The Eurocom Scorpius lives a dual life. On one hand, it’s a dull-looking workstation; on the other, this highly configurable laptop can also be outfitted with a 3D monitor and killer gaming specs. We opted for the latter.
The Scorpius has a backlit keyboard that can change to seven different colors.
Along with a 120Hz refresh rate, the 17.3-inch monitor features a built-in 3D emitter that syncs up to a pair of bundled Nvidia 3D Vision 2 glasses. To test the 3D experience, we played the 3D Vision Ready–title Batman: Arkham City and sampled some 3D movie trailers from 3DVisionLive.com. Nvidia’s stereoscopic technology rivals the best that movie theaters have to offer in terms of depth, and never bothered our eyes, but the experience wasn’t perfect. Even though Nvidia purports to have solved the dimming issue with its Vision 2 glasses, you’re still essentially wearing sunglasses, so the experience is going to be darker than viewing content in 2D without glasses. We also feel that wearing glasses in and of itself is cumbersome.
The most vexing problem is that when 3D is enabled, performance suffers greatly. Our frame rate dropped by half, from 50s to mid-20s, when playing Batman in 3D as opposed to 2D. In our opinion, these various issues detract too much from the experience; we’d rather play in 2D mode. As for the TN panel in 2D mode, while some sing the praises of 120Hz’s ability to improve even 2D image quality, we didn’t see any noticeable improvement over 60Hz performance when surfing the web, watching videos, or playing games.
We had little complaint with our system’s internal specs, however, which included a 2.8GHz Intel Core i7-3840QM CPU, 16GB of RAM, and not one, but two GeForce GTX 680Ms in SLI. In our more CPU-intensive tests, the Scorpius scored modest wins of 6–13 percent. However, when it came to the more GPU-intensive applications, our zero-point’s comparatively humble Fermi-based GeForce GTX 670M GPU got severely stung by the Scorpius’s two Kepler beasts. In our STALKER: CoP benchmark, the Scorpius performed an amazing 112.5 percent better than the ZP; the performance gap only widened in our 3DMark 11 test, where it performed an astonishing 248.1 percent better. Because these benchmark stats were so amazing, we loaded up Far Cry 3 to give it a real workout. While the Scorpius wasn’t able to run the super-graphically intensive game on “Ultra” (the game’s highest settings), it ran at “Very High” with frame rates in the mid-40s to low-50s range, and often outperformed a 2.8GHz AMD quad-core gaming desktop armed with a GTX 590. It seems unfair to bring up the fact that the far less expensive ($1,500) GT60 zero-point laptop wasn’t even able to muster a solid 30fps on FC3’s “High” settings. The only performance test where the GT60 bested the Scorpius was in battery life, where Eurocom’s laptop lasted a poor 103 minutes. Something’s got to give when you’re powering two 680Ms.
In terms of storage, the laptop comes with two drives: a 128GB mSATA Micron and 512GB SSD. While the two speedy drives are appreciated, the lack of a hefty HDD really limits the overall package. Luckily, the laptop takes up to three 2.5-inch storage drives and installing an additional HDD requires the removal of just one screw from the bottom of the laptop. Users can also access the motherboard from underneath and swap out the RAM. Eurocom has made the main compartment easily removable, with only four screws holding it in place.
While the laptop certainly performs well, it still has issues. Its trackpad is unresponsive and can be an exercise in frustration to use. Perhaps a bigger problem is that this thing is heavy. With a carry weight of more than 13 pounds, the Scorpius is in backbreaker territory. Finally, at almost $4,000, it’s very expensive.
Fortunately, most of these issues can be mitigated. You can save money by skipping out on the 3D monitor and second SSD. And you can overlook its battery, weight, and trackpad issues by understanding that the Scorpius is best used as a desktop replacement. Its performance is simply off the charts, and complaining about its other problems is like complaining about how a Ferrari is expensive, bad with fuel economy, and doesn’t have enough cup holders. If those issues are enough to bother you, you’re looking at the wrong machine. This laptop is all about performance and here the Scorpius is a stinger.
Two GeForce GTX 680Ms; uncompromising performance; 3D monitor (if you’re interested).
Really expensive; super heavy; horrible trackpad.
Stitch.Efx 2.0 (sec)
ProShow Producer 5 (sec)
x264 HD 5.0 (fps)
STALKER: CoP (fps)
3DMark 11 Perf
Battery Life (min)
Our zero-point notebook is an MSI GT60 with a 2.3GHz Intel Core i7-3610QM, 12GB DDR3/1600, two 500GB Seagate 7,200rpm hard drives, a GeForce GTX 670M, and Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit. STALKER: CoP tested at 1920x1080 with Ultra settings, Tessellation, and contact hardening.
2.8GHz Intel Core i7-3840QM
2x Nvidia GeForce GTX 680M 4GB DDR5
17.3-inch, 1920x1080 120Hz LCD LED (matte)
128GB mSATA 6Gb/s, 512GB SSD 6Gb/s
Panasonic UJ-260AB Blu-ray
Ethernet, HDMI, eSATA, S/PDIF out, 9-in-1 card reader, DisplayPort, 4x USB 3.0, 1x USB 2.0, audio in, audio out, headphone, mic, 2MP webcam, 802.11n