If extreme gaming is your thing then you can't do much better than the dual NVIDIA GeForce 680M graphics cards in this beast.
Let's provide a bit of background for those readers who are new to the world of custom gaming notebooks. Eurocom, a custom notebook reseller specializing in gaming notebooks and high-performance mobile workstations, has been building custom PCs since 1989. Companies such as Eurocom are commonly referred to as "resellers" since they purchase notebook chassis from manufacturers like Clevo and then heavily customize the components (processor, graphics, storage, wireless cards, etc.) and sell those built-to-order notebooks to their customers.
Build and Design
The Eurocom Scorius is a built around the Clevo P370EM 17-inch gaming notebook. While Clevo notebooks have a reputation for delivering extreme performance in a less-than-attractive design, the P370EM is a step in the right direction with more angled lines, rounded corners and an overall appearnance that looks "a little" more modern the previous Clevo designs.
Despite a slightly more attractive exterior, the P370EM still uses rather bland matte black plastics on the exterior and the majority of the notebook chassis feels "hollow" when you squeeze it or tap the plastics with your fingers. In short, the tweaks to the outward appearance haven't inspired any more confidence in the overall strength of the chassis. Sure, this notebook should survive typical desktop use and the move from one house (or college dorm) to another, but the fit and finish (including gaps between some parts) leaves us worried about how well this notebook will hold up if you're constantly travelling with it in your backpack.
The Scorpius (P370EM) tips the scales at around 8 pounds when configured with the dual NVIDIA GeForce 680M graphics and that's without the rather large and heavy power adapter. In fact, for ideal performance in demanding games, Eurocom supplies two 300W power adapters with this notebook when configured with dual graphics. So if you bring both those adapters with you then you're looking at a travel weight that exceeds 14 pounds! That weight, combined with a maximum thickness of about two inches means this certainly isn't the ideal travel companion. But, to be fair, most people buying this notebook understand that it's a "desktop replacement."
Those looking to upgrade the P370EM will be happy to know that virtually every component can be accessed by removing the bottom panel from the notebook. This is one of the key advantages of buying a Clevo-based notebook from a reseller like Eurocom; you can easily upgrade your PC after purchase because the chassis was designed with upgrades in mind.
Input and Output Ports
This notebook has an abundance of ports including four USB 3.0 ports and a combo USB 2.0 and eSATA port. Combine that with dual display output and an optional Blu-ray drive and you've got an amazingly well-equipped gaming and multi-media notebook. The only port we're sad to see missing from this 17-inch beast is an ExpressCard slot for additional port expansion at a later date. All image descriptions below are listed from left to right.
Front: Status lights
Back: HDMI, DisplayPort, power jack, USB 3.0 port
Left: Kensington lock slot, ethernet, media card reader, S/PDIF audio jacks
Right: Optical drive, USB 2.0/eSATA combo, three USB 3.0 ports
Keyboard and Touchpad
If you're familiar with our previous reviews of Clevo notebooks then you know that Clevo doesn't have a great reputation when it comes to making keyboards and touchpads. The P370EM has traditional keyboard with flat keys similar to a Chiclet-style keyboard but without the extra spacing between the keys. This keyboard features attractive blue LED backlighting that helps you see the keys even when you're typing in a dark room. There is a bit of backlight bleed around the keys and we wish there was one higher brightness setting, but overall this isn't a bad keyboard. Tactile feedback on this keyboard is a bit shallow but it isn't as light and loose as the keyboard on the Clevo W150ERM which we criticized as sounding "cheap" as you type.
The keyboard has a separate numeric keypad with a full four-column key layout. There are two keys above the numeric keypad that double as the home, end, pgup and pgdn keys or you can configure the 1, 3, 7 and 9 keys on the numeric keypad as dedicated home, end, pgup and pgdn keys.
The Synaptics touchpad is generally pretty nice; it has a smooth surface and is appropriately sized for a 17" screen. It's actually a "clickpad" with the bottom left and right corners also serving as the left and right buttons when needed. We would have liked to see dedicated left and right buttons for a gaming notebook, but since most gamers use an external USB mouse this might not be the end of the world.
Screen and Speakers
Eurocom equips the P370EM with a full HD (1920x1080 resolution) display. There are several variants of matte or glossy screens available; and our review unit is equipped (thankfully) with the matte or anti-glare coating. It's a good quality screen with excellent brightness and good color saturation.
