Clevo P750ZM: Potent DTR

Similar to the MSI GT72, the Clevo P750ZM / Eurocom P5 Pro is a top performance notebook with a price to match. For the vast majority of users, I think it makes more sense to pick up the MSI GT72 or some other notebook, but if you can use the extra CPU performance and you’re not willing to go with the LGA2011 DTRs (e.g. Clevo P570WM3) – or if you want as much CPU performance as possible in a 15.6” chassis – then the P750ZM can make sense. Being a desktop replacement, the usual caveats apply: battery life takes a big hit, and the system is definitely not a thin and light laptop. But it packs performance and tops nearly all of our benchmark charts.

For gamers looking just at frame rates, something like the P750ZM doesn’t really make that much sense – even though there are times where it outperforms the GT72 in our tests, it’s often less than a 5% difference. Running at lower quality settings can result in a larger margin of victory, but then we’re looking at frame rates well above the 60Hz most laptops run at. The real reason to go for the P750ZM over the GT72 is pretty simple: there aren’t any HiDPI displays available for the GT72, and in fact just finding a decent IPS display will require you to shell out $3000+.

Testing the 4K Sharp IGZO display shows that there are good reasons to shell out an extra $300-$400 for the display upgrade, but at the same time 4K is often too much for a single 980M in games and scaling issues continue to be a concern. A middle ground 3K or even 2560x1440 IPS display would probably be a more sensible option, but then finding a 3K or 2.5K display that can match the 4K IGZO might not be possible. While the 4K displays may not be perfect, though, they’re probably the next best thing. You can still get HiDPI and the best quality display the P750ZM supports and deal with DPI scaling and reduced performance at native resolution, or you can run at 2560x1440 with non-native resolution for gaming (it’s actually not that bad, since the pixels are hard to see with the naked eye).

For Eurocom, it’s also important to point out that they’re now offering GPU MXM upgrades for a variety of notebooks – you don’t even need to own a Eurocom system. Right now the GTX 980M is the fastest mobile GPU around, and if you happen to own an older notebooks like an Alienware M17x R4 they’ll sell you a 980M upgrade for…$891. Okay, that’s a lot of money, but the M17x R4 is still a capable system so you could upgrade from a GTX 680M to the fastest mobile GPU, skipping two generations of mobile GPUs in the process. Provided Eurocom keeps offering this service, in a couple more years you should be able to go from the GTX 980M and jump the Pascal architecture to whatever NVIDIA does next.

Ultimately, the P750ZM like all DTR notebooks is going to involve compromise. You have to decide that battery life (two hours or less) and weight (over 10 pounds with the AC adapter) is less important than performance, but if you’re willing to make that trade I don’t have any other complaints. The industrial design might not wow as much as a MacBook Retina or Razer Blade 14, but when it comes time to fire up a game or run some heavy number crunching, the P750ZM excels. I’m happy that the keyboard layout and feel as well as the touchpad all work well, and the cooling system is able to keep up with the power hungry components. With a starting price of $2000 the Eurocom P5 Pro is a serious investment, but it’s a solid notebook that should keep chugging for years to come.

Clevo P750ZM Thermals and Noise
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  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, March 11, 2015 - link

    I suppose Intel can keep with Z97, but I wouldn't be at all surprised to see a new chipset -- this is Intel after all. When we were on LGA 775 forever, Intel had something like six chipsets. A few companies like ASRock even supported Core 2 and such on old "P4 only" chipset. I'm trying to think of any new CPU from Intel that didn't have a new chipset released around the same time -- not that a new chipset was always required, but it has always been available. I'm sure someone can remember a time or two when that wasn't the case, though. :-) Reply
  • will54 - Wednesday, March 11, 2015 - link

    P751ZM has the same components but in a 17" form factor. I'm sure they will update both machines with broadwell when the time comes for them to be released. Reply
  • bji - Tuesday, March 10, 2015 - link

    Beveled corners on keyboard keys are a FEATURE. It's one of the subtle ways that one's fingers feel their placement on keys. I find Apple keyboards disconcerting because they lack these bevels and my fingers had an awfully hard time adjusting to my rMBP keyboard at first. Still prefer almost any other keyboard to the rMBP keyboard but I've come to tolerate it and be reasonably proficient on it.

    Don't knock Clevo for being clever enough to actually include bevelled keys!
    Reply
  • Sushisamurai - Tuesday, March 10, 2015 - link

    yeah, i actually prefer bevelled keys to chic-let style keys. I was a little dismayed when my 15" MBP in 2008/2009 was refreshed with chic-let keys and the removal of a dedicated trackpad button. I certainly bang the right side of my hinged trackpad more than the left, and it's starting to show on my current MBP with a slight depression on the right side :( Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, March 10, 2015 - link

    I wasn't trying to ding them, merely pointing out the difference in look and feel. As I said, I don't find the keyboard to be dramatically different from other laptop keyboards, which is generally a good thing. Then again, I can type fine on a variety of keyboards without complaining much. I just find it interesting how after going to chiclet keys for a while, we're now seeing keyboards start to look a bit more like the older beveled keys from years back. Reply
  • bji - Thursday, March 12, 2015 - link

    Agreed. I was just reading about the new Macbook on the Apple site and they're actually advertising that the keys on the new keyboard are more concave for exactly the reason I mentioned. Since the industry often follows Apple I expect deeper concavity to become the new chiclet style keyboard norm, which will be welcome. Reply
  • Sushisamurai - Tuesday, March 10, 2015 - link

    Overall pretty cool review, I wish they had/gave you a 1080p with 120Hz refresh display to test. Overall, I think 120Hz refresh is a better option/upgrade than 4K, as viewing movies and other media has a nice "smooth" effect. Reply
  • Sushisamurai - Tuesday, March 10, 2015 - link

    errr... where's that edit button. I'm really looking forward to that overlocking article. I wonder if it's actually viable in a 15" chassis. That being said, is the i7-4790K removable/user replaceable? It's not soldered to the MB is it? Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, March 10, 2015 - link

    Correct, LGA1150 (Haswell) desktop parts are all socketed; there are certain soldered down SKUs like the i7-4770R, but that's an OEM only part.

    Regarding overclocking, the CPU is already tapped out, but with the right BIOS and drivers (and with the cooling fans at 100%), you can get a substantial boost in performance. I've seen some people claiming "stable" performance at +350 core and +500 RAM, but at least on my sample notebook that's not remotely likely. +225 core and +350 RAM on the other hand passed all the benchmarks I threw at it.
    Reply
  • D2ultima - Wednesday, March 11, 2015 - link

    It is not soldered, and is change-able.

    Clevo machines pride themselves on easy user access to parts and upgrade-ability (even if the BIOS doesn't always support a new video card... but that's what Prema is for).

    Also, the 120Hz screen you want does not exist. Only four 1080p 120Hz panels exist between 13.3" and 18.4" and all four are 17.3" panels. One 16.5" 900p 120Hz panel exists, but would not fit in that. All other existing 120Hz panels are in the vicinity of 720p and 768p in resolution and ALL twelve 120Hz panels in the size range I listed above are discontinued.

    Nobody cared for 120Hz enough, so they didn't sell well enough to keep production.
    Reply

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