Eurocom M980NU XCaliber Specifications

Eurocom is another company specializing in large desktop replacement notebooks and mobile workstations. They started out as a Canadian company but have since expanded to include other parts of the world. They list prices in Canadian Dollars, US Dollars, Euros, and Great Britain Pounds, and our understanding is that the USA market is served by offices in New York. Eurocom offers other products including laptops, all-in-one desktops, as well as mobile servers and workstations. Today we're looking at the M980NU XCaliber, a "performance desktop replacement" notebook.

Eurocom M980NU XCaliber Specifications
Processor Core 2 Duo P9700 (2.80GHz, 45nm, 6MB Shared, 1066FSB, 28W)
Core 2 Duo T9800 (2.93GHz, 45nm, 6MB Shared, 1066FSB, 35W)
Core 2 Duo T9900 (3.06GHz, 45nm, 6MB Shared, 1066FSB, 35W)
Core 2 Quad Q9000 (2.00GHz, 45nm, 2x3MB Shared, 1066FSB, 45W)
Core 2 Quad Q9100 (2.26GHz, 45nm, 2x6MB Shared, 1066FSB, 45W)
Core 2 Extreme QX9300 (2.53GHz, 45nm, 2x6MB Shared, 1066FSB, 45W)
Chipset NVIDIA 730i (MCP79)
Memory 2x2048MB DDR3-1333 to 2x4096MB DDR3-1333
Graphics 1 or 2 x GeForce GTX 260M/280M (SLI)
Display 18.4" Glossy Full HD 1080p (1920x1080)
Hard Drive Up to four SSDs/HDDs (using optical drive bay)
Optional RAID 0/1/5/10 Supported
Optical Drive 8x DVDR SuperMulti
Blu-ray Reader/DVDRW Combo
Blu-ray Recorder/DVDRW
Networking NVIDIA MCP79 Gigabit Ethernet
Intel Wifi Link 5300 AGN
Bluetooth v2.1+EDR
Audio 6-Channel Realtek ALC888 HD Audio
(5.1 surround speakers with four audio jacks+digital out)
Battery/Adapter 4-Cell High Capacity 68.82Whr, 14.8V DC, 4650mAh
230W Power Brick
Front Side None (Speaker grilles)
Left Side 1 x Mini FireWire
ExpressCard/54
MS/MS Pro/SD/MMC reader
BDROM/DVDR Combo Drive
HDMI
Gigabit Ethernet
2 x USB 2.0
Dual-Link DVI
Right Side 4 x Audio/Microphone jacks
Optional TV Tuner Input
1 x eSATA/USB 2.0
1 x USB 2.0
Kensington Lock
Back Side 4 x Heat Exhaust
Power Adapter
Operating System Windows Vista 32-bit or 64-bit, Windows Server
Dimensions 17.28" x 11.77" x 1.89-2.70" (WxDxH)
Weight 12.98 lbs (with 4-cell battery)
Extras 2.0MP Webcam
98-Key Keyboard with 10-Key
10 touch-sensitive multimedia keys
8 customizable/programmable buttons
Fingerprint Scanner (Optional)
Warranty 1-year standard Warranty
2-year and 3-year extended warranties available
Price Starting at ~$2600 online.
Tested configuration priced at $4432.

Since the M980NU uses Core 2 processors, we once again have several configuration options for the CPU. Eurocom offers everything from the P9700 up through the QX9300. There are plenty of other CPUs that would work in the M980NU, but Eurocom figures most users interested in this sort of system probably aren't going to want anything less than a 2.8 GHz dual-core CPU.

In something of a change from previous SLI notebooks, the M980NU uses an NVIDIA chipset, the 730i (MCP79). Previously, SLI notebooks used an Intel chipset with an nForce 100/200 PCI-E splitter. The one feature that we would like to see that isn't included is hybrid graphics -- the ability to switch between integrated graphics and discrete graphics. (Note that the Alienware M17x offers this functionality, and it's still possible to get nearly three hours of battery life with the M17x -- despite it being a gigantic desktop replacement system.) As you would expect for a high-end laptop, graphics options are limited to NVIDIA's top options: the GTX 260M and the GTX 280M. You can order the M980NU in single or SLI graphics configurations. It appears that Eurocom charges around $430 per GTX 260M and $600 per GTX 280M, which makes desktop GPUs like the GTX 285 look downright affordable, considering you get roughly twice the performance of the GTX 280M for "only" $350.

