AMD's Mobility Radeon HD 6970 In CrossFire On Eurocom's Panther

AMD’s Mobility Radeon HD 6970 in CrossFire mode forges ahead in mobile gaming with stunning “Full HD” 3D performance. But can it stand up to Nvidia’s high-end GeForce GTX 470M and 480M in SLI? Eurocom's 17.3” Panther 2.0 gives us its answer.

Nvidia stands nearly uncontested as the single-GPU performance leader in desktop gaming by virtue of its larger, more complex graphics processors. Currently, AMD's best effort is second-best. It takes a dual-GPU Radeon HD 5970 to outmaneuver the GeForce GTX 580. But excessive power consumption and heat force Nvidia's high-end notebook modules to resemble low-cost desktop derivatives. Corporations have no shame, so rather than elaborate on the fact that SLI-capable enclosures like Clevo's X8100 required the cooling hardware previously used to dissipate heat from two cards to support a single GeForce GTX 480M, the firm went on to release a greatly improved GTX 470M.

AMD, on the other hand, has continuously focused on the higher-volume mid-range market for desktop gaming, attempting to scale upwards by linking multiple GPUs together in parallel. While that strategy has prevented it from taking ownership of the elite quad-GPU desktop market, lower prices and fewer thermal challenges have made AMD's graphics processors a big splash in the portable performance pool. AMD aficionados made hay while the sun shined last spring as manufacturers tried unsuccessfully to stuff two extra-hot competing parts into less-than-adequate chassis.

A new chassis gave Nvidia-based builders a chance to finally test the limits of mobile SLI, forcing AMD to dig deeply into its bag of tricks recently filled by the Radeon HD 6850. Eurocom prepared a custom system with a pair of its new Radeon HD 6970M modules in CrossFire, going so far as to send along a pair of GeForce GTX 470M modules for an apropos SLI comparison. 

Eurocom Panther 2 Component List
PlatformIntel LGA 1366, X58 Express / ICH10R, MXM-III Discrete Graphics
CPUIntel Core i7-980X Hexa-Core 3.33-3.60 GHz, 6.4 GT/s QPI, 12 MB L3 Cache, 32 nm, 130 W
RAMMicron 12 GB (3 x 4 GB) DDR3-1333 SO-DIMM, CL9, 1.5 V, Non-ECC
GraphicsDual AMD Mobility Radeon HD 6970, 2 GB GDDR5, CrossFire
Display17.3" Glossy LED Backlit TFT, 1920x1080
Webcam3.0 Megapixel
AudioIntegrated HD Audio
SecurityBuilt-in Fingerprint Reader
Storage
Hard DriveSeagate Momentus XT ST95005620AS Hybrid, 500 GB + 4 GB Flash
Optical DriveH-L Data CT21N 6x Blu-ray Reader / 8x DVD Writer Combo Drive
Media Drive9-in-1 Flash Media Interface
Networking
Wireless LANIntel Ultimate-N 6300, IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n, 11/54/450 Mb/s
Wireless PANBluetooth Optional (not installed)
Gigabit NetworkJMicron PCIe 10/100/1000 Mb/s Ethernet
IEEE-1394Optional (not installed)
TelephonyNot Available
Peripheral Interfaces
USB3 x USB 2.0, 2 x USB 3.0
Expansion CardInternal Only (Mini PCIe x1)
HDD1 x eSATA 3Gb/s
AudioHeadphone, Microphone, Line-In, Digital Out Jacks
Video1 x Dual-Link DVI-I w/VGA Adapter, 1 x HDMI
Power & Weight
AC Adapter300 W Power Brick, 100-240 V AC to 15 V DC
Battery14.8 V 5300 mAh (78.44 Wh) Single
WeightNotebook 13.4 lbs, AC Adapter 3.6 lbs, Total 17.0 pounds
Software
Operating SystemMicrosoft Windows 7 Professional 64-bit Edition, OEM
Service
WarrantyOne year parts and labor
Price$5292


Eurocom also offers a few extras to put this model over-the-top, such as a $78 Bluetooth internal module, a $113 world-wide TV tuner, and a $259 warranty upgrade to three years. Anyone who wants to throw even more money into creating the ultimate desktop replacement can even RAID a pair of SSD drives and swap out the Blu-ray combo drive for a Blu-ray writer.

