatly explains why Eurocom stuffed our unit with 8 GB and installed a 64-bit version of Windows Vista Ultimate on this machine. Although Eurocom provides room for up to 3 320 GB drives in the D90X, ours included two 200 GB 7200 RPM drives in a RAID 0 configuration.

If you can get past the price on this unit, it makes a great desktop replacement computer and a completely capable multimedia notebook, except for the lack of an HDMI output.

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  • 1 Hide
    urimiel , November 15, 2008 7:36 AM
    I am really sorry to be the one that points this out. I am Tomshardware reader for quite many years now. This is the first time I have seen an article or any kind of presentation like that. You guys are posting bar graphs and change the legend of each color bar for every different graph... this does not make sense.
  • 0 Hide
    fudgeboy , November 15, 2008 9:59 AM
    Quote:
    You guys are posting bar graphs and change the legend of each color bar for every different graph
    wow, and thats like the basic fundamentals of presentation. the writers on this site really need to go back to high school. they should have a standard layout over the whole thing (like you would if you were doing an experiment)
  • 0 Hide
    Master Exon , November 15, 2008 11:02 AM
    Basically purple is always at the top, regardless of who purple represents. Kinda dumb, but they really should have had the manufacturer's name on the bar itself.

    Hey, when will TH compare $300-$450 netbooks? You already did the $2000 ones.
  • 0 Hide
    cangelini , November 15, 2008 5:34 PM
    urimielI am really sorry to be the one that points this out. I am Tomshardware reader for quite many years now. This is the first time I have seen an article or any kind of presentation like that. You guys are posting bar graphs and change the legend of each color bar for every different graph... this does not make sense.


    Heya guys--sorry about that. I should have caught this in editing. The charts are now correct with each notebook appearing in the same place with the same corresponding legend data.
  • 1 Hide
    FrozenGpu , November 16, 2008 3:52 PM
    Master ExonBasically purple is always at the top, regardless of who purple represents. Kinda dumb, but they really should have had the manufacturer's name on the bar itself.Hey, when will TH compare $300-$450 netbooks? You already did the $2000 ones.


    Pretty pretty please with a cherry on top?
  • 0 Hide
    TheGreatGrapeApe , November 17, 2008 7:33 AM
    To me the $300-450 laptops aren't worth an in depth review, just a quicky 2 pager (is it capable as a netbook yes/no) that's a disposable laptop you buy a kids or as a couch laptop or travel one.

    I want to know what my $2K+ buys me, the $300 laptop is the price of one of the options on these things. That's the bigger risk. What's anyone really expecting in a $300-400 laptop, certainly not heaving gsaming, video editing or programming.

    It may seem elitist, but with the limited amount of info out there on laptops period, netbooks shouldn't consume much of the reviews time, nor space, I'd rather see more $1,000 and $2,000 and then $3,000+ reviews those 3 categories have more variability and value than the cheapest ones. Who can't figure out if a $400 laptop is worth it from a visit to the best buy or whatever?

    Personally I want to see an IBM W700 review, tell me if it's worth the $3,000+ (is the built in Wacom pad good enough, the keyboard stiff enough, is it worth it to get turbo memory now that it's faster & bigger or just go SSD and be done with it, etc), not something to tell me which of the cheap laptops is slower than my previous laptops that you could buy at a discount store for as much and which might be just a tiny bit faster but still just suited for M$ office and websurfing and light photoshoping.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , November 17, 2008 2:32 PM
    Is the image for this on the Toms Hardware site supposed to say "Multiedia" on the laptop screen or is that a typo?
  • 0 Hide
    johntmosher , November 17, 2008 10:19 PM
    I have been wanting to find a 20 inch laptop so I was excited to see the HDX review.....But still can't find it for sale online at HP.COM
    Got a sales link?
  • 0 Hide
    maric423 , November 18, 2008 4:41 PM
    johntmosherI have been wanting to find a 20 inch laptop so I was excited to see the HDX review.....But still can't find it for sale online at HP.COMGot a sales link?


    According to the HP Sales guys, its out of production (I got interested and looked for it too). The replacement machine is supposedly the HP HDX 18t, which is only an 18.4", and doesn't have the same hinge structure. Not really a comparable machine. You can still find a few HP Pavilion HDX 20" from third parties if you search around, but I wasn't thrilled about the idea of buying a system they'd already stopped making.
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , November 21, 2008 8:00 AM
    Can you please test one more little thing? Linux compatibility.

    Its easy, just toss in an ubuntu live CD, and tell us if things like sound, webcam, wifi etc work out of the box. If they don't, don't bother much trying to get it to work. But Acer for instance is notorious for having buggy ACPI implementation in the bios that detects the OS and only work with Vista. With Linux (possibly even XP) standby will be highly unreliable. Dell and IBM do a much better job at it, and that deserves to be known.

    Doing such tests should be very straightforward and accomplish two things:
    1) inform us linux users (we buy notebooks too you know :)  )
    2) put some pressure on oem's to test their BIOS and hardware with linux

    Id appreciate it. No one does this, please be the first :) 
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , December 15, 2008 1:21 PM
    Bought the 8920G recently, the ATI version, first power on - entered BIOS and set it to boot from CD, started F10 Live.

    Did not do too extensive tests, but webcam, wifi, bluetooth, wired ethernet worked out of the box. Sound did not work, the card seems to be recognized but I never got a sound out of it.

    BEWARE: I started Vista only once till the Acer Arcade initial Setup screen, I did not proceed any further (I do not accept the M$ EULA), however after that I was not able to access the BIOS anymore! The "Press F2 to enter setup" message disappeared. Reflashing did not help, only made things worse because I lost the CMOS setting and could not boot from CD anymore (and at that time the hard drive was already formatted to get rid of Vista).