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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  • psonice - Wednesday, October 14, 2009 - link

    These things aren't really mobile - they're huge, weigh a ton, and have totally inadequate battery life. So what you have really is a desktop machine with a built-in keyboard and monitor. I'd call that an all-in-one :) Reply
  • gstrickler - Wednesday, October 14, 2009 - link

    [quote]The only reason to avoid such a large battery appears to be weight, and the W870CU is 3 pounds lighter than either of the other notebooks if that matters to you -- but it still weighs almost 9 pounds.[/quote]If it's over 7.5 pounds travel weight (including battery and AC adapter, excluding carrying case), it's not a notebook or laptop. You can call it a transportable, an all-in-one, or a even a portable computer, but please don't refer to them as notebooks.

    If it doesn't get at least 2 hours runtime on battery, it's definitely not a mobile or portable computer, although the transportable or all-in-one name works.

    We really need some industry standard definitions for these, but until we have them, please refrain from using notebook to refer to 9 to 12 pound computers.
    Reply
  • strikeback03 - Wednesday, October 14, 2009 - link

    I'd say we need less artificial market segmentation with dumb terms. For example, "netbook" was originally used to refer to cheap, small, light, low-powered laptops. However, you now have "netbooks" in 11-15" screen sizes and at prices pushing well into mainstream laptop territory. I'd argue that laptop/notebook should just refer to the basic form factor, and don't bother trying to differentiate on other features such as size and battery life. Reply
  • IlllI - Wednesday, October 14, 2009 - link

    what that comment about something being beaten with an ugly stick?
    these machines are the epitome of function over form. well, i guess it does what its suppose to do.. but i'd be embarrassed to be seen in public with something that has all the aesthetics of a mobile phone from 1988





    Reply
  • - Wednesday, October 14, 2009 - link

    LOL!! Reply
  • Whoeverulike - Monday, September 22, 2014 - link

    The D900F is a great machine. We have run virtually ours 24 hours a day since 2009 so that some going. Now though, its time for some spares to protect our investment so we can earn the value from buying premium hardware. But guess what? Hardly anyone can help us with simple things like screen inverter or chassis feet, not even a cable to rewire the 4-pin DIN power jack lead to the inverter brick. Isn't that surprising? Maybe it isn't to those here but I am a little shocked by it. And now at a time when people like me come looking at sites like this, we are expecting to see something about long term use cases. The D900F and machines like it, before and since are about the nearest that [gaming] laptop users who also possibly have another use for the machine as well, are likely to come to a custom build. But as MonicaS says below building one, if you can do it - if you can know how you are buying for long term return on investment is about the only way one can actually justify some pretty hefty prices especially when we talk about no stripped down power unit but full monty desktop processors like the core i7 in the D900F. It will be interesting if someone else posts in response to this. I didn't see a button to alert me if there is another post to look at. Originally I came by to see if there was a direct contact at Anandtech who may know how to help us in our quest. Reply

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