First Core i7 notebook announced

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Chicago (IL) – If you are looking for the most performance in a mobile form factor, then it doesn’t get much better than Eurocom’s new Phantom-i7 notebook. The workstation will be come with a Core i7 Extreme processor and an as-of-yet unannounced Core i7-based Xeon X5580 processor. The machine will have up to 12 GB of memory at first, and up to 24 GB later this year as well as up to four hard drives. Given the weight and capabilities of the notebook, the promised battery time of 60 minutes isn’t bad.

Let’s get this out of the way first. The Phantom-i7, which is positioned above Eurocom’s current Phantom-X series, is not a notebook you would pick up at Best Buy and do your taxes with. It is designed to be a mobile workstation and/or server for engineers on the road, and is a device which offers the highest computing performance possible.

At the heart of the system is either a Core i7-940 or 965 Extreme processor, or a not-yet-announced Xeon X5580 (3.2 GHz) CPU. The 17” (1600 x 1050 pixel) system will support up to four hard drives (2 TB combined) in RAID 0,1,5 configuration — though initial systems will be limited to three HDDs and 1.5 TB. Other hardware includes a triple-channel memory design with up to 12 GB of memory (4 GB per channel) and up to 24 GB when 8 GB modules will be more common later this year. The Phantom-i7 comes with only one graphics chip, either a 1 GB Nvidia GeForce Go GTX 280M or Quadro FX3700M, and does not have a separate low-power graphics unit which takes over when high-end or 3D is not required. This will also lend a significant amount of GPU computing to the system for number-crunching apps.

The 12-pound (!!) notebook will be available by the end of March with prices starting around $3000, with fully configured systems topping out in excess of $5000.

Eurocom says that the maximum power consumption of the CPU+GPU system is about 220 watts (150 watt allocated to the CPU and 70 watts to the GPU), while the average CPU+GPU power is expected to be closer to 180 watts. The i7 CPU alone consumes about 80 watts on average, we were told. Given the hardware specs, the battery time is measured in minutes, not in hours. Eurocom spokesperson Matt Bialic promises a battery time of about 60 minutes, which seems a lot given the raw computing power and high power consumption. However, Bialic explained that the CPU is throttled down via the X58 chipset when running on battery, as is the mobile Nvidia GPU, which helps to conserve power.

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