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Eurocom Racer 2.0 Review: Intel's Ivy Bridge Meets Nvidia's Kepler

Could This Be Mobile Gaming…Unleashed?

It's pretty common for us to hear hardware manufacturers throw the word "gaming" in the description for their products. "Unleashed" is less telling, but also relatively popular. Usually, though, those terms are tacked onto desktop-oriented components.

Unfortunately, when you try to stick too many high-octane parts into a mobile machine, you end up spending more time tethered to a wall. And it's hard to use a word like unleashed when there's literally a leash keeping you from moving around freely. 

Portable gaming machines generally fall into two categories: those that work well on the road but constrain gaming to unacceptably low levels, and those that serve up playable frame rates without any realistic expectation of mobility. In the past, we've had a hard time getting excited about either of those two extremes.

There's good news, though. Powerful hardware continues getting more efficient. That means higher performance and less power consumption. And so we're presented with Eurocom’s Racer 2.0 platform.

A starting price of only $1500 gets you an Ivy Bridge-based processor and a Kepler-based GPU. Eurocom added a few extras to our review unit to make it a true performance-oriented powerhouse priced just north of two grand.

Eurocom Racer 2.0 Component List
PlatformIntel rPGA988, HM77 Express, MXM-3 Discrete Graphics
CPUIntel Core i7-3820QM (Ivy Bridge), Four Cores, Eight Threads, 2.7-3.7 GHz, 5 GT/s DMI, 8 MB Shared L3 Cache, 22 nm, 45 W
RAMSamsung 8 GB (2 x 4 GB) DDR3-1600 SO-DIMM, CL11, 1.35 V, Non-ECC
GraphicsNvidia GeForce GTX 660M: 835 MHz, 1 GB GDDR5-4000
Display15.6" Non-Glare LED Backlit TFT, 1920x1080
Webcam2.0 Megapixel
AudioIntegrated HD Audio
SecurityBuilt-in Fingerprint Reader
Storage
Hard DriveIntel SSD 520 120 GB, SATA 6Gb/s
Optical DriveTSST TS-L633F 8x DVD Burner
Media Drive9-in-1 Flash Media Interface
Networking
Wireless LANRealtek RTL8188CE 802.11n Combo PCIe NIC, 150 Mb/s
Wireless PANIntegrated Bluetooth Device
Gigabit NetworkRealtek RTL8411 PCIe 10/100/1000 Mb/s Ethernet
IEEE-1394Integrated IEEE-1394 Controller
TelephonyNot Available
Peripheral Interfaces
USB1 x USB 2.0, 3 x USB 3.0
Expansion CardNot Available
HDD1 x eSATA 3Gb/s
AudioHeadphone, Microphone, Line-In, Digital Out Jacks
Video1 x Single-Link DVI-I, 1 x HDMI, 1 x DisplayPort
Power & Weight
AC Adapter180 W Power Brick, 100-240 V AC to 19 V DC
Battery14.8 V, 5200 mAh (76.96 Wh) Single
WeightNotebook: 7.1 Pounds, AC Adapter: 1.8 Pounds, Total: 8.9 Pounds
Software
Operating SystemMicrosoft Windows 7 Professional 64-bit Edition, OEM
Service
WarrantyOne-year, Parts and Labor
Price$2146

Alright, so, the final price of our Racer 2.0-based system is actually more than $2100. But that includes a superfluous 4 GB memory module that adds $110 to the price. We wouldn't recommend that configuration to most buyers. Intel's Ivy Bridge platform only requires two modules to satisfy the dual-channel memory controller. Eight gigabytes is more than enough for most desktops, and it's even harder to justify extra memory with a notebook's lighter application load.

Putting that $110 expense aside, Eurocom’s Racer 2.0 delivers on portability in heft, too. We're tired of seeing companies advertise the purportedly low weight of their portable workstations by conveniently neglecting to add in the power bricks. Eurocom gives us a combined weight just under nine pounds for its Racer, and that pleases us. We can carry nine pounds even while running between gates at the airport.

  • amuffin
    $2146

    WHAT!

    You could get a laptop with a 680M for that price! :ouch:
    Reply
  • azathoth
    I would have loved to see some Temperature readings on the GPU/CPU during usage. A lot of gaming laptops even whilst brand new can generate enough heat to be uncomfortably hot in some areas.
    Reply
  • xanagu
    9535607 said:
    $2146

    WHAT!

    You could get a laptop with a 680M for that price! :ouch:
    Seriously Tom? you can get a much better deal with 3610QM, 16GB RAM, 750GB HDD and 7990M for $1470
    Reply
  • Crashman
    xanaguSeriously Tom? you can get a much better deal with 3610QM, 16GB RAM, 750GB HDD and 7990M for $1470Remember Eurocom loves high-end CPUs and SSDs. Besides, why would I want 16GB in a notebook?
    Reply
  • xanagu
    cuz its a free upgrade?
    Reply
  • esrever
    Seems a bit too pricy. Battery life isn't good either, only slightly better than the other models. Also not really portable so why would people care that much about battery life?
    Reply
  • rorouni
    do they have one that supports stereoschopic 3d?
    Reply
  • uglynerdman
    u could get a clevo with a 680m for 1800. this whole article only recinforces my belief in buying a p150em even with a normal 670 installed itll still be better for the price. i find eurocom a lil over priced. xoticpc ftw
    Reply
  • uglynerdman
    i really dont get why xangu's comment was downrated and crashman's was uprated. its true you could get a better deal 1500 does get you a i7 3rdgen with 8 gbs ram and a 7970m. and saying that eurocom likes highend ssds and cpus? ummm.. im sorry are there different cpus available everyone sells all the intel i7 mobile quads. all the boutiques. Same with SSDs and hard drives. What has to stand out from a place is the build quality cooling slight performance difference > competitors and other bits to justify an inflated price. The battery life is always hovering around 4 hours max. not matter which model you have you still gotta plug in a power brick eventually. theres car adapters, plugs on greyhound and amtrak. heck airport seats have plugs nearby. the 670s can game unplugged for a few hours. a few more minutes on the 660? i feel the 660 should be in a ultrabook not a rugged sized notebook. Look at the size. it looks as big and heavy as its competitiors. Dont get me wrong i like eurocom they have some great stuff just, i dont see a noticeable difference to justify the price/performance of that setup vs other boutiques. Id really like to see a toms review of more clevos and msi customs/ does anyone offer superior cooling builds etc.
    Reply
  • uglynerdman
    xanagucuz its a free upgrade?while above 8gbs is nonsense for gamers if you like playing in a window and running other programs and doing other things such as uploading a vid coding a vid, doing other activities a lil bit of ram goes along way. i myself go out of the way to tweak my games to use 4gbs if they dont support it and multitask. Besides 16 gbs is usually about 40-80 bucks more > standard 8gbs. it has its uses unless ur solely gaming. 16 gbs is my standard. i have enough ram to abuse skyrim on ultra full of mods windowed while talking online watching a news feed and streaming video in another window and extra monitor.
    Reply