Many people have no desire for anything other than a moderately fast laptop -- in fact, these people are certainly the majority by a huge margin. They would rather have reasonable performance and improved battery life, preferably in a package that doesn't weigh as much as a small car. On the other hand, there are users out there who want as much performance as possible in a mobile workstation. If you happen to be a member of the latter group, various companies are about to launch a substantially faster mobile behemoth.

The first we heard of this new laptop is courtesy of Eurocom, who will begin shipping their new Phantom-i7 sometime in April. We snagged images off their website, which you can see in the following gallery.

If that laptop looks familiar, you might recognize it as the descendent of the Clevo D901C that we first looked at in August 2008. While the exterior looks about the same, the inside has received some notable upgrades. In place of desktop Core 2 Duo/Quad processors, the new D900F will support Core i7 desktop processors, up to and including the Core i7 965. That means in addition to a quad-core processor -- able to run eight threads courtesy of with Hyper-Threading -- you also get triple-channel DDR3 memory support via three SO-DIMM slots capable of supporting up to 12GB of DDR3-1333 memory. In addition, graphics have been upgraded to support the latest mobile NVIDIA GPUs, including dual GTX 280M cards in SLI.

Other areas remain essentially unchanged from the D901C. Three 2.5" hard drives are still supported, along with RAID 0/1/5, allowing up to 1.5 TB of storage with the latest laptop hard drives. Sadly, the keyboard also remains unchanged, which means you get perhaps the most unintuitive 10-key layout we've ever used. Clevo seriously needs to rethink the keyboard design -- Dell's XPS M1730 layout would be a good place to start.

Is this sort of notebook overkill? For some, certainly, but if you happen to need the ability to perform demonstrations of CAD/CAM/CAE, 3D rendering, video processing, or other professional applications away from the office on a regular basis, a mobile workstation is far more convenient than trying to haul around a 30+ pound desktop chassis. Pricing has not been announced, but it's a safe bet that these notebooks will start at well over $3000. You can view additional details of the system on Eurocom's website. The full text of the press release is included below.

UPDATE: So apparently there was some confusion on my part with the information sent. I'm leaving the original text, but there's plenty of errors that need to be corrected. First, the images above are NOT from the D900F but instead show the original D90xC chassis. Changes have been made, which means that the final product will look different from the above and have some other spec changes. Eurocom informed me that they are looking to support four physical hard drives, but it's not clear if that will really happen. Second, the D900F will have an HDMI port (presumably along with DVI) and an eSATA port. Finally, the D900F is not yet confirmed to support SLI (or CrossFire). Below is an image courtesy of Gophn at the NotebookReview forums. Now if you'll pardon me, I have some egg to wipe off my face....


An actual picture of the D900F

March 1, 2009

Eurocom launches World's First i7 Notebook with Intel i7 Quad Core and Xeon Processors; 1GB NVIDIA GeForce Go GTX 280M or Quadro FX3700M; 1.5TB of storage with RAID 0/1/5 for On-the-Road Mobile Workstation or Mobile Server use.

The World's First workstation and server-class notebook with Intel i7 Quad Core or XEON processor; 1.5 Terabytes of storage, RAID 5 and internal 1 hour Battery!

Eurocom, the world's leading developer of highly personalized, high-performance notebook PCs and energy efficient All-in-One PCs, introduced the EUROCOM D901C PHANTOM-i7 Mobile Workstation/Server powered by Intel's newest line of Quad Core and XEON LGA1366 processors.

EUROCOM PHANTOM-i7 provides workstation and server-caliber capabilities with 1.5 Terabytes of storage with three physical SATA-300 hard drives and RAID 0/1/5, super-powerful 3.2GHz Intel Core i7 Processor Extreme Edition I7-965; 3.2GHz XEON X5580 processors running at 2x 6.4GT/sec bus speed or 2.93GHz Intel Core i7 Processor I-940 running at 4.8GT/sec with 8MB L3 cache, Gigabit Ethernet port on-board, HDMI, eSATA, DVI ports, with a 17" WUXGA LCD display and full size keyboard.

