Eurocom Racer: Radeon HD 6990M In A Truly Mobile Form Factor

Sporting awesome gaming performance and low power draw, the only thing missing from our previous Radeon HD 6990M benchmarks was an efficient, portable package. Eurocom addresses that with its mid-sized Racer. But can the smaller notebook keep pace?

We grow weary of choosing between super-heavy performance notebooks and wimpy business-oriented laptops. AMD recently pushed out its Radeon HD 6990M, which drops the Mobility designator in an unfortunate move that makes it more likely to confuse customers who can't imagine there could be much difference between a desktop Radeon HD 6990 and a mobile Radeon HD 6990M.

Despite the horrible naming that both AMD and Nvidia continue employing, the 6990M really did impress us in GeForce GTX 580M SLI Vs. Radeon HD 6990M CrossFire by demonstrating remarkable performance and efficiency.

A flurry of testing on our end revealed that the second module wasn’t even really needed in most 1080p gaming scenarios. And the low power consumption of a single 6990M module lead us to guess that it'd be a truly potent solution in a more portable package. Eurocom listened and sent us an example of the form factor we really wanted to see.

The strikingly familiar Eurocom Racer was delivered to our lab in an effort to prove the worth of AMD's Radeon HD 6990M in the $2000 portable gaming market, complete with Intel’s super-fast Core i7-2620M processor. Truly, it'd see more action in that space compared to the workstation segment, where mobile modules in CrossFire and desktop-class CPUs push price tags in excess of five and six thousand dollars.

Instead of the configuration we requested, however, Eurocom decided to instead outfit our sample with a quad-core Core i7-2960XM, which pushed the price up by $731. We're sure a handful of games will benefit from the quicker CPU, but that steep upgrade price certainly narrows the potential audience. If you're in the market for a mobile system for around two grand, we still think that scaling back to the CPU we originally planned to test is a smart idea.

Eurocom Racer Component List
PlatformIntel FCPGA988, HM65 Express, MXM-3 Discrete Graphics
CPUIntel Core i7-2960XM (Sandy Bridge), Four-Core (Eight-Thread), 2.7-3.7 GHz, 5 GT/s DMI, 8 MB Shared L3 Cache, 32 nm, 55 W
RAMSamsung 8 GB (2x 4GB) DDR3-1600 SO-DIMM, CL11, 1.5 V, Non-ECC
GraphicsAMD Radeon HD 6990M (715 MHz), 2 GB GDDR5-3600
Display15.6" Non-Glare LED Backlit TFT, 1920x1080
Webcam2.0 Megapixel
AudioIntegrated HD Audio
SecurityBuilt-in Fingerprint Reader
Hard DriveIntel SSD 510 120 GB, SATA 6Gb/s
Optical DriveTSST TS-L633F 8x DVD Burner
Media Drive9-in-1 Flash Media Interface
Wireless LANBigfoot Killer Wireless-N 1103 Three-Channel MIMO 450 Mb/s
Wireless PANRemoved with Wi-Fi upgrade
Gigabit NetworkJMicron PCIe 10/100/1000 Mb/s Ethernet
IEEE-1394JMicron JMB380 PCIe
TelephonyNot Available
Peripheral Interfaces
USB2 x USB 2.0, 2 x USB 3.0
Expansion CardNot Available
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 Adapter150 W Power Brick, 100-240 V AC to 20 V DC
Battery14.8 V, 5200 mAh (76.96 Wh) Single
WeightNotebook 6.8 pounds, AC Adapter 2.4 pounds, Total 9.2 pounds
Operating SystemMicrosoft Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit Edition, OEM
WarrantyOne-year parts and labor

While we're on the subject of portability, because a single Radeon HD 6990M has only modest cooling requirements, Eurocom is able to build the Racer into an easily-transportable 6.8-pound unit. Unfortunately, you'll still need to haul around a 2.4-pound power brick to keep the battery charged, especially if you plan to game on the go. While the complete 9.2-pound unit isn't excessively heavy, we'd certainly consider carrying it around part of an exercise routine.

Upgrading to a Killer Wireless-N 1103 Wi-Fi module ($27 more than the Intel 6230 Wi-Fi/Bluetooth combo card) and DDR3-1600 memory ($37 more than equal-capacity DDR3-1333) would have kept our configuration under that magic $2000 price point, if not for the budget-busting CPU. Two- and three-year warranty extensions could prove even more valuable at $150 and $268, respectively.

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  • sodaant
    Whats with all the noise in the pictures?
  • Crashman
    sodaantWhats with all the noise in the pictures?
    Sorry, the equipment probably isn't suited to shooting textured black objects.
  • nevertell
    It could've easily done away with a "slower" 45w i7 quad or even a 25w i7 dualcore CPU. This would help with the mobility bit of the laptop, making it last quite a bit longer. And a 9 cell battery wouldn't hurt either.
  • theuniquegamer
    It is a semi desktop by its weight i.e 10 pounds. And performs as a desktop(with 23' ips display and ups) price less than it. In the world of growing market for tabs and ultrabooks the price of mobile cpu and gpu should be lowered in order to make these premium gaming laptops popular.
  • Maziar
    Great review!
    It's good to see the battery life has increased notably compared to 990x.
    Overall,it's a decent desktop replacement laptop.
  • demonhorde665
    i sort of want one , , whats not to like about a laptop that would crunch circles around my current desktop (amd athy 64 X2 5000+ black ed Oc'ed to 3ghz, 3 gigs ddr 2 pc 800 ram , and a radeon 5770)

    sure my computer still runs most current game great at my monitors max res (1600x900) but damn , i'd take one of these laptops any day for that performance booste .. here's to dreaming of winning the builder's marathon though !
  • cknobman
    It would have been nice to at least see a little of the review cover things like: screen, keyboard, build quality, etc........

