Eurocom M860TU Montebello: Look and Feel
Of all four contenders, Eurocom’s Montebello feels the most like a do-it-yourself whitebook. And that’s not too far from the truth, since its shell is intended for resellers looking to build their own mobile offerings. To be fair, so is Killer Notebooks’ Odachi—the main difference, visually, being the graphics shield that Killer Notebooks added. Nevertheless, Clevo’s design keeps the Eurocom offering looking professional thanks to a polished black lid and matching palm rests. This is another two-tone design, the other color being silver around the top and bottom of the chassis.
As with the 17.1” D9C shell, Clevo’s M860TU incorporates a lip underneath the available ports that isn’t quite as attractive as the flush Alienware chassis, but does make for easy lifting. Not that picking up Eurocom’s Montebello is a challenge—it’s the lightest model in our roundup at roughly seven pounds. There’s naturally not as much room with a 15.4” LCD, so you give up the 10-key number pad with Eurocom’s smaller shell. However, the notebook still includes a full-sized keyboard on which it’s a pleasure to type. And the Montebello is one of only two designs we tested that doesn’t latch shut. It instead swivels on a quality hinge with enough resistance to not fall open while closed.
We like how Eurocom jumped into Centrino 2 early, incorporating the PM45 chipset, Intel’s fastest dual-core Core 2 Extreme processor, battery-conserving DDR3 memory, and a relatively potent Nvidia GeForce 9800M GT graphics processor.
Although the M860TU only includes an eight-cell, 4,400 mAh battery, it’s still much more efficient than either of the two SLI-equipped offerings. Of course, the more power-friendly stature comes at the expense of performance, and we’d certainly hesitate before calling this an extreme gaming notebook. Perhaps the Montebello would be more at-home as a desktop replacement workstation rather than a purpose-built entertainment machine.
Like Killer Notebooks’ Odachi, Eurocom’s solution exhausts air out the back of its chassis by pulling it in from underneath. But because the Montebello isn’t hosting a 95 W desktop processor or pair of graphics boards, it gets by with just one fan blowing over a heat pipe and fins. Though the thermal load isn’t nearly as demanding, we’re still not big fans (pardon the pun) of drawing air from under the chassis.