Our only real complaint about this screen is that the TN-type panel means vertical viewing angles aren't particularly good. Tilt the screen forward or back more than a few degrees (or move your body forward or back in your chair) and the colors start to shift. We'd really like to see an IPS display on a PC priced above $2,000.
The two stereo speakers located above the keyboard and between the screen hinges deliver solid audio quality and the dedicated subwoofer on the bottom of the notebook provides just enough base so you can "feel" your music or the sound effects from your favorite video game. These speakers are branded with the ONKYO name; so you get a reasonable home theater experience watching Blu-ray or streaming HD movies on the P370EM.
Performance and Benchmarks
Our Eurocom Scorpius (Clevo P370EM) review unit has the following configuration:
Our review unit is more than twice as expensive as the base configuration thanks to options such as the Intel Core i7-3920XM Extreme Edition processor, dual NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680M graphics, dual high-capacity solid state drives (SSDs), a Blu-ray writer optical drive and a dual-band Killer Wireless Wi-Fi card. The two most expensive upgrades are the Core i7-3920XM processor (+$899) and the dual NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680M cards (+$972).
Bottom line, this is far from the most cost-effective gaming notebook on the planet. In fact, you only spend this kind of money on a gaming notebook if you MUST have the best gear so that you can play the latest games without any concern for the hardware requirements. In fact, even the base configuration of the Scorpius probably has more than enough performance for many serious PC gamers.
In any case, this fully-equipped P370EM delivers some of the best benchmark numbers we've seen to date. As equipped this notebook can even play the latest games in 3D (when connected to a 3D display) and still deliver amazing frame rates. A single NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680M can play Max Payne 3 at 1920x1080 with all detail and AA settings at "Very High" in DX 11 mode and give you an average of 43 frames per second ... and this notebook has TWO of those cards. Keep in mind that a motion picture or TV show runs at between 24 and 30 fps. You simply aren't going to find a notebook that has better graphics cards in it this year ... until someone shoves four GTX 680M cards into a single notebook.
wPrime processor comparison results (lower scores mean better performance):
PCMark 7 is a newer benchmark and measures overall system performance (higher scores mean better performance):
PCMark Vantage measures overall system performance (higher scores mean better performance):
3DMark 11 is a newer benchmark and measures overall graphics card performance for gaming (higher scores mean better performance):
3DMark Vantage measures overall graphics card performance for gaming (higher scores mean better performance):
CrystalDiskMark and ATTO storage drive performance tests:
Heat and Noise
The cooling system on the Scorpius/P370EM is pretty good about moving heat away from the interior without too much noise while the notebook is idle. In fact, during general use (web browsing, typing documents in Microsoft Office, etc.) the fan noise is almost silent. That said, as soon as you crank up the settings on a modern game like Max Payne 3 or Skyrim you'll hear the cooling fans start to crank up as the graphics cards are pushed to their limits. As a result, if you're going to be gaming at high detail settings with modern games you need to be prepared to crank up the volume on the built-in speakers or plug in a set of headphones if you want to hear the audio on your favorite game.
We measured just one hour and 12 minutes of battery life during our standard battery run down test (Windows 7 Balanced power profile, 70% display brightness, wireless active and refreshing a webpage every 60 seconds). This is definitely on the low side for a modern notebook but it's within the average for a bleeding-edge 17-inch gaming notebook. Just keep in mind that the battery on a 17-inch gaming rig like this is more of an "emergency backup" rather than something you are supposed to use all the time.
Battery life test results (higher scores mean better battery life):
The P370EM is a step in the right direction in terms of overall design and is welcome departure from Clevo's traditional "boring" notebook appearance. That said, the P370EM still follows the long-standing Clevo practice of emphasizing performance over fit and finish. The P370EM might deliver some of the best-in-class benchmark scores among 17-inch gaming and multimedia notebooks, but Clevo (and Eurocom) have a long way to go if they want to surpass the build quality and appearance of the Alienware M17x or HP ENVY 17 notebooks.
If you can live with less-than-perfect build quality and good (but not great) appearance then the Eurocom Scorpius (Clevo P370EM) is one of the best 17-inch gaming notebooks that money can buy and one of the few notebooks that offers dual NVIDIA GeForce 680M graphics cards in SLI for exceptional in-game performance.