Eurocom is a company that we’ve seen a few times over the years. Mostly, their focus is on the high-end mobile workstation market, though they also sell plenty of consumer-oriented laptops and notebooks. What we haven’t seen from them before is a high performance gaming-worthy system stuffed into a small chassis; they’ve had some business-class ultraportables and tablets, and they’ve had 15” and larger gaming notebooks, but there’s nothing in their past ten years even remotely similar to the Monster 1.0. In fact, the only other laptop we’ve ever seen that targeted this category is Alienware’s M11x, a small gaming laptop sporting ULV CPUs with moderate GPUs.

The Monster 1.0 (which uses a Clevo w110er chassis) isn’t just about stuffing the latest and greatest parts into a small form factor. Intel’s new Ivy Bridge processor is socket compatible with Sandy Bridge chips, and since there are no dual-core IVB offerings right now Eurocom offers the Monster with either dual-core SNB or quad-core IVB—though you’ll have to wait a bit longer for the quad-core IVB option it seems. Since it uses the updated HM76 chipset, you also get native USB 3.0 ports. Let’s run through the supported components and options just to give you a taste of what Eurocom has to offer.

Eurocom Monster 1.0 Configuration Options
Processor Core i7-3720QM (4x2.6-3.6GHz, 6MB L3, 22nm, 45W)
Core i7-3610QM (4x2.3-3.3GHz, 6MB L3, 22nm, 45W)
Core i7-2620M (2x2.7-3.4GHz, 4MB L3, 32nm, 35W)
Core i5-2540M (2x2.6-3.3GHz, 3MB L3, 32nm, 35W)
Core i5-2520M (2x2.5-3.2GHz, 3MB L3, 32nm, 35W)
Core i5-2410M (2x2.3-2.9GHz, 3MB L3, 32nm, 35W)
Chipset Intel HM76
Memory Up to 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3-1600
(Two SO-DIMM slots, DDR3-1333 or DDR3-1600)
Graphics Intel HD 4000 (16 EUs, DX11) on Ivy Bridge
Intel HD 3000 (12 EUs, DX10) on Sandy Bridge

NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M 2GB DDR3 Optimus
(384 CUDA cores, 850/1800MHz Core/Shader/RAM)
Display 11.6" Glossy 16:9 768p (1366x768) or
11.6" Matte 16:9 768p (1366x768) (AUO B116XW02)
Storage 120GB-600GB SSD (Intel or Micron)
500GB-750GB 7200RPM HDD
1TB 5400RPM HDD
Optical Drive N/A
Networking Gigabit Ethernet
802.11n WiFi (Intel or Bigfoot Killer)
Bluetooth (Optional, depending on WLAN)
Audio Stereo speakers
Headphone and microphone jacks
Battery 6-cell, 62Wh
Front Side Memory Card Reader
Left Side 2 x USB 3.0
Headphone jack
Microphone jack
HDMI 1.4a
Exhaust vent
VGA
Gigabit Ethernet
Right Side Kensington Lock
1 x USB 2.0
AC Power Connection
Back Side N/A
Operating System Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
Dimensions 11.48" x 8.28" x 0.51-1.48" (WxDxH)
(287mm x 207mm x 12.7-37.1mm)
Weight 3.96 lbs (1.8kg)
Extras 1.3MP Webcam
83-Key Keyboard
Flash Reader (MMC/SD/MS Pro)
90W Power Adapter
Pricing Starting at $817 with i5-2410M
(500GB HDD, 4GB RAM, and 1-year warranty)
$2203 for High-End i7-2620M
(240GB SSD, 8GB RAM, and 3-year warranty)

Okay, seriously, that is a metric ton of performance stuffed into a relatively small chassis. We’re obviously not looking at something in the ultrabook category, and the 0.51” thickness at the front is misleading as it looks more like a 1.1” height (the front narrows to a small wedge over the last inch or so of the palm rest), but for a <4 lbs. laptop with up to quad-core 45W CPUs I’m not going to complain.

On the CPU front, even dual-core Sandy Bridge is plenty fast for most users, and what’s more Eurocom uses full voltage CPUs. That means even the minimum i5-2410M ought to give Alienware’s M11x a run for the money. (Granted, we haven’t seen any news on the M11x since the R3 version, and while we can still find it on Dell’s site, it’s a bit odd that it doesn’t show up at Alienware’s laptop page.) Looking at the heart of any gaming system, it’s the GPU that’ll really determine what will run well and how high you can crank the settings. With the Monster, NVIDIA’s Kepler GK107 chips look ready for mainstream gaming at the very least.

Pricing isn’t bad either for what we could see; the base model should perform reasonably well, especially if all you want is a petty gaming laptop; the only real upgrade we’d make for sure is on the RAM. We’d also look into the LCD upgrade, but $136 extra for what may or may not be a substantially better panel is a tough pill to swallow. If you need more CPU performance, you’ll have to wait for the Ivy Bridge options to show up, and we’d guess the i7-3720QM will be at least a $300 upgrade, but we’ll have to wait and see.

Given everything listed above, the Monster 1.0 should certainly live up to its name. We’ve requested a review unit and hopefully we can report on the overall experience in the near future. Eurocom did release some preliminary benchmarks, and it looks like the GT 650M DDR3 with a full voltage CPU should improve on the early GT 640M we tested in the Acer TimelineU ultrabook by 30-50%. Eurocom also quotes battery life of up to 410 minutes (though they don’t say what sort of test they used), which should be sufficient for non-gaming use. In the meantime, fans of gaming ultraportables have something new to look forward to.

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