Featuring workstation-class or server-class Intel Core i7 or Xeon Processor and up to 16GB of DDR3-1366 memory, the D900F PHANTOM-i7 also features the largest storage capacity on the market today - a whopping 1.5TB with RAID 0/1/5 - making it the perfect mobile workstation or server laptop for users who demand extra-large capacity storage and reliability for true portable server / workstation experience.

EUROCOM PHANTOM-i7 supports most of 64-bit operating systems available on the market for XP Pro 64-bit, Vista 64-bit or Microsoft Server 2008 and Red Hat.

Driving the system is Intel Core i7 the newest 130W 3.2GHz Extreme Edition i7-965 processor with bus speeds of up to 2x 6.4GT/sec and 8MB of L3 cache, which delivers exceptional multi-tasking and multi-threaded performance. It also supports the newest line of Intel Core i7 Xeon processors X55xx series.

The PHANTOM-i7, which measures 15.8" x 11.9" x 2.05" and weights under 12lbs, also supplies tremendous SATA-300 storage (up to 1.5TB using three hard drives). Customers may also choose between RAID 0, RAID 1 or RAID 5 for the ultimate transfer rates and application load times or redundancy.

"It's a server or workstation-caliber computer complete with built-in Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS) in a 12pounds notebook form factor," said Mark Bialic, President of Eurocom. "This is one extremely fast notebook that offers server or workstation caliber capabilities. It is designed to replace traditional desktop based workstations. It offers incredible high ROI by allowing companies to be more productive and offer new "on the go" CAD/CAM services while greatly reducing overall IT management costs".

Definition of Mobile Workstation

Mobile Workstation is a new category of notebooks designed to replace a desktop-based workstation for a professional user. With unrivalled power, unsurpassed features and portability, the Mobile Workstation is the ultimate evolution of the Desktop Replacement notebook. With the release of mobile workstations, Eurocom has taken the next step in the evolution of the desktop replacement by combining workstation like features, power and flexibility with desktop replacement technology. Mobile Workstation is the most powerful notebook on the market. With the arrival of 64-bit Operating System technology, mobile workstations run two times faster 64-bit applications than 32-bit desktop PCs. Featuring the most innovative computer technologies, they are engineered for the highest quality, best performance, long-term stability and serviceability. As a single computing solution, mobile workstation provides a perfect alternative to a traditional workstation class desktop computer system.

EUROCOM High-End Mobile Workstations

EUROCOM mobile workstations are designed specifically for high-end professional and graphics users demanding maximum performance and power when running professional applications such as CAD/CAM/CAE, 3D animation, 3D simulation, engineering, financial simulations, math, forensic, 3D imaging, mapping and charting, satellite image processing, GIS, or medical software, or graphics work.

Key Benefits of Mobile Workstations

  • Reduced IT Management costs (one piece of equipment to move around)
  • Improved Productivity (anytime, anywhere)
  • Increased Revenue Growth (allows introduction of new services, i.e. CAD/CAM/CAE consulting/training on-the-go)
  • Improved reliability of data (internal battery = built-in UPS)
  • Reduced equipment cost (single computer solution)
  • Reduced litigation costs due to intellectual properties rights (out-of-the office consulting)

Specific Vertical Markets:

  • Aerospace (CAM/CAE/CAD)
  • Car Manufacturing
  • Architecture
  • Education (Departments of Architecture, Engineering, Geography, Animation, Video Production; GIS)
  • Financial sector
  • Forensic (i.e. FBI)
  • Governments (Department of Fisheries and Oceans; Army; Navy; Public Works/Engineering; GIS)
  • Military (Mapping, Charting, Imaging, Navigation)
  • Medical (Imaging)
  • Software Development (Databases, CRM, Operating)
  • Training

Mobile workstations feature the most advanced computer technology, such as:

