capsule review

Eurocom D900C Phantom-X

At a Glance
  • Eurocom D900C Phantom-X

    PCWorld Rating

    Thick, heavy unit with a quad-core processor runs scorchingly fast, remarkably quiet, and cool--but can you afford it?

Billed as the world's first notebook PC with four processing cores--double that of current portables--the Eurocom D900C Phantom-X offers scorching speed. In our tests it was almost 30 percent faster than the average currently tested desktop replacement. The design is good, and the laptop runs remarkably silently and coolly for a portable with a desktop chip inside. On the downside, our review configuration cost $5158 (as of 10/9/07), its battery life was almost nonexistent, and its screen was just too dim.

Our review model came with a 2.66-GHz Intel Core 2 Quad Processor Q6700 including a 1066-MHz frontside bus, 4GB of RAM, and a 512MB nVidia GeForce Go7950 card. It earned a record-setting WorldBench 6 Beta 2 score of 97 (as of 10/25/2007), a mark 29 percent higher than the average score of 75 earned by 17 recently tested desktop replacements. It blew through office applications such as Word and Photoshop, and was especially fast at burning discs in comparison with other dual-core notebooks. For example, in disc burning it was twice as fast as a top-performing 2-GHz Core 2 Duo-equipped laptop, a Dell Inspiron 1720. The Inspiron 1720 needed 15 minutes to finish the task, while the D900C Phantom-X required only 7.5 minutes. In gaming, the Eurocom's speed enhancements were less dramatic but still good for a desktop replacement, as the D900C Phantom-X averaged frame rates of 137 and 114 for Doom 3 and Far Cry, respectively. The price of all this speed, however: a meager battery life of 1 hour, 17 minutes.

Except for some cheesy rubber port covers that will quickly get lost, the D900C Phantom-X is thoughtfully crafted. It weighs a hefty 11.3 pounds (minimum) and measures 2.5 inches tall with the lid closed. In other words, it's big, although the polished metal case tones make it look slimmer. Rear vents keep the notebook running cool. I heard no fan noise whatsoever from this remarkably quiet portable.

Along with multiple processors, the machine has room inside for three physical hard drives if you swap out the battery--adding up to 750GB, a new total for a notebook (our test unit came with two 160GB standard hard drives, however). Another option is to add up to 96GB of solid-state storage--three 32GB hard drives that use the new flash memory storage method--for crash-proof portable computing.

The keyboard is first-rate. It has an unusually deep and very comfortable palm rest that measures over 5 inches from the last row of keys to the front of the notebook. In addition to a user-programmable application-launch button at the top, two macro buttons on the left side (G1 and G2) are easy to program with frequent gaming maneuvers. The notebook's audio is not the best we've heard--that honor goes to the Toshiba Qosmio G45-AV680 with its top-of-the-line Harman/Kardon speakers--but it sounds fairly loud and robust.

However, our unit's 1920-by-1200-pixel 17-inch screen was disappointing. It was sharp enough but markedly dimmer and harder to read than other notebook screens, even with the brightness dialed all the way up.

You could always hook up a first-rate external monitor via the notebook's VGA, DVI, or S-Video ports, but for $5158, you could buy two or three laptops with nice built-in displays for the price of one D900C Phantom-X. They won't have the Phantom's speed, though.

--Carla Thornton

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    Thick, heavy unit with a quad-core processor runs scorchingly fast, remarkably quiet, and cool--but can you afford it?

    Pros

    • Blazing desktop-like performance
    • Very expandable

    Cons

    • Extremely expensive
    • Terrible battery life
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