    But good review on the graphics chip :)
  • nforce4max
    Take a good look at the fans, notice some dust on them. Someone has been putting this laptop to use ;)
  • amstech
    The laptop maxes out at only 1920 X 1080?
    The single GPU 6990M is overkill for that resolution and $2000 is a joke but hey atleast you can max everything.
    Idiots out there will buy this.
  • scook9
    amstechThe laptop maxes out at only 1920 X 1080?The single GPU 6990M is overkill for that resolution and $2000 is a joke but hey atleast you can max everything.Idiots out there will buy this.

    That is the native res on the laptop. Which is the res most would game at on a laptop.....

    And as for the price, find me a better performing laptop that is cheaper please.

    Troll somewhere else
  • amstech
    Thats a terrible price when a GTX 560M can handle just about everything at 1080P maxed.
    1920 X 1080 isn't that hard to run, a lowly 5870M handles it well.

    Whine somewhere else.
  • AMD_pitbull
    amstechThats a terrible price when a GTX 560M can handle just about everything at 1080P maxed.1920 X 1080 isn't that hard to run, a lowly 5870M handles it well.Whine somewhere else.

    Actually, whining is what you're doing troll :) "that is a terrible..." shows complaint through personal preference. Just thought you should make sure to verify what you're typing up before you type it and look like a fool...again.

    Anyways, enough with the troll. Overall, the price level of this laptop seems excessive when you compare it to laptops such as G74 series and other more modest gaming laptops. But, there will always be a price premium for performance gains. As they always point out in these types of articles, it's a very niche market. In conclusion, nice review, great performance, and look forward to where our laptops will be 5 years from now :) Technology is fun.
  • amstech
    Yeah its a ripoff for $2000.
    Don't like my complaint/opinion?

    And price premium for performance gains?
    Your limited to 1080P what more performance do you need?

    It's a niche product, and just like Alienware's topshelf stuff and Razer's new laptop, its overpriced and it won't sell.

    Anytime now someone reads something they don't like they toss out the troll word.
    Obvious and lame.
  • julius 85
    amstechThe laptop maxes out at only 1920 X 1080?The single GPU 6990M is overkill for that resolution and $2000 is a joke but hey atleast you can max everything.Idiots out there will buy this.

    And 6990M is like desktop 6870 in case you don't know.
  • amstech
    Yeah thats common knowledge for mobile GPU's.

    Take the 5870M.
    Has 5770 specs...which is still enough to play all games at 1080P and most of them maxed or close to it.
  • clonazepam
    Do an article about modding the laptop batteries. Take them apart. Replace the internal components of the batteries with something higher end found on the net or wherever if possible, wire it up, test and do a full blown how-to type article. Tom's intentially set an AMD processor on fire in the past, so maybe you could do a "what not to do" section of the article and set one on fire! :)

    Could also be spinned on how to cheaply give new life to an aging laptop battery versus buying a new battery and price comparison of the parts vs new battery. :)
  • Crashman
    __-_-_-__nothing new to see here. This model lacks a very important feature of a switchable gpu that could make the intel igp working tripling the battery life.
    But it does minimize the number of variables when comparing the previously-reviewed 990X-based "notebook", which was the primary point of using it.

    Tom's Hardware reviews notebooks on a voluntary basis, so if you'd like to see a company's newer product compared you should ask them to pony up.
  • Anonymous
    Where is the Crysis benchmark Tom's ?
  • Crashman
    clonazepamTom's intentially set an AMD processor on fire in the past
    Ah yes the conspiracy theories. I'm sure you're referring to the article where the site pulled the cooler off AMD and Intel processors to test thermal overload protection and the AMD processor UNEXPECTEDLY burned up. Because AMD said the system would shut down and that's what's EXPECTED. Intel's advantage was not supposed to be "doesn't burn", it's advantage was supposed to be "slows down rather than shutting off".

    But go ahead, keep the conspiracy theories alive. Make sure the next time 1 out of 3 systems has an Nvidia graphics card you call Tom's Hardware out on being Nvidia-biased as well.
  • clonazepam
    Yes, I read the article the day it was posted... I've never said Tom's was biased one way or another in any category. Anyway, saying it was intentionally set on fire is a lot more exciting than breaking it down as you have. Also, I read it ten years ago, so I took some liberties. I think it only smoked / charred anyway. It was a cool article, maybe people will look it up and check it out now :P

    I really wish you had picked apart the meat of the comment as far as battery modication vs replacement. :)