Eurocom P5 Pro / Clevo P750ZM Review: True DTRby Jarred Walton on March 10, 2015 10:00 AM EST
Eurocom P5 Pro / Clevo P750ZM Introduction
Some people look at notebooks as a way to cut the cord and go mobile for long periods of time, but others view the portability as a mere convenience while they move from one power socket to another (e.g. from home to the office). If you’re mostly running with your notebook connected to the power grid and you need the absolute fastest processor possible, there are some interesting options.
Clevo is pretty much the go-to option these days for desktop replacements (DTR), with the ability to support full performance desktop processors (including LGA2011 options) and up to two GTX 980M graphics cards in SLI on their top models. Today we’re looking at the next step down from that, the P750ZM that supports Haswell processors up to the i7-4790K and a single GTX 980M graphics chip.
We’ve already seen with the MSI GT72 that the GTX 980M is quite the potent mobile GPU, and in fact the GPU is so fast that there are times (especially at lower quality settings) where it becomes CPU limited. Moving up to an 88W i7-4790K should remove most of the CPU bottleneck, at least at settings anyone is likely to use, so let’s see exactly how fast the 980M can run with a desktop processor.
We’ve noted before that there are only a handful of true high-end notebook providers: Alienware, ASUS, Clevo, Gigabyte, and MSI are pretty much it, with a few companies like Razer and Gigabyte’s AORUS brand maxing out at the GTX 970M. We’re working on a review of Gigabyte’s rather slim P35W v3 as well, which is almost insanely thin for a full 980M laptop, but we’ll hold off on further comparisons until that review is ready.
As for the Clevo P750ZM, our sample laptop comes courtesy of Eurocom, where it’s sold as the Eurocom P5 Pro. While Eurocom may offer a few tweaks and options you might not find in stock configurations at other vendors, I have to be brutally honest here and say that there’s not much that separates the various branded Clevo notebooks from each other – Clevo, Eurocom, Sager, or whatever else you want to call it, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” The main factors when buying any Clevo notebook are going to be price and component options.
Of course that doesn't mean there are no differences between the various vendors. Eurocom is one of the few (only?) vendors to offer a TPM 2.0 security chip on the P750ZM, and they also offer Radeon R9 M290X graphics (though at this stage in the life cycle I'm not sure why you'd want to go with AMD's Pitcairn-derived GPU). Finally, Eurocom uses IC Diamond 7 thermal paste on their notebooks, where many vendors charge extra for that feature.
Moving on to the component side of things, Eurocom doesn’t disappoint, with a pretty well fully loaded solution being available. You can choose between several 1080p display options, as well as two different 4K panels (including the 4K Sharp IGZO display in our test sample). Four SO-DIMM slots allow for up to 32GB RAM, there are two M.2 slots (SATA or PCIe supported, though RAID requires SATA), another two 2.5” drive bays, and five USB 3.0 ports (with one being an eSATA combo port). Here are the full specifications for our review unit:
|Eurocom P5 Pro / Clevo P750ZM Specifications|
|CPU||Core i7-4790K (Quad-core, 4.0-4.4GHz, 8MB L3, 88W)|
|GPU||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M 8GB
(1536 CUDA cores, 1038MHz + Boost, 256-bit 5010MHz GDDR5)
|RAM||16GB (2x8GB) Corsair Vengeance DDR3-1866
(Two additional SO-DIMM slots available)
|SSD||256GB M.2 SATA SSD Array
(2x128GB Crucial M600 in RAID 0)
|HDD||1TB 7200RPM (HGST 7K1000-1000|
|Display||15.6" Glossy 4K (3840x2160)
(Sharp IGZO LQ156D1JX01B)
|Networking||Killer N1525 Combo (2x2 802.11ac + BT 4.0)
Realtek RKL8111/8168/8411 Gigabit Ethernet
Four audio jacks
|Left||1 x USB 2.0/eSATA Combo
Flash Reader (SDXC/SDHC/MMC)
3 x USB 3.0
|Right||1 x USB 3.0
4 x Audio jacks
|Rear||Left/Right Exhaust Vents
2 x DisplayPort 1.2
1 x HDMI 1.4
|Power||8-cell ~82Wh battery
330W AC adapter
Configurable Multi-colored Backlighting
TPM 2.0 Security Chip
100% Cooling Switch (Fn+1)
|OS||Windows 8.1 Professional 64-bit|
|Dimensions||15.4" x 10.48"x 1.4"
(386mm x 262mm x 35mm)
|Weight||7.48 lbs. (3.4kg)|
|Pricing||Starting at $1995 with GTX 980M
$3192 as Configured
Short of an SLI equipped notebook, this is pretty much the fastest system currently possible, and the only areas left to upgrade over the configuration we’re testing would be via increasing the amount of memory and/or solid state storage. Otherwise, Eurocom sent us the maximum performance/quality configuration in every respect. We’ve got a Core i7-4790K that’s overclockable (more on that later), the GTX 980M, a 4K IGZO display, 16GB of DDR3-1866 RAM, 256GB of SSD storage, and even the optional 330W power adapter (again, more on that later).
Interestingly, Clevo even dropped support for optical drives on this chassis, which seems a bit odd as Gigabyte manages to stuff a slim optical drive into a much thinner 15.6” chassis. Of course, I rarely use optical drives these days so it’s not a huge concern, but it’s something to be aware of. It’s also worth pointing out that battery life isn’t going to be a strong point on this system; even with a large 82Wh battery the high performance components will typically mean two hours of light use while unplugged, and if you want to try doing some gaming you can easily drain the battery in under an hour.
