December 05, 2012

The Panther 4.0 Supercomputer Laptop - Supercomputer or Dream Gaming Machine?


What laptop weighs in at an astounding 12 pounds yet is marketed with the virtue of being an "ultra-portable" piece of hardware? That would be the new EUROCOM Panther 4.0 supercomputer laptop!

You read that correctly. EUROCOM calls it a supercomputer, and in fact once you get a clear sense of the specifications it brings to the table, well, it certainly smacks of supercomputers. No wimpy smartphones or tablets here.

But really, we'd greatly prefer thinking of the beast as the ultimate gamer's machine. That’s what we would do with it if we had one to test (EUROCOM that is a hint! Send us one ASAP).

All kidding aside – though in fact we are not at all kidding about the gamer's machine angle – EUROCOM has created this monster specifically to address heavy duty 3D and 2D applications. That is, it boasts computer-aided design, computer aided engineering, digital content creation, visualization, digital cartography, structural Analysis, numerical analytics and simulation.

As EUROCOM puts it, "It is ideal for Engineering on the Go, Rapid Engineering Deployment Teams and for Server on the Go applications."

They don't mention gaming, so we'll mention gaming just once last time from our end. Shown below is the actual machine:

It doesn't quite remind one of Usain Bolt (you know, the world's fasted human), but the profile view does remind us of Gigantor (forget Transformers, Gigantor is the real robot deal):

The Panther 4.0 delivers on three specific levels of functionality, as follows below.

Ultra Performance Quadro Workstation when equipped with NVIDIA Quadro K5000M graphics with 4 GB of error correcting code DDR5 memory.

12 lb. All in one Server when equipped with an Intel Xeon E5-2687W, RAID 5 and running operating systems such as Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012 and VMware ESXi.

High Performance Workstation for CUDA development when equipped with dual NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680M graphics or dual NVIDIA Quadro K5000M graphics.

Underpinning those three levels of functionality are the Panther's actual specifications, which are enormously impressive relative to the actual overall package.

The supported high-performance processors of the Panther 4.0 deliver exceptional high-definition multimedia, multi-tasking and multi-threaded performance. They allow users to simultaneously run multiple highly complex applications at the same time, with claimed high levels of performance. Let's start with the system's processor chipsets.

The Panther 4.0 is based on the Intel Sandy Bridge-E X79 Express chipset, which will deliver maximum processing power and next-generation high-speed storage interface. 

Available for driving, the Panther 4 is essentially Intel's entire line of 6 and 8 core Xeon processors, which in turn are built on the LGA 2011 processor socket:

  • Intel XEON E5-2690; 8 cores, 16 threads; 20MB L3; 8GT/s; LGA2011; 32nm;135W; 2.90GHz (up to 3.80GHz)
  • Intel XEON E5-2687W; 8 cores, 16 threads; 20MB L3; 8GT/s; LGA2011; 32nm;150W; 3.10GHz (up to 3.80GHz)
  • Intel XEON E5-2680; 8 cores, 16 threads; 20MB L3; 8GT/s; LGA2011; 32nm;130W; 2.70GHz (up to 3.50GHz)
  • Intel XEON E5-2670; 8 cores, 16 threads; 20MB L3; 8GT/s; LGA2011; 32nm;115W; 2.60GHz (up to 3.30GHz)
  • Intel XEON E5-2650; 8 cores, 16 threads; 20MB L3; 8GT/s; LGA2011; 32nm;95W; 2.0GHz (up to 2.80GHz)
  • Intel XEON E5-2640; 6 cores, 12 threads; 15MB L3; 7.2GT/s; LGA2011; 32nm;95W; 2.50GHz (up to 3.0GHz)
  • Intel XEON E5-2630; 6 cores, 12 threads; 15MB L3; 7.2GT/s; LGA2011; 32nm;95W; 2.30GHz (up to 2.80GHz)
  • The Panther 4 also provides support for Intel's LGA 2011-based Core i7 and Core i7 Extreme processors:
  • Intel Core i7-3970X; 6 cores, 12 threads; 15MB L3, 32 nm, 130W, 3.3 GHz (up to 3.9)
  • Intel Core i7-3960X; 6 cores, 12 threads; 15MB L3; LGA2011; 32nm; 130W; 3.30 GHz (up to 3.90)
  • Intel Core i7-3930K; 6 cores, 12 threads; 12MB L3; 5GT/s; LGA2011; 32nm; 130W; 3.20 GHz (up to 3.80)
  • Intel Core i7-3820; 4 cores, 8 threads;10MB L3; 5GT/s; LGA2011; 32nm; 130W; 3.60GHz (up to 3.90)

If you are anything like us and still pay attention to what Intel brings to the processor table, those are all the real deal in high end processing power.

The Panther 4.0 supports a variety of different operating systems, from server grade options such as VMware or Microsoft server to Linux based operating systems and Windows 7 and Windows 8. Speaking of Windows 8, we do need to note that there isn't anything along the lines of a touch display available - at least not yet, but the touchpad will always manage to deliver "touch" types of support.

There's a Lot More

The next notable feature of this monster laptop is the Panther 4's support for the NVIDIA Quadro K5000M, NVIDIA's most powerful GPU, which is central to the Panther 4 delivering ultra-performance capability. With a massive 4 GB of Error-Correcting Code video memory and 256 bit bandwidth, users will easily be able to display extremely complex scenes and models as well as calculate large datasets with ease – again, on the go.

EUROCOM Panther 4.0 uses quad channel memory, and enables the Panther 4.0 to initially support up to 32GB of DDR3 1600MHz RAM via four 8GB SODIMM 204 pin modules. With such massive amounts of RAM available, the Panther 4.0 becomes a great tool for virtualization and server class environments.

The system is capable to support 64GB – this option will be available in the future once memory vendors release their 16GB single SODIMM module design.

The Panther 4 supports four Solid State, Hybrid, or Enterprise level drives with RAID 0,1,5,10 capability and up to 4 TB of total storage (through four 1 terabyte storage drives); a wide range of connectivity and expansion technologies, such as, among others, USB 3.0, Firewire 800, Expresscard 34/54, eSATA, HDMI 1.4a, Display Port 1.2, and DVI-I; plenty of wireless and wired communications interfaces, such as built-in 10/100/1000Mb Base-TX Ethernet LAN (Intel 82579V), Bluetooth 4.0 and 802.11a/b/g/n WLAN; and six different choices of 17.3” Full HD 16:9, 1920x1080 displays, with choices of Matte, Glossy and 120Hz matte display surfaces.

For security, the Panther 4 is equipped with a Trusted Platform Module 1.2 (TPM) and a finger print reader/scanner.

Here is a more detailed view of where all the hardware sits:

A Bone to the Gamers!

OK, after all of that, we can give EUROCOM some gaming props. The company notes that the Panther 4 is available as a 3D enabled system or a non 3D system, depending on what the user needs. The Panther 4 will support Quad Buffering 3D technology, via supported NVIDIA Quadro cards to further enhance the capability and professional deployment of the machine.

In EUROCOM's own words, "supporting 3D technology provides users with an immersive 3D experience in games, movies, and any content with built in depth."

Are the days of liquid-cooled, tricked out, custom gaming machines over? Not quite – just as a Porsche Turbo 911 doesn't eliminate Formula 1, the Panther 4 won't kill the custom gaming computer market.

And the cost for all of this? Think in the neighborhood of $5,000 as a starting point.




Edited by Braden Becker



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