Plus-sized notebook packs Sandy Bridge Extreme

Do the low-voltage processors in ultrabooks offend your power-hungry sensibilities? Are desktop replacements just not fast enough? Eurocom’s new Panther 4.0 "super-notebook" might be just what the doctor ordered—if the doctor ordered weight training. Inside a 17.3" chassis that tips the scales at just over 12 lbs, the Panther sports not only Intel’s top-of-the-line Sandy Bridge Extreme CPU, but also a pair of MXM slots ready for CrossFire and SLI configurations. Those MXM slots are limited to mobile GPUs, of course, but the CPU is the very same six-core Core i7-3960X found on the desktop.

The Panther is likely to be more at home sitting on a desk than in one’s lap. If the weight doesn’t crush your thighs, the heat thrown off by the chassis will surely cook them. Still, it’s hard not to appreciate the hardware that can be stuffed into the Panther’s oversized, 2.5"-thick frame. In addition to its ample CPU and graphics horsepower, the system can accommodate up to 32GB of RAM, four 2.5" hard drives or SSDs, and an ExpressCard 34/54 device. All the usual wireless amenities are included, and the port complement bristles with three USB 3.0 connectors, FireWire, eSATA, an S/PDIF out, and a whole host of display outputs.

Then there’s the screen, which serves up 1920×1080 pixels with what appears to be a TN panel. Customers have their choice of matte or glossy screen coatings, which is a nice touch, and Eurocom notes that a 3D-ready 120Hz display option is "coming soon." Unfortunately, there’s no mention of future plans for a screen with true 24-bit color.

The lack of chiclets on the Panther’s backlit keyboard gives me hope the thing has a better feel than typical notebook keyboards. However, given the expansive palm rest, I’m a little surprised Eurocom didn’t go with a larger touchpad. There’s no reason to skimp when so much real estate is available, even if most users are going to be using mice.

Eurocom hasn’t revealed how much this beast will cost, so it’s hard to know what sort of value it really offers. At the very least, it should be the most powerful portable PC around. Systems are scheduled to start shipping on March 15, so we’ll have a better sense of the damage soon. I have to admit I’m curious to check one out, if only to see how many minutes the 78Wh battery lasts.

Comments closed
    • brucethemoose
    • 8 years ago

    In a nutshell, it’s an anti-ultrabook!

    This may be useful as a workstation with quadro GPUs, but even 6990M Crossfire (aka 2 under-clocked 6870s in crossfire) can’t stand up to a top end desktop GPU, much less two of them.

    Hmmm, I wonder if you could fit a 7990 in that chassis?

    • Sunburn74
    • 8 years ago

    These systems aren’t really designed for portability and the people who buy them don’t really care about weight or battery life. Rather they are designed for people who don’t have a stable home/city/house/apartment for months at a time but still need the firepower for work/gaming etc. People who bounce around from worksite to worksite are the types who I’ve seen buy these things. I used to work for a company where the engineers were sent out into the field for 2-3 months at a time living exclusively in hotels inside or outside a small town in the state. Then they would come home for a nice 2-3 month break and rinse and repeat. This sort of system functions as a portable desktop not as a laptop at all.

    Another example are guys who work on offshore rigs. Or guys in the military. And etc. Lots of jobs require long periods away from home and honestly whilst I love my HP envy and etc, it really isn’t a desktop replacement machine. If I had a job that required me to live in ahotel for 3 months at a time, yeah I’d consider one of these beastie machines too if it truly meant I could have a quality gaming experience on the road.

      • ew
      • 8 years ago

      Thanks! I was just about to ask what the point of this was.

      • CB5000
      • 8 years ago

      I had one of this class of portable desktops 12 years ago. Had a 700 Mhz P3, 512MB of ram, and windows 2000 on it. At the time it was just about the fastest portable desktop… and it weighed 14 pounds with the batteries and everything on it. It was fun carrying that around the hilly RPI campus in NY, quite the work out haha…

    • Rageypoo
    • 8 years ago

    I just have to ask…

    Why?