Considering the P750ZM is a full desktop replacement notebook, including an 88W desktop processor, it’s actually surprising that the system isn’t bulkier. Older Clevo models that supported desktop CPUs were often in the 10+ pound range, but the P750ZM is at least reasonably portable at 7.5 pounds. Of course, that’s not including the AC power brick, and with the 330W model we received it tips the scales at an impressive 2.6 pounds (1.2kg) all by itself. Yes, the 330W power brick actually weighs more than some 13” Ultrabooks.
The default 230W adapter should be lighter and less bulky, but there’s a reason for going the 330W route, specifically overclocking. I’m planning a separate article to do a deeper investigation of overclocking potential with the P750ZM, but under full load I’ve seen power draw at the outlet hit 260-270W. At 85% efficiency that would be a 100% load on a 230W adapter, so it’s still possible to use the default adapter and that will save you about $75-$100, but if you’re buying this sort of system it’s probably not a bad idea to opt for the 330W adapter.
Pricing as usual is going to be the biggest obstacle to overcome. There’s no getting around the fact that $2000 is a lot of money for a notebook, and as configured we’ve passed the $3000 mark. I checked around and Eurocom is generally slightly more expensive than some of the other Clevo resellers – and if you’re okay with a preconfigured unit, Amazon has some options as well – but there are differences in the specific RAM and SSD modules so I won’t belabor the point. Obviously this system is designed to set performance records for our notebook test suite, and it does.
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JarredWalton - Wednesday, March 11, 2015 - linkI suppose Intel can keep with Z97, but I wouldn't be at all surprised to see a new chipset -- this is Intel after all. When we were on LGA 775 forever, Intel had something like six chipsets. A few companies like ASRock even supported Core 2 and such on old "P4 only" chipset. I'm trying to think of any new CPU from Intel that didn't have a new chipset released around the same time -- not that a new chipset was always required, but it has always been available. I'm sure someone can remember a time or two when that wasn't the case, though. :-)
will54 - Wednesday, March 11, 2015 - linkP751ZM has the same components but in a 17" form factor. I'm sure they will update both machines with broadwell when the time comes for them to be released.
bji - Tuesday, March 10, 2015 - linkBeveled corners on keyboard keys are a FEATURE. It's one of the subtle ways that one's fingers feel their placement on keys. I find Apple keyboards disconcerting because they lack these bevels and my fingers had an awfully hard time adjusting to my rMBP keyboard at first. Still prefer almost any other keyboard to the rMBP keyboard but I've come to tolerate it and be reasonably proficient on it.
Don't knock Clevo for being clever enough to actually include bevelled keys!
Sushisamurai - Tuesday, March 10, 2015 - linkyeah, i actually prefer bevelled keys to chic-let style keys. I was a little dismayed when my 15" MBP in 2008/2009 was refreshed with chic-let keys and the removal of a dedicated trackpad button. I certainly bang the right side of my hinged trackpad more than the left, and it's starting to show on my current MBP with a slight depression on the right side :(
JarredWalton - Tuesday, March 10, 2015 - linkI wasn't trying to ding them, merely pointing out the difference in look and feel. As I said, I don't find the keyboard to be dramatically different from other laptop keyboards, which is generally a good thing. Then again, I can type fine on a variety of keyboards without complaining much. I just find it interesting how after going to chiclet keys for a while, we're now seeing keyboards start to look a bit more like the older beveled keys from years back.
bji - Thursday, March 12, 2015 - linkAgreed. I was just reading about the new Macbook on the Apple site and they're actually advertising that the keys on the new keyboard are more concave for exactly the reason I mentioned. Since the industry often follows Apple I expect deeper concavity to become the new chiclet style keyboard norm, which will be welcome.
Sushisamurai - Tuesday, March 10, 2015 - linkOverall pretty cool review, I wish they had/gave you a 1080p with 120Hz refresh display to test. Overall, I think 120Hz refresh is a better option/upgrade than 4K, as viewing movies and other media has a nice "smooth" effect.
Sushisamurai - Tuesday, March 10, 2015 - linkerrr... where's that edit button. I'm really looking forward to that overlocking article. I wonder if it's actually viable in a 15" chassis. That being said, is the i7-4790K removable/user replaceable? It's not soldered to the MB is it?
JarredWalton - Tuesday, March 10, 2015 - linkCorrect, LGA1150 (Haswell) desktop parts are all socketed; there are certain soldered down SKUs like the i7-4770R, but that's an OEM only part.
Regarding overclocking, the CPU is already tapped out, but with the right BIOS and drivers (and with the cooling fans at 100%), you can get a substantial boost in performance. I've seen some people claiming "stable" performance at +350 core and +500 RAM, but at least on my sample notebook that's not remotely likely. +225 core and +350 RAM on the other hand passed all the benchmarks I threw at it.
D2ultima - Wednesday, March 11, 2015 - linkIt is not soldered, and is change-able.
Clevo machines pride themselves on easy user access to parts and upgrade-ability (even if the BIOS doesn't always support a new video card... but that's what Prema is for).
Also, the 120Hz screen you want does not exist. Only four 1080p 120Hz panels exist between 13.3" and 18.4" and all four are 17.3" panels. One 16.5" 900p 120Hz panel exists, but would not fit in that. All other existing 120Hz panels are in the vicinity of 720p and 768p in resolution and ALL twelve 120Hz panels in the size range I listed above are discontinued.
Nobody cared for 120Hz enough, so they didn't sell well enough to keep production.