  • High-performance Processors: Intel Core i7 Extreme Edition or XEON processors
  • 64-bit hardware and multiple operating systems support (Windows Pro 64, Vista64, Server2008, Red Hat)
  • 16 GB of high performance memory,
  • Up to 1.5GB of storage with multiple high performance SATA-300 hard
  • RAID 0/1/5 for extra performance, data redundancy or automatic backups
  • High performance VGA graphics including NVIDIA's SLI GTX 280M
  • Up to 1GB of video and the fastest graphics with OpenGL NVIDIA Quadro FX3700
  • Large displays (17" or 18.4") in a portable form factor
  • Blu Ray and DVD Burning on the go
  • High Performance 1 Gigabit LAN on-board and support for 2nd 1Gigabit LAN interface
  • 102-key desktop-like full size keyboards with separate numeric keypad
  • Multiple I/O Ports: 4 or 5 USB 2.0 ports, FireWire ports, serial and parallel ports, DVI ports for multiple external monitors, S-Video In ports for digital video cameras, media card readers, Optical digital and analog audio I/O, built-in microphone and stereo speakers
  • Excellent Wireless: internal up to 450Mbps WLAN 802.11a/b/g/n and Bluetooth 2.0
  • Internal battery allows uninterrupted operation in case of power failure.
  • Excellent Surround Sound System with SRS WOW technology
  • Optional internal TV Tuner for Digital and/or Analog Video Input
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  • Azsen - Wednesday, March 4, 2009 - link

    For my next power laptop for games I'd be happy with the following:

    64 bit OS
    Intel's 32nm Mobile Nehalem (quad core)
    4 GB RAM
    Fastest Nvidia Mobile graphics card at the time (forget SLI in laptops at the moment, makes them too bulky)
    2 x fast Raid 0/1 SSD drives (Even <160GB would be fine. If I want more, I'll hook it up to an external drive at slower speed.)
    17" screen with maybe DVI & HDMI external outputs, for playing TV & movies on PC
    Good audio chip on mainboard
    12 cell battery
    Slim and as light as you can get it with a nice keyboard as well.
    Reply
  • TechDicky - Wednesday, March 4, 2009 - link

    holy craptastic... four fans or not, could you imagine trying to use that on your lap? forget your legs, can you imagine using this on most surfaces? platic, wood, it looks like it may well burn, bubble or peel anything but a metal desk surface. But hey, if you live in a hella cold environment you have a space heater and a notebook built into a single device... Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, March 4, 2009 - link

    You might want to look at the results of our [l=D901C testing]http://www.anandtech.com/mobile/showdoc.aspx?i=339...[l]. I didn't record temperatures, but the D901C was noticeably cooler than the other gaming notebooks. Why? It's simply so large that it's more like a micro-ATX than a laptop. Those four heatsinks for the CPU, chipset, and GPUs are about twice the size of cooling solutions on other gaming notebooks, and they really do get the job done.

    Now, I'm *NOT* saying you want to run with this thing sitting on your lap; like any high-end notebook, that can get very warm. However, given the choice between putting the Alienware m15x and the D901C on my lap, if we're just talking about temperatures while running games (or other 3D apps), I'd take the D901C. The D900F should be roughly the same, as it sits in the same thermal/power envelope as the previous model.
    Reply
  • Gul Westfale - Wednesday, March 4, 2009 - link

    this is an idiotic machine, and for those of you who think that eurocom is a european company, it is not. it's actually canadian, so don't hold this idiocy against us... blame canada.

    as for why it is idiotic:

    - core i7: many laptops will have this in a few months
    - 64-bit and multiple operating system support: pretty much every computer sold in the last couple of years has this.
    - GTX280M: a rebranded G92, not a G200 derivative.
    - bluray burner: can already get this now
    - gigabit onboard LAN: why is this even mentioned?? of course it's gigabit (like most PCs these days) and evidently it's onboard...
    - I/O ports: looks like a pretty standard selection to me
    - "excellent" wireless is really the same as everyone else's wireless
    - "Internal battery allows uninterrupted operation in case of power failure": ah so THAT is what that battery in my toshiba is for! i never knew! thank you for clearing that up!

    i'm gonna go browse the arima/compal sites now to see if i can find the OEM chassis this thing is surely built into.


    Reply
  • Griswold - Thursday, March 5, 2009 - link

    Alright then, numbnuts. Why exactly is it idiotic? Your little list of what other laptops also offer doesnt cut it because that is true for any fucking laptop/notebook out there. Any real arguments? Reply
  • chrnochime - Wednesday, March 4, 2009 - link

    I stopped taking you seriously after the "blame canada" part. For someone who think he's so smart WTH are you spending precious time trying to justify why this is idiotic anyway??

