Eurocom Monster Performance
Performance is just as stonking as the Monster’s monstrous spec-list might lead you to expect. First off, there’s the quad-core ‘Ivy Bridge’ Core i7 processor, which in our sample was an i7-3920XM, a 2.9GHz CPU which can clock up to 3.8GHz and supports up to eight virtual cores. As you may already know from those last two letters on the model name, that means this is the Extreme Edition of one of Intel’s chips – and it alone will set you back $1,085 over a regular Core i5, which is the base option.
Now let’s just get one thing straight: Intel’s Extreme Edition processors, both in desktop and laptop configurations, are ridiculous. There is no other word for the amount of money you’re paying for a relatively small performance gain, and there is no game on planet earth that needs one to look and play its best.
With that out of the way, 4GB of RAM is standard but our review spec came with 8GB, which adds $120. You can upgrade to 16GB for $440, but at that stage we would just install the RAM yourself.
The 750GB hybrid hard drive is also an improvement over the 500GB plain HDD that’s included by default, but in order for the storage to keep up with the rest of the system and to provide an absolutely smooth Windows experience, we would seriously consider spending an extra $100 to get the 256GB Crucial SSD option instead.
Eurocom Monster Gaming
Gaming is where things get really interesting for the Monster, thanks to its Nvidia GeForce GT650M. Given this, it should significantly outperform even the 15in Acer Aspire Timeline U M3 581TG, which only had a GT540M to call its own.
TrackMania Nations Forever (average fps, 720p, Medium Detail)
S.T.A.L.K.E.R: Call of Pripyat (average fps, 720p, Medium Detail)
Naturally this little Eurocom munched like a Cookie monster through our standard gaming benchmarks at 720p. In fact, in many games it provided just as smooth an experience as the Wired2Fire Vector Elite with its AMD Radeon HD 6990M, though if you crank the detail up in demanding titles the more premium card will pull ahead.
However, an average of over 95fps in our Stalker test is nothing to sniff at, and neither is 37fps in Crysis at High Detail. Though it’s getting on a bit, the original Crysis still sets a standard that has rarely been exceeded in gaming graphics. It scales very well, but with everything at maximum we haven’t yet found a single-card laptop that could play it smoothly. Indeed, notching details up to max at the same 1,280 x 720 resolution returned a less playable 25fps average.
Inevitably for such a small chassis, the Monster does get rather warm and noisy while under stress, especially when gaming. However, that’s the nature of the beast’s size.
Eurocom Monster Battery Life
The Monster uses a pretty hefty battery pack for such a small laptop, coming in at 5600mAh/62Wh. However, thanks no doubt in part to the Extreme Edition processor, it only managed just over three and a half hours in our battery test. Mind you, we were able to get longer out of it with manual regular usage, but activating this laptop’s dedicated graphics will net you even less than that figure.
Eurocom Monster Value
By any measure, Eurocom’s W110ER Monster 1.0 is pretty decent value, especially in its £653 base configuration, which gets you an Intel Core i5 CPU, 4GB of RAM, a fast 500GB HDD and of course that 2GB GeForce GT650M. In fact, upgrade the hard drive to an SSD and you’ve got yourself a pretty competent miniature gaming system.
German MySN (which also ships to the UK) charges around the same for an identical Clevo chassis with a Core i3, 2GB of RAM, less video memory and a smaller hard drive, while a Dell Alienware M14x with similar specs will set you back around £1,050. Admittedly, in the latter case you’re getting a better-looking chassis with a far superior keyboard and a screen that blows the Monster’s out of the water, but we’re also talking about a larger, bulkier machine here and nearly £400 of extra change.
Despite its quirky keyboard, temperamental touchpad and average screen, the 11.6-inch Eurocom Monster is a great gaming laptop if you’re after something that’s as portable as they come while remaining affordable. It offers excellent connectivity and is highly configurable, with specifications that really have no business in such a small chassis. Last but far from least, featuring a 2GB Nvidia GeForce GT650M across the range means that even demanding titles can be run at reasonable detail levels on the base spec.