AMD Attacks On the Mobile Front
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|
|Platform||Intel LGA 1366, X58 Express / ICH10R, MXM-III Discrete Graphics|
|CPU||Intel Core i7-980X Hexa-Core 3.33-3.60 GHz, 6.4 GT/s QPI, 12 MB L3 Cache, 32 nm, 130 W|
|RAM||Micron 12 GB (3 x 4 GB) DDR3-1333 SO-DIMM, CL9, 1.5 V, Non-ECC|
|Graphics||Dual AMD Mobility Radeon HD 6970, 2 GB GDDR5, CrossFire|
|Display||17.3" Glossy LED Backlit TFT, 1920x1080|
|Audio||Integrated HD Audio|
|Security||Built-in Fingerprint Reader|
|Hard Drive||Seagate Momentus XT ST95005620AS Hybrid, 500 GB + 4 GB Flash|
|Optical Drive||H-L Data CT21N 6x Blu-ray Reader / 8x DVD Writer Combo Drive|
|Media Drive||9-in-1 Flash Media Interface|
|Wireless LAN||Intel Ultimate-N 6300, IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n, 11/54/450 Mb/s|
|Wireless PAN||Bluetooth Optional (not installed)|
|Gigabit Network||JMicron PCIe 10/100/1000 Mb/s Ethernet|
|IEEE-1394||Optional (not installed)|
|USB||3 x USB 2.0, 2 x USB 3.0|
|Expansion Card||Internal Only (Mini PCIe x1)|
|HDD||1 x eSATA 3Gb/s|
|Audio||Headphone, Microphone, Line-In, Digital Out Jacks|
|Video||1 x Dual-Link DVI-I w/VGA Adapter, 1 x HDMI|
|Power & Weight|
|AC Adapter||300 W Power Brick, 100-240 V AC to 15 V DC|
|Battery||14.8 V 5300 mAh (78.44 Wh) Single|
|Weight||Notebook 13.4 lbs, AC Adapter 3.6 lbs, Total 17.0 pounds|
|Operating System||Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64-bit Edition, OEM|
|Warranty||One year parts and labor|
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.