After an impressive all-in-one, the Uno 3, we were sent the Race 3.0 by Canadian mobile high-end specialist, Eurocom. The Racer 3.0 is a minor update on the Racer 2.0, adding the Nvidia Geforce GTX 780M and Intel’s Haswell processor, both of which were unveiled over the May/June period.
The Racer 3.0, which shares the same hardware as Eurocom’s X3, is the antithesis of the Ultrabook trend; it is, in a sense, an offshoot of what laptops were a decade ago: boring design, bulky, anonymous and expensive. Not that it necessarily translates into a bad product, but you wouldn’t buy that laptop as a fashion statement.
The model we previewed weighs 3.3Kg and is up to 45mm at its thickest point; I think it is best to describe it as a desktop replacement notebook especially when you have to account for the brick-like power supply unit. For those old enough to remember, the Racer 3.0 reminds me of the US-version of Computer Shopper magazine, in its heydays, both in size and weight.
Eurocom’s ability to spew out laptops with the latest technology comes from the fact that uses barebone systems from one of the biggest laptop manufacturers around, Clevo. So it comes as no surprise that it uses the Clevo P157SM; it also means that other small players like PC Specialist have also been able to churn out Haswell laptops fast.
As for the specs list, it reads as follows: A 15.6in full HD matte display with a 1,920 x 1,080 pixel resolution, an Intel Core i7-4800MQ processor with four cores clocked at 2.7GHz (overclocking to 3.7GHz), a TDP of 47W and 6MB L3 cache, 16GB of RAM (arranged in four slots), an Nvidia Geforce GTX780M with 4GB GDDR5 memory, a 120GB mSATA SSD (Crucial’s M500) backed by a 1TB HGST hard disk drive clocked at 7,200RPM, a 2-megapixel webcam, a DVD writer, Bluetooth 4.0, Bigfoot Killer Wireless-N 1202, a card reader, an integrate fingerprint device, a subwoofer (and a pair of speakers powered by Onkyo technology and Creative Labs’ Sound Blaster X-Fi MB3), an 8-cell 80Whr battery and a 180W power supply unit.
It comes with Windows 7 Professional although you can choose to forfeit any bundled OS or even upgrade to Windows 8 Pro. As for connectivity options, they include four USB ports, DisplayPort 1.2, HDMI out, Mini Display, eSATA, Firewire-400, SPDIF, A Realtek-powered GbE connector and audio ports. No VGA port though. The base unit costs a mere £999 and the current configuration brings it up to £1,653 including VAT before shipping. In comparison, a system with a lesser spec from Dell, the Alienware 14, costs almost £2,000 although you can shave its price by around £150.
We didn’t run any benchmarks per se but this is a powerful gaming laptop that can double as a capable workstation (and vice versa). It was used over the course of a day and never once did it blink or stutter. Obviously, it is overkill for most office tasks but one can never have too much power (or resources).
There are two issues though that we’d recommend Eurocom to investigate; the first one is battery life which stands between one and two hours when under heavy load, something that hinders the ability of the users to work far from power outlets for a long time. Apple’s MacBook Pro laptop for example does up to seven hours (but it also costs a lot more). The second niggle is the keyboard which I can best describe as being too “springy” to my tastes. Keyboards, earphones and mice evaluations are intensely personal affairs and I understand that there others might find it perfectly fine.
Check out the picture of the Racer 3.0 laptop below as well as the teardown where we removed the heatsinks to have a closer looks at the chips.