AMD Radeon HD 6970M Review w/ Eurocom - HotHardware

AMD Radeon HD 6970M Review w/ Eurocom

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Suppose for a moment we were to describe a computer rocking an Intel Core i7-980X Extreme processor with three 4GB DDR3-1333 modules in a triple channel configuration for a total of 12GB of memory, dual video cards (SLI or Crossfire, your pick), four hard drives and a HD 1080P screen. You'd swear we were talking about a desktop, perhaps a three foot tall aluminum full-tower.

We would have agreed with you until the Eurocom Panther 2.0 showed up at our door. While we've seen plenty of large Desktop Replacements (DTR) here at HotHardware, we've rarely seen one that takes the concept this far towards its logical conclusion. All told, the Panther 2.0 is packing more desktop grade parts than it has laptop components. The Panther is a beast.

 

The first thing you'll notice about the Eurocom Panther 2.0 is the sheer size and heft of it. No one will ever confuse this monster with an ultraportable, no matter how blurry their eyes are. At 16.76 inches long, 11.44 inches wide and nearly two and a half inches thick, and weighing in at nearly 12 pounds fully equipped, the Panther 2.0 is a true DTR. For some perspective, you could fit four Macbook Airs inside the Panther's volume and still have space left over for a dozen iPhones. Quite simply, comparing the Panther 2.0 to most other DTRs puts them to shame.

   

While the Panther's proportions are almost comical, there is nothing funny about its design. The Panther 2.0 exudes quality and purpose, from the rock solid feel of the chassis to the brushed aluminum lid. While there is certainly a lot of plastic here as well, the internal structure is made of magnesium and the entire machine feels extremely sturdy. We suspect the LCD lid is only finished in aluminum and is mostly plastic underneath, but it felt very rigid and wasn't prone to flexing. The lid is attached by a pair of quality hinges with a very nice feel.

The body of the machine feels like a single solid block of plastic coated magnesium. The chassis has a structural rigidity rarely seen in consumer electronics. The overall feel of the machine is probably most comparable to a unibody Macbook Pro, it is that solid. The fit and finish of the Panther 2.0 is excellent as well. As previously mentioned, the top of the LCD lid is covered by two pieces of brushed aluminum separated by a shiny plastic insert that displays a blue LED backlit Eurocom logo. While most of the inside of the laptop like the LCD bezel and hinges are covered by shiny plastic, the entire palm rest is finished in brushed aluminum.

 

Taking a peak under the hood reveals a total of four blower style fans used to keep the components cool. Each blower sits on top of a copper heatsink with integrated heatpipes. The two units on the left of the image above are for the two graphics cards. The two units on the right are for the CPU and motherboard. At the top, above all this cooling hardware, are two banks of hard drive bays, as well as the battery and slim optical drive. The hard drive bay in the center supports two hard drives and the secondary bay in the corner sits above the optical drive. While the Panther 2.0 is capable of supporting up to four hard drives, equipping it with a fourth hard drive replaces the optical drive.

The battery is located on the opposite corner. The Panther 2.0 sports a 88.8 watt-hour battery, which would be pretty respectable for an ordinary laptop, or even an ordinary DTR. However, in the Panther, with its full-power desktop components, the battery barely manages over a half hour of battery life under medium load. Considering the Panther 2.0 is a "desktop replacement", you are better off thinking of the battery as a built-in UPS, in which case 30 minutes is quite reasonable. This machine simply shouldn't be used unplugged.



For such a well spec'd machine, you would expect the Panther to have a lot of connectivity options and it delivers in spades. All of the connections and ports are placed along the left and right sides except for the AC power connector which was wisely placed on the back. Along the left side of the machine are two USB 3.0 ports, HDMI-out, HDMI-in, DVI, eSATA, IEEE1394b, S/PDIF, RJ-45 Ethernet and an all-in-one card reader. Along the right side of the machine are three USB 2.0 ports, headphone port, microphone port, line-in and audio-out. Of particular interest is the HDMI-input. This allows you to plug in an HDMI device to use the Eurocom's LCD screen as a standard monitor. The bank of four audio connections along the right side can also be used to output full surround sound.

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AMD video card are jumping ahead of Nvidia and I Can safely say AMD is atleast 1 year ahead of Nvidia

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Umm... I wouldnt say that mate... sure AMD has the upper edge at the moment... but nvidia isnt lacking either. One year ahead.... one year is too large an amount of time.... perhaps 1 month ahead is more suitable.

"the 480M is likely to be similar in performance to the Radeon HD 6970M while the GTX 485M should be a bit faster. This puts the Radeon between the GTX 470M and GTX 485M in terms of performance. "

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So where is the numbers from a 5870 for us to compare?

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My only fit with gaming notebooks are battery drain mate, as well as portability (12 lbs, dang).... and the fact it probably contributes to weaker sperm haha. I've said this before, and i'll continue saying it.

Eurocom dont lie when they its a desktop replacement. And Hollly snap, 4 fans inside. My main tower has only 3 for comparison sake..... also 7K for a decked-out portable desktop... i dont know what to say.

Whats pretty cool though about the gpu is that it has dual graphics engines and you can crossfire em in a Laptop.... ergh, portable desktop

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coolice:
the fact it probably contributes to weaker sperm

That's OK, then you can do 'Bizness' without having to cash a big check!

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I salute you realneil

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Wow the 6970M's seem to do a totally bang up job in crossfire even over SLI much less anything beneath it. It seem like it may be time for ATI to receive some love on the mobile side like they did on the desktop side the last what 3 years now.

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This is great news for AMD , Excellent performance, great job. As for The Eurocom Panther, it will be nice to see the comparisons when the P67/2600k get cramped into this chassis.

And since Sandy Bridge is a great overclocker on Air with the lower TDP and better efficiency, maybe it can reach 4.0 and not present a thermal challenge like the current models with the 980x.

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yeah I have never understood the 7k up laptop/desktop replacement market anyway. If I was going to get something with components like this I think I would go to AVA direct, or just build a desktop. It is not like your going to get more than 30 minutes mobile gaming out of one, unless of course it is with a adapter in a car anyway. SO just build yourself a $2500 desktop and save yourself 4500 buck's (and that is a high price for a home brew desktop at 2500) but it will outperform this 7k Dtop replacement any day as well as last longer I would bet.

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@Teerwik - The 6970M is definitely AMD's strongest mobile GPU to date, but I just wanted to point this out from the conclustion page: "...note that the GeForce GTX 470M isn't the fastest mobile card NVIDIA has to offer. Indeed they also have a GeForce GTX 480M and a 485M which is even faster. While we didn't have a GTX 480M or GTX 485M on hand for comparison, judging by their specifications in relation to the GTX 470M, the 480M is likely to be similar in performance to the Radeon HD 6970M while the GTX 485M should be a bit faster."

We've got a different notebook with the 485M on the way and will be posting a review soon.

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