Results: DiRT: Showdown, Hitman: Absolution, And Sniper Elite V2
DiRT: Showdown's built-in benchmark is very tough on both the CPU and GPU. It also exacted the highest continuous AC load of any game drawing 433 W from the wall on Eurocom's Panther.
Even with all of the quality settings maxed out, each notebook delivers playable average frame rates. Eurocom's two GeForce GTX 680Ms in SLI maintain the top position, but again the benefit of two cards isn't as pronounced next to the 780M's compelling performance. In fact, the GeForce GTX 780M enjoys a nice 20% improvement over a single GeForce GTX 680M.
We know DiRT to be both CPU- and memory-bound, so as we start relaxing the graphics load, those bottlenecks begin showing up.
At Medium quality settings, Eurocom's machine is completely platform-bound. MSI's GT70 exhibits the same symptoms, but still manages to stay a few FPS ahead of Alienware's system on average.
Hitman: Absolution is the opposite of Sniper Elite V2 when it comes to resource utilization. In the game's built-in benchmark, thousands of NPCs are animated throughout the scene. The GPU may end up waiting for the CPU to finish.
In the Ultra quality benchmark, both the MSI and Eurocom machines are CPU-limited. Alienware's sample trails behind, but is able to pull slightly ahead of MSI at 1366x768.
Since we tested the Panther 5D, Nvidia has made driver improvements to Hitman: Absolution's performance. The notebook should be able to cross the 60 FPS threshold, though it's likely that Nvidia will never show spectacularly in this AMD-sponsored title.
Taking the quality down a notch improves the Panther 5D and Alienware scores, but not as much for MSI's GT70. The Alienware system, with its single GeForce GTX 680M and Core i7-3940XM, manages to pull ahead of both comparison machines at 1366x768.
At Medium quality, the Alienware pulls ahead of MSI in all screen resolutions, and ahead of the Eurocom in two of them. This is largely academic, since no one with any of these systems would be playing at reduced quality or at a resolution of 1366x768.
Sniper Elite V2
The built-in benchmark for Sniper Elite V2 places a light load on our CPUs, but serves up a punishing GPU workload. These benchmarks are a good way to demonstrate the graphics capabilities of each machine.
With the game maxed-out at the Ultra quality preset, each card delivers playable frame rates at every setting. Since Eurocom's Panther 5D achieves more than twice the speed of a single GeForce GTX 680 (in Alienware's machine), the desktop-class CPU must be conferring some benefit to the final result.
Scaling back to the High quality preset changes very little about the placing of these three mobile platforms.
Dropping to Medium quality allows each configuration to speed up further, though only Alienware's M18x R2 benefits. The other platforms were already averaging more than 60 FPS.
Although the benchmark results at Low quality settings are a little higher, the Panther 5D was already playable at the highest detail settings. That's where you'd find us playing this game.