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Eurocom’s Core i7 Notebook: Walking The Panther

Practical Notes On Using Secondary Displays

Eurocom’s D900F Panther and MSI’s GT725 differ in external monitor support, with Eurocom providing DVI and MSI providing an outdated VGA connector. Both notebooks do, however, support HDMI.

Targeting both power-users and gamers, Eurocom’s mobile workstation needs to support an additional desktop display, if only to lure business customers who require additional workspace. Rated at a maximum 2560x1600 graphics resolution, its GTX 280M graphics module is designated to support the 30” displays appropriate for a computer of this performance class.

Unfortunately, this is where the MSI GT725’s VGA output wins, but only for now. It seems that dual-link capability was broken in the D900F Panther at the time of our test, limiting its DVI output to 1280x800 on our 30” Dell monitor. The blame game went in circles: Eurocom originally thought it was a firmware issue, while Nvidia blamed a manufacturing issue on Clevo's end.

The two “links” of the GTX 280M’s secondary display output are split between single-link DVI and HDMI connections, and enabling dual-link requires disabling HDMI. As reported by both Nvidia and Eurocom, the graphics module isn’t automatically switching between HDMI and dual-link DVI mode. There hasn’t been any agreement over whether the problem is hardware or firmware.

The notebook that’s least-likely to be used with a secondary display, MSI’s GT725 is the one that currently supports the highest resolution for external monitors. We found no problems whatsoever when testing it at 1920x1200, which is the highest resolution any of our analog-capable displays supports.

Both notebooks are also rated at 1920x1080 HDMI output, and neither notebook produces adequate HDMI quality when connected to an HDMI-enabled Westinghouse L2410NM 1920x1200 desktop display. Both produced ghosting around text that could not be eliminated even at lower display resolutions. That leaves MSI’s legacy VGA output as the only acceptable solution for connecting a high-resolution external computer monitor.

Eurocom promises resolution to this issue. Buyers who need the dual-link feature should contact Eurocom concerning this capability prior to placing their order.

  • lemonade4
    I really don't understand the point of this review. The two products in here are so different from each other.
    Reply
  • Crashman
    lemonade4I really don't understand the point of this review. The two products in here are so different from each other.
    Second fastest mobile processor vs second-fastest desktop processor, it shows the weakness of mobile CPUs AND the weakness of the latest notebook GPU's.

    It had to be compared to something...and it's the only notebook platform available with Core i7 so you can forget about that type of comparison.

    The real point of picking the MSI notebook was to compare the HD 4850 to the GTX 280m. None of Tom's Hardware's suppliers were able to deliver an HD 4870 notebook.
    Reply
  • the brick: 20 volt x 11 ampere is merely 220 watt?

    I'm not that familiar with those kinds of power supply, but isn't that way to low for these kinds of hardware setups?
    Reply
  • Crashman
    bodyglovethe brick: 20 volt x 11 ampere is merely 220 watt?I'm not that familiar with those kinds of power supply, but isn't that way to low for these kinds of hardware setups?
    Did you look at the power draw numbers on Page 12?
    Reply
  • falchard
    I think the point of the review is to show how much the Eurocon $5000 model is a waste of money. The MSI model should have been so outclassed in every aspect, yet it managed to be competitive at lower power envelops.
    Just look at the game selection, 2 games based on the same engine that heavily favor nVidia Architecture and 1 that is more processor bound.
    Reply
  • mike989
    I think the main problem with this review is, that people forget that Laptop's are designed to be portable, you obviously loose some performance. It’s a compromise between battery life and performance.
    Reply
  • scook9
    These 2 laptop articles today have only made me more and more happy with my Flextronics/Arima W840DI (thats an Alienware M17 for the less informed - I got it barebones though). Coming in at around $2500 now, I have 3870x2, a QX9300 (ES but still latest revision - TY ebay), 4GB DDR3 and 2 320GB 7200RPM hdd's. My system is slightly more capable than the eurocom above for gaming but of course is crushed in the CPU oriented benchmarks (not that mine does badly). Given that I am paying half as much for a smaller and lighter notebook, OK by me.
    Reply
  • sublifer
    Some of the productivity benchmarks are also likely helped by the DF900's RAIDed hdd set up vs the single hdd. Not sure if you forgot about that but I thought it would help to remind people.
    Reply
  • scook9
    well the m17 (w840di) can do raid as well, albeit, only across 2 drives.
    Reply
  • xi1inx
    Eurocom is reputed to lunch big desktop replacement at high cost. The only thing I suppose to be the point on this review, is the hype of the first Core i7 desktop replacement. The worst is the cost of this computer with another g92 derivate whith slighty poor performance. However, you can have 5k$ stover under your hands!
    Reply