Eurocom sticks to higher end memory configurations, starting at 2x2GB and scaling up to 2x4GB. You can choose between DDR3-1066 and DDR3-1333 if you opt for the 8GB configuration; the 2GB SO-DIMMs are all DDR3-1333 parts. You can also choose between a standard DVDRW, a Blu-ray reader, or an extremely expensive Blu-ray recorder. Most users should find either the Blu-ray reader or standard DVDR more than sufficient.

Again, storage options are likely to cause the most confusion if you're not sure what you're looking for. Eurocom supports three hard drives along with an optional fourth hard drive in place of using an optical drive. That means they can support RAID 0/1/5/10 -- with the latter two requiring either three+ or four hard drives respectively. Unlike AVADirect, Eurocom charges extra if you want to configure a RAID set. In terms of HDDs/SSDs, Eurocom doesn't provide quite the same selection as AVADirect, but they do provide all of the important options. Users can choose a 320GB or 500GB Seagate 7200 RPM hard drive, 64GB/80GB/160GB Intel SSD, 250GB OCZ Vertex SSD, or a whopping 512GB Solidata X4-512 SSD. The first hard drive can also be a 120GB or 128GB SSD. Of note is that the fourth hard drive only gives an option of using the 250GB OCZ Vertex (at least for now).

Where the Clevo D900F offers the fastest current CPU in a notebook, the Eurocom M980NU focuses on graphics power. The test system we received includes Intel's fastest Core 2 Extreme QX9300 mobile CPU. The drawback is that NVIDIA's GTX 280M SLI is extremely expensive, to ¬-the tune of $1200, and it still doesn't offer the performance of $400 desktop parts. Battery life is also going to be a sore spot, and with a weight of 13 pounds this definitely isn't a notebook you want to lug around any more than you absolutely have to.

Considering very few games can use more than two CPU cores, users interested in gaming performance might be better served by a Core 2 Duo T9900 (3.06GHz). The "downgrade" would also shave $550 off the price of the system, and while intensive multithreaded CPU performance would obviously be lower the gaming performance should improve -- by up to 20% in CPU limited situations. Either way, the M980NU will handle pretty much any current game at 1920x1080, though not always at maximum detail with 4xAA. If you're looking for the fastest current gaming notebook and you don't want to buy an Alienware M17x, give the M980NU XCaliber a look.

AVADirect Clevo D900F Design Eurocom M980NU XCaliber Design
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  • 7Enigma - Thursday, October 15, 2009 - link

    Jarred,

    Ignore these people. They exist in a bubble that revolves around only what they perceive as useful....to THEM. For the rest of us, even though many of us will never need/want a system like this, it is enjoyable to read about how far (and how far left) they have come.

    What's funny is some of these same people will ooh and ahh over the latest $600+ gpu or $1000+ cpu knowing they also will never buy one of these.

    This is a tech site. The purpose is to review and discuss new technology, regardless of what mainstream appeal it has. If that was the case you should only be reviewing sub-$300 cpu/gpu and sub $500 monitors as that is what the vast majority of us purchase. While your at it, forget about hydravision, large capacity SSD's, 3D LCD's/goggles, etc.

