Wish List - the $10,000 notebook

It's pretty easy these days to walk into an Apple or Sony store and drop $2000 on a notebook, or for that matter, get online and configure an Alienware M18x running a cool five grand. Even the most extravagant systems seen from Clevo in the last few years have only been able to peak $8000, yet stuffed with arguably the most cutting-edge internals.

High-end mobile hardware has never come cheap, that is fact. But even seasoned enthusiasts may get serious sticker shock to know that today's most expensive (and powerful) notebook now breaks the 10K barrier. Read on to get a taste of not only what you can get for that gangsta-roll of Franklins, but see who makes this 5-digit rarity.

BACKGROUND:

Pushing the mobile PC performance envelope will never cease thanks to the efforts of silicon manufacturers and original design manufacturers. It's pretty much to the ongoing efforts of companies such as Intel, nVidia, AMD, Dell, Clevo and Eurocom that users can today purchase the most powerful mobile systems ever built.

Clevo in particular has a long history of pushing notebook design, cramming a scorching-hot 3.8GHz desktop Pentium 4 inside a notebook, and was first to market with a quad-core notebook as far back as 2007. As we were to ultimately find out, Intel's Netburst ambitions ran into a thermal wall, while Clevo's D900 racked up some of the most horrendous notebook failure rates ever recorded.

Fortunately today, advances in design and manufacturing allow processors with TDP as high as 135W, and dual graphics cards at 100W each, to operate without issue inside a notebook form-factor. Not only has performance increased, but hardware can operate within spec and without overheating.

Indeed, we can see what the latest 8C/16T E5 Xeon is capable of when it comes to sheer computing power, appreciate the graphics capabilities of SLI, take for granted the speed of SSD drives in RAID0 and have multiple 8GB RAM sticks under the hood. The dream of owning the ultimate mobile performance notebook has arrived.

SPECIFICATIONS:

2012 is one of those years when everything just comes together so nicely. Intel releases a new performance processor, nVidia updates their graphics lineup, and notebook manufacturers get the chance to make some amazing new products. That's exactly what Clevo has done, and using Eurocom as their reseller (among others) bring to market the first and only X79-based notebook.

Would you pay $10,075 to own the world's most powerful notebook?
What is it about this notebook that makes it hit the $10K mark and why is it the most powerful? A detailed look at the specs available on Eurocom's website explain it best. Sold under the name "Panther 4.0", this notebook is available with hardware capable of bringing even a desktop to it's knees. Running through the various and extensive configuration options, I came up with a total of $10,075, made up of the following picks.

  • Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
  • Intel Xeon E5-2690 8C/16T CPU (2.9GHz)
  • 2x nVIDIA GTX580M 2GB GPU's in SLI
  • 16GB DDR3-1866 RAM
  • 3x Intel 480GB SSD in RAID0
  • 17.3" 1080p 120Hz 3D matte LED display
  • 6x BDXL burner
  • Intel 6300 a/b/g/n wifi + BT
  • Webcam
  • 4th HDD bracket
  • 2nd power supply with splitter
  • 3-year warranty

Many would agree this list in itself would be impressive for a desktop, but the fact that we are talking about a notebook makes it all the more remarkable. Sure, it's a 12lb package, and the battery may only go for 30-45 minutes. But the ability to have this kind of high-end desktop performance, without actually being anchored to a desk, is something only a few can really appreciate.

Intel's most powerful mobile processor has only four cores and must turbo to reach 2.9GHz, whereas the Xeon does 2.9GHz on stock, with twice the number of cores/threads, and can turbo up to 3.8GHz. The fact that the E5 doesn't overclock at all is irrelevant when it is used in a notebook, as it beats all other notebook solutions on core count and clock speed.

In a similar fashion, the GTX580M  would be comparable to the newer GTX675M, as they are identical on specs, save for the name change. The true Kepler replacement to Fermi will more than likely carry the GTX680M moniker, appearing later in the year, and push notebook graphics performance to yet newer levels.

I also like the option of swapping out the optical drive with a 4th hard drive. You can fit a lot of ISO's on a 1TB HDD, and in many instances having to tote a bulky DVD wallet can be a pain. Not that having three 480GB solid state drives in RAID0 is anything shy when it comes to speed or capacity.

Of course, when you're throwing a bank-wrapped bundle of $100 bills on a notebook, a three-year warranty is the minimum protection you want on your investment.

Last but not least, owning an 8-core SLI notebook also comes with some serious bragging rights, so make sure your forum signature gets the proper makeover. After all, you wouldn't want to drop 10K on the ultimate notebook and have it go unnoticed among your online audience.

CONCLUSION:

Would I love to own this machine? DEFINITELY. Eurocom's Panther 4.0 is pure and simply the Bugatti Veyron of notebooks, in price, performance and exclusivity. It's a piece of technology enthusiasts lust after, just like the high-performance car.

Would I throw ten grand on a notebook? Hell no!!! My first car cost less, never mind that five years from now this same performance will be selling in notebooks for around $2000. That $8000 premium is the price you pay to use tomorrow's mainstream technology today. Spend money fast - for some of us it just happens.

But for some of us that's exactly the price we pay for excitement, for having the newest and the best. Wait around five years? Now what would be the fun in that?

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