    A regular sandy bridge works just as good as this processor, this is seriously…stupid.

    • moose17145
    • 8 years ago

    I think its funny when people complain about the weight of large notebooks like this one. It’s only like 13 pounds…. if you can’t handle that… you seriously need to work out more cause 13 pounds really is not that much weight. But maybe I am just used to lugging around heavy bags…

    I know when I have only my laptop in any of my laptop bags along with only a single textbook (even if its my largest one), the two combined still weighs more than this thing does, and the bag feels downright light to me. If a simple over the shoulder strapped laptop bag feels heavy with something this large in it, buy a backpack style laptop/notebook case which will evenly distribute the weight across your back and set the shoulder straps to the CORRECT length, then moving this thing around really shouldn’t feel heavy at all (if the backpack is hanging in front of your @$$ and feels like its pulling on your back weird then the shoulder straps are too long and you need to shorten them…).

    The only real issue I ever have with notebooks of this power is the lack of battery life, not the “lack of mobility”.

      • GTVic
      • 8 years ago

      That would be 15lbs including the power brick which is probably the size of a netbook. A large percentage of people would consider this too heavy for every day transportation. If you need a sherpa to help you remove the backpack then it is luggable, not portable.

        • moose17145
        • 8 years ago

        I would hardly say at 15 pounds that this requires a sherpa to help you move it around and get your backpack on and off… but honestly i don’t see 15 pounds as that much weight… compared to much of the other stuff I need to carry every day, if it only totaled up to 20 pounds it would be a blessing cause that’d be about a good 20+ pounds less than what i carry on a daily basis. I just find it odd how people act like a 15 pound notebook is comparable to a 120-150 pound rucksack…

        Many people i know have laptops of this size and weight and carry them around all day long with no issues other than the low battery life. Don’t get me wrong, I understand wanting a light weight laptop with longer battery life if you are carrying it every day and using it mostly for business purposes… but on the other hand i just don’t understand how people think that carrying a 20 pound laptop bag is SOOO heavy… for example my girlfriends purse weighs more than this thing does… and she carries that thing around like its nothing all day long and she only weighs like 110 pounds…

      • tone21705
      • 8 years ago

      I love the extra comment on what defines a low hanging backpack. Thank you.

        • moose17145
        • 8 years ago

        Yea drives me nuts when i see people walking around with their dang backpacks hanging directly in front of their butt, fully loaded down with books, and then complain that their bag is so heavy and is screwing up their back… yea wonder why… ever try wearing that thing correctly?!? just saying… it might help some…

        A pure observation… it tends to be the same people wearing their pants around their knees acting like they are all gangsta…

      • malicious
      • 8 years ago

      It’s not a matter of whether people are physically able to move 10+ pound laptops, more like the extra weight is unnecessary inconvenience when machines 1/2 to 1/3 as heavy are sufficiently powerful unless heavy-duty gaming on the move is a requirement.

      My personal limit for a mobile computer is about 6 pounds with the ideal balance between performance and weight in the 4-5 range. Any heavier and it’s likely to be left in one spot, which largely defeats the purpose of a laptop, or I grab something easier to move around with and more comfortable to use when there isn’t a proper desk(couch, bed, subway, airport, plane, etc.).

        • paulWTAMU
        • 8 years ago

        And taking one that size on an airplane is just a royal PITA

    • MadManOriginal
    • 8 years ago

    60% of the time it works every time.

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 8 years ago

    Seeing such a large premium laptop begs the question, why not a larger/better touchpad???

      • odizzido
      • 8 years ago

      The people who designed it probably figured you would have a mouse plugged in 99% of the time since it’s actually a desktop stuffed into a small case with a screen attached.

    • PrincipalSkinner
    • 8 years ago

    This beastie will cook more than just thighs! Ham and eggs more like it. 😀

      • tay
      • 8 years ago

      Gross haha.