    Reply
  • tshen83 - Wednesday, March 4, 2009 - link

    Very true assessment of the platform.

    The mobile market will likely get Nehalem based mobile chips from Intel within the year, even on 32nm manufacturing lines. So the TDP of the chips will likely be within 35W unlike the 130W TDP of the i7 or 60,80,95W of the Xeons.

    This isn't a gaming platform. Stuffing 2x GPUs on the go is freaking stupid. I do see the Clavo D900F as the engineering platform for those of you who can't wait for Intel's 32nm Mobile Nehalem derivatives. Even then, there is only one CPU from Intel's Nehalem line that makes sense, the Xeon L5520 at 60W TDP. This is the sweetest chip from Intel's current lineup and I do expect the chip to be in very short supply.

    Wait till christmas this year, you will likely get dual channel DDR3-1333 based mobile Nehalem for 35W TDPs.
    Reply
  • atlmann10 - Wednesday, March 4, 2009 - link

    Go to Ava Direct if you want the chassis,I'm sure they have it. However, as for the four fans and the GPU you'll probably have to work that out solo. I imagine the I7 MB and laptop capable CPU would be the hardest part to get. Of course it does look like there doing a desktop direct adaptation. The thing that would worry me would be the cooling of it all. Rofl and as for the memory my Gateway FX 7811 supports it, of course I may have to crack the bios to get it to run at full speed. Of course that's not really a major task these days. I don't really see the use in having this much in a laptop when there are less pricey units that can do it. Heck if I upped my CPU and installed the max supportable ram and flipped the drivers on my 9800 GTS to the workstation model gpu driver mine would come close, but it is'nt dual GPU! I see this thing mostly as a waste though. Think about it grab a transportable HD throw your files onn it and go to the clients office and load it up on the engineering workstation you could most likely even port it to a bigger screen, most offices are setup for that now with a projector and a drop down screen like you saw in high school what 15 years ago. I see this as an extravagant joke mainly! Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, March 4, 2009 - link

    It's a Clevo D900F chassis, as mentioned in at least two places, so AVA Direct and a bunch of other places will have it as an option as well. The majority clearly think this is a waste, but with Quadro cards, dual-link DVI, 12GB RAM, and a Core i7 this would easily be the fastest mobile workstation presently in production. It may be that only .1% of computer users need something like that, but that's still potentially thousands of sales... all at a nice price because of the target market.

    I also don't think anyone actually doing professional level work for their job (Pro/E, SolidWorks, etc.) is going to be interested in running hacked drivers that may or may not cause issues. I can just see some company charging millions of dollars to a client telling their IT department to "just get a cheap Gateway laptop and install the hacked Quadro drivers... it will save us over $1000!"
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, March 4, 2009 - link

    "grab a transportable HD throw your files on it and go to the clients office and load it up on the engineering workstation you could most likely even port it to a bigger screen..."

    What happens if you happen to be visiting a client and you want to show them a demo, and they don't use the same software? Or perhaps they're not an engineering firm and they're using you for exactly that reason. "Hey, you guys got a workstation with AutoCAD on it so I can show you the schematics?" "Uh... what's AutoCAD? We hired you because we don't do this sort of thing." "Oh, well then let me see if I can just get a pirated version off the 'net...." Or they might be using version 8.1 and you're running the latest 10.0 release, so the files aren't backwards compatible. Or you load it up on their system and for some unknown reason it crashes.

    Hooking up a laptop to a projector or large screen in a conference room is a ton easier than lugging a workstation in there. Moreover, if you're doing an important presentation, the last thing you want is for some unforeseen issue with the computer to cause the whole thing to blow up in your face. As someone that supported some very demanding upper management folks over the years, you do NOT take chances on that sort of thing. You test it on your own computer, make sure everything works fine, and you don't suddenly decide to use a different PC at the last minute. I had a VP screaming at me because the laptop he was going to use for a presentation went belly-up a few hours before he was scheduled to go live... and that was just a silly PowerPoint file that ran without a hitch on a different laptop. When someone earns well into the six figure range, a $5000 mobile workstation that helps them do their job better, purchased once every 2-3 years, is hardly a major expenditure.
    Reply

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