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AMD's Mobility Radeon HD 6970 In CrossFire On Eurocom's Panther

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
PlatformIntel LGA 1366, X58 Express / ICH10R, MXM-III Discrete Graphics
CPUIntel Core i7-980X Hexa-Core 3.33-3.60 GHz, 6.4 GT/s QPI, 12 MB L3 Cache, 32 nm, 130 W
RAMMicron 12 GB (3 x 4 GB) DDR3-1333 SO-DIMM, CL9, 1.5 V, Non-ECC
GraphicsDual AMD Mobility Radeon HD 6970, 2 GB GDDR5, CrossFire
Display17.3" Glossy LED Backlit TFT, 1920x1080
Webcam3.0 Megapixel
AudioIntegrated HD Audio
SecurityBuilt-in Fingerprint Reader
Storage
Hard DriveSeagate Momentus XT ST95005620AS Hybrid, 500 GB + 4 GB Flash
Optical DriveH-L Data CT21N 6x Blu-ray Reader / 8x DVD Writer Combo Drive
Media Drive9-in-1 Flash Media Interface
Networking
Wireless LANIntel Ultimate-N 6300, IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n, 11/54/450 Mb/s
Wireless PANBluetooth Optional (not installed)
Gigabit NetworkJMicron PCIe 10/100/1000 Mb/s Ethernet
IEEE-1394Optional (not installed)
TelephonyNot Available
Peripheral Interfaces
USB3 x USB 2.0, 2 x USB 3.0
Expansion CardInternal Only (Mini PCIe x1)
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 Adapter300 W Power Brick, 100-240 V AC to 15 V DC
Battery14.8 V 5300 mAh (78.44 Wh) Single
WeightNotebook 13.4 lbs, AC Adapter 3.6 lbs, Total 17.0 pounds
Software
Operating SystemMicrosoft Windows 7 Professional 64-bit Edition, OEM
Service
WarrantyOne year parts and labor
Price$5292

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.

  • haxs101
    5292$... Are you kidding me!!
    Reply
  • dogman_1234
    Yikes!
    Reply
  • Crashman
    dogman_1234Yikes!What, you don't have a $180,000 car sitting in front of your $5m mansion?
    Reply
  • fstrthnu
    This is even more absurd than the other recent power gaming notebook that was tested. You could save almost $500 by using Sandy Bridge instead of the old i7s, for the same performance. Even Falcon Mach V's usually don't get this expensive. This is absolutely ridiculous
    Reply
  • Crashman
    fstrthnuThis is even more absurd than the other recent power gaming notebook that was tested. You could save almost $500 by using Sandy Bridge instead of the old i7s, for the same performance. Even Falcon Mach V's usually don't get this expensive. This is absolutely ridiculousNo you couldn't. Because as of CES when these cards launched, nobody produced a dual-graphics module chassis for the Sandy Bridge.
    Reply
  • one-shot
    There are the battery life graphs that I love! Thanks for adding those to the laptop review! My first laptop was a P4 Northwood that barely got 90 minutes of battery life. This one is insane!
    Reply
  • _Pez_
    Insane and impossible to get and pay in Mëxico :( ....
    Reply
  • Maziar
    First of all,great review ! I was desperately waiting for 6970M review from Tom's.
    The overall performance is quite good especially in single mode which it's faster than both GTX 470M/480M.I think if AMD pays more attention to mobile drivers, then 2 of this cards should perform better.
    About the price,well not everyone configures the laptop with i7 980x.Websites usually test the high-end specs in order to reduce the bottleneck and let the laptop run at its full potential.
    I've read that Sager will soon release a model with mobile Sandy bridge CPUs along with 1 6970M and it won't be very expensive I think.
    Reply
  • tacoslave
    CrashmanWhat, you don't have a $180,000 car sitting in front of your $5m mansion?
    Duh of course, we all do but i mean 32 bedrooms IS kinda small. On a serious note, wtf 5k seriously? I could build a desktop and hook it up to a small generator for 1.5k and get at least 4 hours of power than pay 5k for 20min Fuk that $hit.
    Reply
  • christop
    Who is buying this? I bet it weights 50 lbs. Nice battery life of 22 minutes.
    Reply