Eurocom Monster 1.0: Clevo's Little Monsterby Vivek Gowri on May 18, 2012 4:55 AM EST
- Posted in
- Ivy Bridge
A Powerful 11.6" Laptop
Well, this is the part everyone has been waiting for. I’ll just let the numbers speak for themselves here. The Monster is fast by notebook standards, phenomenally so when compared to other machines in this size class. It’s just an order of magnitude faster than just about anything else in the 11-13” range. The M14x R2 is probably the closest you’re going to get, and that’s a solid two pounds heavier than the Monster.
Jarred did a deep dive into the performance of the mobile IVB quad-core chips in the Mobile Ivy Bridge Performance Preview, so you can take a look at more benchmarks and the improvements in Quick Sync and the integrated GPU there. The ASUS N56VM we looked at in that piece had the same i7-3720QM processor as our Monster evaluation unit, so results are very comparable.
IVB is considered a tick+, bringing new lithography along with an architectural overhaul on the GPU side, but the CPU microarchitecture in IVB is pretty similar to SNB. As we noted in the performance preview, raw CPU performance hasn’t really improved that much over SNB, with differences in the 10-20% range. It’s decent, but not life-changing in the same way as the jump from Clarksfield to SNB.
A note on hybrid hard drives—if you’re looking for consistent SSD-like performance, you’re going to be disappointed. Which might sound obvious, but I’m not talking about it in the numbers sense; other than boot times, the Momentus XT just doesn’t feel as consistently responsive as an SSD tends to be. In fact, it doesn’t feel particularly more responsive than a typical 2.5” 7200RPM hard drive. The problem is down to the fact that the NAND cache isn’t predictive, so the first few times you do anything, it feels like a standard 7200RPM drive. Over time, it’ll eventually store the most frequently read data into cache and deliver near-SSD performance for that data, but until that happens, along with any workflows outside of the cached data, the drive will feel agonizingly slow. On a system that has this level of raw compute horsepower, the hybrid drive is a serious bottleneck. You’re better off with any newer SSD, and relying on a USB 3.0 external hard drive if you need extra storage space. With 120GB SF-based drives starting to go lower than the $1/GB mark, there’s no reason not to do it anymore.
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ijozic - Tuesday, May 22, 2012 - linkYes, I remember it (and the purple-ish tiger stripes on the lid?) as I was seriously considering it at the time (and the M1330). I bought neither because of the manufacturing flaw those GPUs had. Then I decided to go for a small portable + workstation combo to have both the battery life and the business performance (Acer 1810TZ and Dell M6400). The M6400, the charger and the backpack are so heavy that carrying the Acer as well doesn't make a big difference (extra 1.5 kg).
ijozic - Tuesday, May 22, 2012 - linkActually, I did find the P300 in some shop like a year later (might have bought it to compensate for the time spent wanting it), but it was still at full price and was rather outdated by that time.
I also remember wanting to buy that Fujitsu Siemens with an ATI external card (Sa 3650), but when I saw it in shop, the case was made from some tacky glossy white plastic and the whole thing was rather thick).
yhselp - Wednesday, May 23, 2012 - linkNot only carrying a DTR but another laptop as well - more power to you, mate! That's truly amusing for some reason. There was this guy from the institute that used to lug around (probably still does) 15 pounds of tech, he said it didn't really bother him.
I remember there was a website that offered the LG P300 initially, seemed a bit murky but people were happy so nothing wrong with that.
That Fujitsu with the external GPU was very quirky, wasn't it? If I'm not mistaken, initially you could only use the dGPU with a monitor; when they enabled using the built-in display it didn't seem to work very well - there were all sorts of artifacts and anomalies on-screen. Poor overall quality couldn't have helped either.
SodaAnt - Saturday, May 19, 2012 - linkI'm just curious what the battery life would look life it you tried to go for full power saving instead. I'd think that the HD4000 would be enough for many 720P gaming tasks, and I'd think you might get reasonable battery life out of it if you tried.
yhselp - Sunday, May 20, 2012 - linkI absolutely agree - there hasn't been much choice when it comes to a gaming-able portable system; and, yes, the M11x is the only one that capitalizes on that. I actually know a marketing exec (not consumer electronics) who is a fan of Dell and uses an M11x as his business portable, despite not doing any gaming - he just thinks it's cool. The price - again, I agree - it's what salvages the whole thing, $799 for the Core 2/335M was a good deal. The Core i ramped up prices, but it never got too high. Price always plays a major role - just take a look at the M14x and the Razer Blade.
Thinking along those lines, I can't help but agree with your statement. Perhaps, I was too quick to dismiss the first paragraph and didn't give it a second thought - I apologize. It's just that I'd really like companies to spend more on R&D and optimize their thermals, and thus give us better products with better components. If consumers don't create a demand (and remain happy with what is available) that change is unlikely to happen. I used to give the 330M VAIO Z as an example when people asked me what was wrong with the M11x - sure, it had a slightly lower gaming performance but it was essentially what we now refer to as an 'ultrabook', yet with a regular voltage CPU and a decent dGPU. Insane price, but an engineering accomplishment nonetheless.
I never said 'excellent review' which is definitely the case, and thanks for responding - I appreciate it.
JoeDirte' - Sunday, May 20, 2012 - linkThis is a brilliant laptop except for the lack of a backlit keyboard and it has a VGA port. I bought a M11X R2 and when I got it I was on the fence about how I felt having something so small for screen and I really wondered about the performance of the laptop as a workstation. To my surprise the M11XR2 has been a great laptop for portability, performance, gaming, and I love being able to hook up two digital displays without a docking station. That makes this an excellent workstation for on the go and working between several offices. The Clevo isn't as professional in my opinion with it still having a VGA port and not offering a backlit keyboard.
junky77 - Thursday, May 24, 2012 - linkHi
You didn't write the drivers version you used