Eurocom rocked us with the most powerful per-pound choice in a notebook that we've seen to date. The Panther 5SE came with 4TB of storage, 64GB of DIMM3 memory and eight Xeon cores. You won't find the Panther at the big-box retailers the version we tested runs $7,500. But we rate this device highly for its extreme flexibility and muscularity.
Eurocom specializes in deceptively powerful machines in notebook formats (or all-in-one-piece desktops). When they first approached us to review the product, we looked at their website. It has the Chinese Menu effect of too many choices, but then we started thinking about the choices. What Eurocom eventually delivered was a server-grade machine in an industrial notebook form factor — minus the kevlar-and-concrete-wall aesthetics of most hefty industrial notebooks.
Most notebook form-factor machines have been in decline for various reasons. One of them, we feel, is the inability for any sort of reasonable customization. At most, one can choose a bigger hard drive or memory, perhaps an operating system change, or it's on to the next model. Eurocom's choices, we found, are almost the antithesis of the cookie-cutter approach.
Pound for pound — and they're plentifully heavy — Eurocom's notebooks might voted "Most Likely To Succeed In A Variety Of Demanding Situations". We found a few small quirks, but we were also fascinated by how much stuff can be crammed into a notebook form factor.
What You Get
As mentioned, Eurocom asked what we wanted. We responded: put your best foot forward. The model they selected is the Panther 5SE, and it has many, many possible assembly combinations. At a hefty 12 pounds it weighs more than double our Lenovo T530s and four times a MacBookAir. And that doesn't include the power supply.
But the weight isn't a bad thing, nor are the four hefty fans on the bottom of the unit. This beast of a notebook is designed for actual work. You can have pretty much anything from VMware or Linux or, as in our case, Windows Server 2012 boot up. It has RAID arrays available, serious storage options in conventional fast hard drives, or if you're not budget-challenged — SSDs. It has four drives inside. There's an Intel Xeon e5-2687w with not two or four cores — there are eight. Instead of just 8GB of memory max, the machine came with 32GB.
The fit-and-finish of the Panther 5SE is nice enough that we'd hesitate to put the Eurocom into an easily scratched service, like into a public-safety vehicle or a construction company trailer. Instead, while it could be used in these places, Eurocom's aesthetics are probably more poised to the road warrior who needs not only the Eurocom, but voluminous VMs, and or other machines in a network configuration.
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