Our review model has all the necessary specifications for demanding tasks such as gaming and content creation. The Nvidia GTX 860M graphics card is standard and sufficient for playing modern games on medium-high to high settings at a 1080p resolution.
Nearly every one of the upgrades on our review unit are recommendable including the 16GB of RAM (though the Corsair Vengeance brand is a bit higher priced); 120GB SSD as the primary drive for the operating system and a secondary 1TB hard drive for storage (which gives you the best of both worlds at a middling cost); and the Intel wireless card.
The one oddity is that despite supposedly being a more budget friendly product, our review unit has the most powerful (and consequently most expensive) mobile CPU on the market, the Intel Core i7-4940MX Extreme Edition. This monster adds nearly $1,000 to the price over the standard i7-4710MQ quad-core. The performance difference between the two would be apparent in CPU-limited tasks like multimedia encoding and 3D modeling/rendering but would generally go unnoticed otherwise, even by gamers. Needless to say it appeals to a limited crowd. Taking the i7-4940MX out of the equation brings the price down to a more acceptable $1,699.
Our Eurocom Shark 3 (Clevo W355SS) review unit was sent to us with the following specifications:
- 15.6-inch display (1920×1080 resolution, anti-glare surface, TN panel, 95% NTSC gamut)
- Windows 8.1 64-bit
- Intel Core i7-4940MX Extreme Edition quad-core processor (3.1GHz, up to 4.0GHz Turbo Boost, 8MB cache, 57W TDP)
- Nvidia GeForce GTX 860M w/ 2GB GDDR5 memory
- 16GB DDR3-1866 Corsair Vengeance RAM (2x 8GB; 24GB max. supported – 3x 8GB)
- 120GB Crucial M500 Solid State Drive (Crucial CT120M500SSD3)
- 1TB 7200RPM secondary hard drive (Hitachi HGST HTS721010A9E630)
- 8X DVD burner (TSSTcorp CDDVDW SN-208FB)
- Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 7260 w/ Bluetooth 4.0
- 8-cell li-ion battery (76.96Wh)
- 1-year limited warranty
- Dimensions: 14.72″ x 9.84″ x 0.64~1.68″
- Weight: 5.95 lbs.
- Starting price: $871
- Price as configured: $2,622
Heat and Noise
A single fan expels warm air out the back left of the chassis. It generally stays off while performing basic tasks like web surfing but is audible when playing games and running other demanding programs. The fan fortunately is rather subdued; it’s unlikely to disturb even quieter environments. There is some motor noise but it’s low-pitched.
The chassis remained cool during benchmarking periods and gaming; no doubt the relatively thick chassis is a larger area to dissipate heat. The thickness also permits the use of larger fan blades which move more air at the same RPM than fan blades with less surface area.
We use our Powermark benchmark to measure battery life; it uses a combination of automated web browsing, video playback and gaming to accurately simulate real-world usage. This test is more demanding than a typical battery drain test and produces expectedly lower numbers.
The Shark 3 lasted for three hours, seven minutes which is quite respectable for a gaming notebook. This time would translate to between six to seven hours of battery life while just surfing the Internet. Reducing the screen brightness would result in even longer battery life. Modern notebooks have many power-saving technologies that enable longer battery life than notebooks from many years ago despite being better performers several times over.