Eurocom P5 Pro / Clevo P750ZM Review: True DTRby Jarred Walton on March 10, 2015 10:00 AM EST
Clevo P750ZM: Subjective Evaluation
I’ve harped on Clevo in the past for some questionable design aesthetics, and I’m glad to report that at least the P750ZM is heading in the right direction. It’s not going to win any beauty contests I don’t think, but for all the performance it offers it actually looks quite nice. It’s also impressive to see a full DTR system stuffed into a 15.6” chassis, as in the past it has often required a 17.3” chassis to achieve sufficient cooling.
The P750ZM comes decked in black, which is generally a safe bet for a gaming notebook, and it includes a soft-touch coating on the palm rest and LCD cover. The chassis is primarily constructed of plastic, and while that may not be as attractive as machined aluminum it still gets the job done. Plastic has the added benefit of not conducting a bunch of heat into the surfaces where your hands and fingers will feel the effects.
Getting to the more subjective elements, the keyboard and touchpad are one of the better Clevo implementations. That’s good because I’ve seen way too many Clevo notebooks over the years where they mess up one of these areas. The 10-key has a pretty standard layout, with my only gripe being the half-size zero key (which means if you’re not careful you’ll often hit the right arrow instead of zero). That’s really the only layout issue to speak of, and I definitely appreciate the dedicated document navigation keys at the top-right (Home, End, etc.)
The shape of the keys on the other hand is different than most current laptops. I don’t know that they’re any worse than regular chiclet style keys, but I also wouldn’t say they’re clearly better. The main change is that the keys have beveled corners. I think the idea is to create a bit more of a distinct separation between adjacent keys, and they look a bit like the old-school keyboards from eight or so years back.
Typing on the Clevo P750ZM keyboard is pretty much standard fare for a modern laptop. I've pounded out the majority of the text for this article on the laptop and I haven’t had any complaints. The keys have a moderate amount of travel – a bit less than you might expect from a desktop replacement but nothing that creates any problems for me personally. The key action is quite soft, so there's no clickiness to speak of, and there's also no issues with key wobble that I can comment on. While this doesn’t necessarily sound like high praise for the keyboard, there's not a lot to be said on the subject unless something is truly off. In this case Clevo is on the right side of the fence with regards to the keyboard feel, which is always good.
For the touchpad, Clevo uses a Synaptics Touchpad V7.5 solution. Synaptics has a lot of other hardware options, some better and some worse; for the target audience I think the inclusion of dedicated mouse buttons and the decision to eschew going the clickpad route is the right one. For general use, the touchpad works fine, and it includes the usual multitouch gestures. The palm rejection also works well and I haven't encountered any problems with the mouse cursor skipping around on the screen while typing. Similar to the keyboard, this might not come across as high praise, but more importantly there's nothing to condemn. It's a bit sad that the state of affairs with notebooks has to start with me hoping companies don't screw up fundamental elements like the keyboard and mouse, but we've seen plenty of otherwise good notebooks over the years that do exactly that.
One of the potential highlights of the P750ZM is going to be the display options. People generally fall into two camps these days: those that think HiDPI displays are the future and those that prefer something more usable in the present. Eurocom (Clevo) offers solutions for both types of user, with three 1080p display options and two more 4K options.
Our specific notebook shipped with their top display option, a 4K Sharp IGZO panel that looks great. With a GTX 980M beating at the heart of the notebook, there's even a possibility that it will actually be able to handle games at the native resolution, but truth be told you're better off setting your sights on 1080p or perhaps 1440p (2.5K) or 3K instead. Anyway, display quality is certainly good, and other than DPI scaling issues (which unfortunately have affected more than a few games), the default configuration should please most users. Calibrating the display further improves the situation to the point where most professionals would be happy, though there are still a few colors that don't quite calibrate properly.
Moving on, speaker quality is good though nothing particularly noteworthy. The speakers can get reasonably loud, enough that watching movies with friends shouldn’t be too difficult – unless your friends are really loud – but not enough that you can really fill a larger room. There’s also no NVIDIA Optimus Technology present, as this is a desktop chipset and platform, and there’s no option to switch to the Intel processor graphics. It’s not a huge issue for a DTR, but battery life takes a hit as we’ll see later – pretty much we’re looking at two hours max, at least with a 4K display.
Moving to the internals, the bottom cover comes off quite easily. There are four screws to remove, and then the back half slides out and reveals the cooling arrangement, one of the M.2 slots, and two of the SO-DIMM slots. There’s a second smaller cover with two more screws that also slides out the front, providing access to the other M.2 slot as well as the two 2.5” drive bays. There are two more SO-DIMM slots on the other side of the mainboard (under the keyboard), which is unfortunately far less convenient to access.
It would be nice if the system integrators (Eurocom in this case) populated those hard to access SO-DIMM slots first, as it would make it easier for users to upgrade to four DIMMs later if desired. You can always buy 32GB RAM up front and just not worry about it, but the Corsair Vengeance used in our test system can be purchased for $165 per 2x8GB, so there’s a significant price premium if you have Eurocom install 32GB memory.