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42 comments
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  • 5292$... Are you kidding me!!
    7
  • Yikes!
    3
  • dogman_1234Yikes!
    What, you don't have a $180,000 car sitting in front of your $5m mansion?
    4
  • This is even more absurd than the other recent power gaming notebook that was tested. You could save almost $500 by using Sandy Bridge instead of the old i7s, for the same performance. Even Falcon Mach V's usually don't get this expensive. This is absolutely ridiculous
    2
  • fstrthnuThis is even more absurd than the other recent power gaming notebook that was tested. You could save almost $500 by using Sandy Bridge instead of the old i7s, for the same performance. Even Falcon Mach V's usually don't get this expensive. This is absolutely ridiculous
    No you couldn't. Because as of CES when these cards launched, nobody produced a dual-graphics module chassis for the Sandy Bridge.
    1
  • There are the battery life graphs that I love! Thanks for adding those to the laptop review! My first laptop was a P4 Northwood that barely got 90 minutes of battery life. This one is insane!
    2
  • Insane and impossible to get and pay in Mëxico :( ....
    -1
  • First of all,great review ! I was desperately waiting for 6970M review from Tom's.
    The overall performance is quite good especially in single mode which it's faster than both GTX 470M/480M.I think if AMD pays more attention to mobile drivers, then 2 of this cards should perform better.
    About the price,well not everyone configures the laptop with i7 980x.Websites usually test the high-end specs in order to reduce the bottleneck and let the laptop run at its full potential.
    I've read that Sager will soon release a model with mobile Sandy bridge CPUs along with 1 6970M and it won't be very expensive I think.
    0
  • CrashmanWhat, you don't have a $180,000 car sitting in front of your $5m mansion?


    Duh of course, we all do but i mean 32 bedrooms IS kinda small. On a serious note, wtf 5k seriously? I could build a desktop and hook it up to a small generator for 1.5k and get at least 4 hours of power than pay 5k for 20min Fuk that $hit.
    3
  • Who is buying this? I bet it weights 50 lbs. Nice battery life of 22 minutes.
    1
  • You know what really gets to me.. AMD really markets the whole 1.3 teraflops, and 2.7 teraflops.. but at the end of the day, nvidia, with a lot less flop, overpowers AMD's cards... so where does all of tha processing power go in AMD's cards?
    -4
  • Looks like AMD hit the sweet spot in their mobile graphics division...FINALLY. I'd like to know what the price difference is between the 6970m and the 460m. It probably won't change the 460m pricing, but I'm willing to bet Nvidia snapped their fingers and said, "Damn, we can't milk our mobile cards for 4 times what they're worth anymore."
    Seriously, how could they charge 800 dollars or some such crap for half the power of their 600 dollar cards?
    2
  • Who the Fu** would pay for this :/
    3
  • This... is sad. I don't know why anyone would want this, especially for that price.
    2
  • stingstangLooks like AMD hit the sweet spot in their mobile graphics division...FINALLY. I'd like to know what the price difference is between the 6970m and the 460m. It probably won't change the 460m pricing, but I'm willing to bet Nvidia snapped their fingers and said, "Damn, we can't milk our mobile cards for 4 times what they're worth anymore."Seriously, how could they charge 800 dollars or some such crap for half the power of their 600 dollar cards?


    it does sound like they are screwing you, at first. but you have to think about it. with a full size card, they have how much space and cooling to work with? and how much space do they have with a notebook? pluss less people buy a notbook that high powered, so they have to recupe the costs of production somehow.
    -1
  • The cost is way out of my price range.
    1
  • "These desktop replacement notebooks are designed to run primarily from a wall outlet anyway"

    So all of your that cry about the battery life, the price, the weight.... its an elite desktop replacement. It was never meant to be power efficient, lightweight nor cheap. You don't buy this kinda stuff cause u need it - you buy it cause u don't.
    1
  • Should be compared to GTX 485M. Remember 485M is around 40% faster than a 480M according to notebookcheck.
    -1
  • $5G for a high end gaming laptop is what you would expect to pay.

    A bit of a written rule over the years for me is that you can build the best PC for $5000 (with all of the performance bits but ditch the teenage blinged up case) ... it still applies.

    Crunch the numbers for yourself and include CF or SLI and you will see it works.

    $5G in a laptop fors out the best "mobile" money can buy ... will this is about right ... unless you want a bigger SSD I guess.

    Nice article crash.
    1
  • Just need a portable generator to go with it (at that price they could throw one in for free)
    On a more serious note just get a desktop!
    0