    • chuckula
    • 8 years ago

    Smart or sneaky marketing: They describe this system as having a BUILT IN UPS!!!1ONE!!

    Which is a euphemistic way of saying that it has a battery (duh)… with a very short life that is just long enough to move this monster between two closely located power outlets.

      • khands
      • 8 years ago

      A built in UPS is probably a more apt way of describing its battery life though.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 8 years ago

    bringing [s<]the sexy[/s<] luggable computing back.

    • safghtjrtj
    • 8 years ago
      • Duck
      • 8 years ago
    • Arclight
    • 8 years ago

    If this can be called a notebook i think i need someone to explain me what defines a notebook and how is it diffrenet from a laptop. I was thought that the term notebook is not interchangeable with laptop because they have essentially different form factors and thus allow for different categories of hardware. Laptops being bigger they allow for things like replaceable video card, many USB ports and so on, while notebooks being thinner allow mostly on integrated parts and minimalist connectivity.
    So is “notebook” just a fancy marketing term for thin laptop?

      • Deanjo
      • 8 years ago

      Notebook=laptop=portable

      There is no industry accepted standard as to what defines either other then they have a battery, keyboard and display in one assembly.

        • Arclight
        • 8 years ago

        So why have so many terms if no one bothers to make a difference between them. After all Intel wants to push the term “Ultrabooks”

          • Peldor
          • 8 years ago

          I understand. Jurassic Park scared be too. The thesaurus is a terrible beast.

            • Arclight
            • 8 years ago

            [quote<]I understand. Jurassic Park scared be too. The thesaurus is a terrible beast.[/quote<] I don't even...."scared be too"?

            • Peldor
            • 8 years ago

            Me myself and I. *shudder*

            • NeelyCam
            • 8 years ago

            Don’t let a silly typo make you miss the point of the joke.

          • Deanjo
          • 8 years ago

          Marketing, marketing, marketing. Someone along the way decided that notebook would convey the approximate size of their portable machine.

          • willyolio
          • 8 years ago

          allow me to introduce to you my good friend, the synonym! He also goes by the name of equivalent or analogue.

            • Arclight
            • 8 years ago

            That’s false since they marketed the terms to have slightly different meanings. You would make today a difference between a phone and a smartphone right? Both of them are phones, but one can run more demading apps…..the difference exists, otherwise they would both be considered smartphones….but they aren’t. Partial synonym? I can conside to that.

      • bhtooefr
      • 8 years ago

      Notebook describes a clamshell form factor. If the screen hinges open, with the hinges at the rear of the machine, and the screen covers the keyboard when closed, it’s a notebook.

      Laptop describes a use case – a computer can sit on your lap – although many manufacturers are going away from using “laptop” altogether, due to fear of lawsuits from reduced male fertility and burns and such. That said, not all laptops are notebooks, but given that the last laptops that weren’t notebooks were in the 1980s or so… (think TRS-80 Model 100)

        • Deanjo
        • 8 years ago

        The Model 100 was marketed as a “portable computer” not a “laptop”.

        [url<]http://file.vintageadbrowser.com/ol3fs9lmtwopm5.jpg[/url<]

          • scottsmoron
          • 8 years ago

          I loved that thing! Friend had it. I was still hoping for one of the desktops with dual 8″ floppy drives!

      • derFunkenstein
      • 8 years ago

      You wouldn’t want to use much more than an ultra-portable on your lap today anyway; even mainstream 35W CPUs get awfully warm on your lap.

      • Bensam123
      • 8 years ago

      Not sure why you got rated down for a decent question…

    • hiro_pro
    • 8 years ago

    As if my sciatica weren’t bad enough. Now I have to lug this beast through the dc metro every day on my commute jut so I can get a little gaming in at work…

      • Kurotetsu
      • 8 years ago

      [quote=”hiro_pro”<]Now I have to lug this beast through the dc metro every day on my commute--[/quote<] Wait, you do this with a desktop replacement? Have you considered that perhaps you're doing something wrong?

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