Checking out the cooling arrangement, it’s interesting that the CPU cooling has five heatpipes whereas the GPU cooling side has four, with two of the heatpipes being shared between the CPU and GPU sides. NVIDIA usually rates their top mobile GPUs at around 100-120W power draw, so you’d expect the 980M would require more cooling than the CPU, but in practice there doesn’t seem to be any issue with the current arrangement. In fact, under load the CPU gets hotter than the GPU (at least going by internal temperatures).
Keep in mind that the Devil’s Canyon i7-4790K is a 22nm chip with a die size of 177 mm2, while the GM204 in the GTX 980M is built on TSMC’s 28nm process and measures a whopping 398 mm2 by comparison, so even though the 980M can consume more power the heat is spread out over a much larger area. We’ll look at thermals later in this article, and I’ve also been working on some overclocking testing (yes, of both the CPU and GPU – with older 344.75 drivers of course), but for now let’s just say that there’s a decent amount of cooling headroom available if you want to push things.
Overall, the Clevo P750ZM chassis is a good design for a DTR. It’s really quite impressive just how much performance we can now stuff into a 7.5 pound 15.6” chassis. Remember the old Clevo D900F? That was truly a beast, weighing in at nearly 12 pounds – and with “only” a 220W power brick. If you’re interested in something that’s more capable of running on battery power at times, I’d say the MSI GT72 Dominator Pro is still the better option, as you can turn off the GTX 980M and end up with nearly six hours of battery life when needed. Clevo also has their updated P670SG and P650SG that compete with the GT72, though it looks like MSI wins for battery life (~6 vs. ~4 hours for the P650SG, anecdotally). But if you want the fastest system with a single GTX 980M right now, well, let’s hit the benchmarks and see just how fast the P750ZM can go.
Post Your CommentPlease log in or sign up to comment.
View All Comments
JarredWalton - Tuesday, March 10, 2015 - linkCorrect I believe: AFAIK, NVIDIA requires a mobile chipset to enable Optimus. I don't think there's any technical reason why they couldn't do it on a desktop chipset, but then even if it was supported Clevo likely wouldn't have enabled this as it's a high-end notebook.
boeush - Tuesday, March 10, 2015 - linkI must be going crazy... but why is it nobody asks or comments about availability of screens with a non-16x9 aspect ratio?? A machine claiming to be DESKTOP REPLACEMENT should be usable for more then movie watching. How the hell is one supposed to work on documents or do any serious coding where the VERTICAL real live state is far more valuable than horizontal? Where are 2560x1600 matte 17-18" screens??? Is nobody making them? Is there no demand - am I the only lunatic who dreams of them year after year as if they were some unachievable sci-fi fantasy?
boeush - Tuesday, March 10, 2015 - link*sigh* pardon the stupid typos brought to you courtesy of auto-incorrect on my smartphone... You get the gist though, I hope...
chlamchowder - Tuesday, March 10, 2015 - linkThe Surface Pro 3 has a 3:2 screen.
Yeah, I don't get what's up with the "shortscreen" format. Maybe people just really like scrolling. I miss my first laptop, which had a 4:3 screen.
boeush - Tuesday, March 10, 2015 - linkUnfortunately, Surface Pro 3 isn't what I'd call "desktop replacement". When it comes to the latter, for me at least, anything less than 17" is a joke. On DTR machines I expect a large high-res screen, and a full-size keyboard (not a reused one originally designed for a 15.6" form factor.) Man, I'd KILL for a 4:3 screen on a DTR laptop. But at least 16:10 is the minimum for me; that's where I draw the line. It's why I still haven't upgraded from my ancient DELL M6400: all the newer machines (even ones styled as "mobile workstations"!!) are hopelessly mired in the 16:9 nightmare...
Notmyusualid - Wednesday, March 11, 2015 - link^ Kind of sums up the situation for me too.
kgh00007 - Tuesday, March 10, 2015 - linkNice review! Is there any chance you are going to ger in the 2015 Alienware 15 for review?
D2ultima - Wednesday, March 11, 2015 - linkGlad to see a really nice review of one of these machines that reviews it for the capacity it's designed for, and not just complain about its size or aesthetics. Thanks very much for this Anandtech *gives thumbs up*
mrcaffeinex - Wednesday, March 11, 2015 - linkSince they squeezed a desktop i7 (88W TDP) and a dedicated mobile GPU into one of these things, I am curious if it would be possible for someone to squeeze something like the AMD A10-7800 APU (65W TDP) into a notebook chassis. I would think it could be done, and at a price point that would make it appealing too. Any thoughts?
JarredWalton - Wednesday, March 11, 2015 - linkIt's possible to do it, sure, but the question is whether it's actually worth doing? If you just want a reasonably fast processor, Intel has plenty of mobile parts that can likely match the A10 desktop parts for performance while using less power.
In single-threaded performance, any Core i5 mobile part can beat the A10-7850K. For multi-threaded workloads, the A10-7850K might be a bit faster than a Core i5-4330m, but if so not by much. So you have a higher power APU that will require better cooling and end up delivering less performance. Sure, Graphics is faster than the Intel GPU, but that's not saying much.