    Keep up the good work and try to ignore the trolls. That extra 10min you use to respond to a post like this could be better used GETTING SOME OC NUMBERS ON THE LATEST GPU! (hint...hint) :)
    Reply
  • hybrid2d4x4 - Wednesday, October 14, 2009 - link

    I, for one, appreciate the review, even if the products are not relevant to me- I'm sure there are people out there that do want a high-end all-in-one/laptop. At any rate, I did want to chime in with a suggestion of what I'd like to see in upcoming mobile reviews: non-cookiecutter netbooks such as the ION-based ones (ex: HP Mini 311), or ones that stand out from the crowd by virtue of better screens (matte), battery life, passive/quiet cooling, etc. Basically, keep doing what you're already doing, as you've already had articles on the Asus 1005HA and CULV. Also, any word on the next-gen Atoms with the new chipset and IGP? Reply
  • mac2j - Wednesday, October 14, 2009 - link

    I understand the difficulty in getting samples of new high demand models.

    But if you want to know what a really useful comparison would be:

    High-end Core i7 laptops (Envy 15, XPS16, M15x, MSI etc):

    Aesthetics vs performance (business v multimedia v games) vs battery life vs extras vs cost

    I'd be willing to bet that would be extremely useful for a lot of people and widely cited across the net.

    Personally I ordered a Studio XPS 16 (820QM) almost a month ago and I'm still waiting for it so I'm sure it would take you a while to collect all the samples from the relevant companies... but it would be worth it IMO.
    Reply
  • 5150Joker - Saturday, November 7, 2009 - link

    All the laptops you listed are junk. None of them can hold a candle to the Clevo W860CU and they aren't anymore aesthetically pleasing.

    HP Envy: overheating mac rip off that doesnt have an optical drive.

    Dell SXPS 16: gets so hot you can cook on it while using it. Say goodbye to your sperm count.

    Alienware m15x: competitor to the clevo series and fails. Overpriced, underperforming and poor quality control.

    Reply
  • strikeback03 - Wednesday, October 14, 2009 - link

    Here's me posting my comment for the laptop makers to please offer better choices on LCDs. Its about time to replace my T43, am I really going to have to move from a matte IPS screen to something worse? Reply
  • mac2j - Wednesday, October 14, 2009 - link

    Why compare a bunch of notebooks that no one buys? The total 2009 sales for every notebook in this article will be in the thousands.

    How about comparing high end notebooks people are actually (trying to) buy.

    HP Envy 15 vs Dell Studio XPS 16 vs Alienware M15x vs MSI Core i7s etc ....

    The choice of systems and the timing of this article makes it a useless waste of space.
    Reply
  • TheQuestian - Tuesday, December 8, 2009 - link

    Irony. Reply
  • 5150Joker - Saturday, November 7, 2009 - link

    Your post along with several others here is a waste of space. Reply
  • GeorgeH - Wednesday, October 14, 2009 - link

    Super-CPU? Check.
    Super-GPU? Check.
    Super-HDs? Check.
    Super-RAM? Check.
    Super-LCD? Wait, what?

    The LCD situation on these laptops is ridiculous. The most important component in any laptop is the LCD screen, and the second is the chassis and keyboard - component specs come in a distant third.

    As long as I have a choice I will never, ever own a laptop with a glossy screen and a native resolution less than 1920x1200 (for ~15" and up.) I don't care if a laptop has the fastest components ever, if you interact effectively with it you might as well be using a "regular" laptop. If you're using these for work, the few seconds you save using faster components to render and compile your projects will be lost many, many times over in human inefficiencies due to interface issues. If you're using them for gaming, you'll get awesome FPS and ability to use super high detail settings that'll be wasted on a dull, reflective screen.

    It's crap like this that makes people switch to MacBook Pros. The components are lousy, the prices are lousy, and the company's policies are lousy, but you get a laptop that's a pleasure to own and interact with. Regardless of your feelings towards Apple, you have to admit they know how to build a laptop - as a complete piece of hardware the MBP is matched by only a handful of PC laptops (mostly "business class" models that the average consumer doesn't even know about), and surpassed by none.
    Reply
  • warezme - Wednesday, October 14, 2009 - link

    Uh, hello??

    Macbook Pro's have glass glossy screens. You just contradicted your own statement. And for convenience and ease of use, Apple needs to master how its touchpad works and right clicking because it just doesn't work. But if you are going to give points to your system on aesthetics alone I suppose you will learn to live with it dude.



    Reply

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