Eurocom M98NU XCaliber Gaming Notebook Review

Article Index

Gaming: ETQW and Far Cry 2

Enemy Territory: Quake Wars (ETQW) is based on a radically enhanced version of id's Doom 3 engine and viewed by many as Battlefield 2 meets the Strogg--and then some. In fact, we'd venture to say that id took EA's team-based warfare genre up a notch or two. ETQW also marks the introduction of John Carmack's "Megatexture" technology that employs large environment and terrain textures that cover vast areas of maps without the need to repeat and tile many smaller textures. The beauty of megatexture technology is that each unit only takes up a maximum of 8MB of frame buffer memory. Add to that HDR-like bloom lighting and leading edge shadowing effects and ETQW looks great, plays well, and works high-end GPUs vigorously. The game was tested at several different screen resolutions with all of its in-game options set to their maximum values with soft particles enabled, in addition to 16x anti-aliasing and 16x anisotropic filtering. When we set to the in-game screen resolution to 1,920x1,200, the M98NU XCaliber's video was output to an external display.

Enemy Territory: Quake Wars
OpenGL Gaming Performance

We originally wanted to run the ETQW test with 4x anti-aliasing and 16x anisotropic filtering, but our results at the different resolutions were too similar to each other (in the 75 to 80fps range); this told us that our settings were being limited by the CPU and therefore not allowing the dual GPUs to operate at their full potential (this is what is commonly referred to as "CPU limited"). So we had to crank up the quality settings to 16x anti-aliasing and 16x anisotropic filtering in order to get the frame rates to scale with the resolution. Unfortunately, doing so meant that we had no other notebooks to compare the M98NU XCaliber's ETQW performance too.

What these scores do tell us, however, is the type of performance you should expect from the game if you were to crank up every single one of the game's quality setting to maximum. While these frame rates aren't going to shame a high-end desktop gaming rig, they are very respectable and all still high enough to be playable--even the 31.3fps at 1920x1200. Keep in mind, however, that the notebook's native resolution is 1920x1080, so if you want to play games in resolutions that are larger than 1080 pixels in the vertical axis (such as 1920x1200), you'll need to hook the notebook up to an external display.

FarCry 2
DirectX Gaming Performance

Like the original, FarCry 2 is one of the more visually impressive games to be released on the PC to date. Courtesy of the Dunia game engine developed by Ubisoft, FarCry 2's game-play is enhanced by advanced environment physics, destructible terrain, high resolution textures, complex shaders, realistic dynamic lighting, and motion-captured animations. We tested the game at a number of different resolutions, using DirectX 10 mode, with the Render Quality set to Ultra High, and with all Performance settings at Very High. When we set to the in-game screen resolution to 1,920x1,200, the M98NU XCaliber's video was output to an external display.

Similar to what we did with the ETQW tests above, we ran Far Cry 2 with most of the settings at their max in order to give an idea of what game play would be like at the three different resolutions we tested. And as we saw with ETQW, the frame rates were all playable, but not necessarily on par with a true desktop gaming rig.

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