Eurocom Panther 4.020 Mar, 2013 By: Art Liddle
First Look Review: This mobile workstation delivers a brilliant display, good memory and storage capacity, and terrific speed — but shouldn’t stray far from an outlet.
We last reviewed a Eurocom mobile workstation two years ago. Here, we review the Panther 4.0, which proved to be a substantial upgrade to the Panther 2.0 in every respect.
Eurocom's Panther 4.0 is one of several models Eurocom offers in its line of professional mobile workstations. Each is fully customizable with a large selection of options designed to meet a variety of needs. The Panther 4.0 used for this review was built around the Intel X79 Express chipset and configured with an Intel Xeon E5-2687W eight-core (16 threads) CPU, which runs at 3.1 GHz and includes a massive 20-MB cache. Turbo mode, available when running a single core, bumps the clock speed of this power-hungry chip (150 W) to a maximum of 3.8 GHz.
Eurocom's Panther 4.0 system offers workstation power and expandability in a portable package.
The 17.3" matte-finish, LED-backlit panel produces a beautiful and bright image at its native resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 with 32-bit color. It boasts a 120-Hz refresh rate (double that of standard panels) and includes Spyder 3 display calibration technology for color matching. Eurocom chose the very latest mobile graphics card option from NVIDIA to drive the display: The Kepler-based (28-nm core) Quadro K5000M includes 4 GB of GDDR5 dedicated memory and supports a maximum resolution of 3,840 x 2,160 with an external digital monitor or projector plugged into the DisplayPort.
The review unit was loaded with a whopping 32 GB of DDR3-1600 system memory, filling all four of its SODIMM sockets. A single Micron Crucial 512-GB solid-state drive (SATA; 6 Gb/s) provided hard drive storage. The Panther 4.0 supports up to four drives, pushing the maximum file storage capability to an incredible 4 TB without an optical drive, and a still very impressive 3 TB with an optical drive. Our review system included an 8X DVD+/-RW (dual-layer) burner. With multiple hard drives installed, you can enable RAID 0/1/5/10.
The Panther 4.0 is not diminutive in any way: It measures 16.8" x 11.4" x 2.5" and weighs a little more than 12 lbs. It includes an illuminated full-size keyboard with number pad and a multigesture touchpad with two buttons and an integrated fingerprint reader for controlling access to your system and managing passwords. We tried it and, after a little practice, found it to be a quick way to log on. The Panther 4.0 includes a pair of built-in Onkyo speakers with a subwoofer, plus an integrated sound card. The built-in webcam supports video with a maximum resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 at 30 fps.
The Panther 4.0 has a wide range of connectivity options, including a DisplayPort, a DVI-I (SL) port, an HDMI connector, three USB 3.0 ports, two USB 2.0 ports, one eSATA port, a FireWire-800 port, microphone and headphone jacks, and standard network connector, as well as support for wireless LAN (802.11a/g/n) and Bluetooth 2.1.