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Eurocom Shark 2.0 Review (GTX 765M)

Table of Contents (in short):

++ Main reason to consider:

With the right discounts, you’ll get a very good and cost effective gaming laptop with two HDD bays.

– Main reason to avoid:

There are faster or more feature rich gaming laptops for around the same price.

Availability

Eurocom Shark 2.0 (US/Canada), but other W350ST also available, like the Sager NP7355.

Pro:

+ Good gaming performance for the price with the GTX 765M
+ Good enough 1080p display for movies and gaming
+ 2 HDD bays + 1 mSata connection port
+ Case does not get hot almost at all.
+ Solid design
+ Comfortable keys
+ Throttling, if exists, is minor

Con:

– Not as fast as others in the same price range (Y510p SLI)
– Speakers lack bass.
– CPU can get hot (but not more than competitors, usually).
– .Even Clevo has an IPS equipped gaming laptop for the same price more or less (W230ST)
– Battery won’t last long
– No backlit keyboard

 

Introduction

Component
Description
Price$800-$900
CPUI5-4200M
GPUGTX 765M 2GB GDDR5@1000MHZ
RAMKingston 1x8GB 1600MHZ DDR3
HDDSeagate 500GB SSHD ST500LM000-1EJ162
LCD Panel1080p matte TN Panel. Model: LG Display LP156WF1-TLF3
Weight / Dimensions2.7kg / 5.9lbs,  37.4cm (w) x 25cm (d) x 4.4cm (h)
Keyboardstandard (non-backlit)
Connection Portsright side: 2xUSB 3.0, 1xHDMI, 1xLAN, 1xeSata, SD Card
left side: 1xUSB 2.0, mic and headphones connection ports, kensington lock
rear: 1x VGA, Power connection
Camera2.0 Megapixels; FHD 1920x1080; 30fps
WiFiIntel Centrino Wireless-N 2230 BGN 2x2 HMC WiFi/Bluetooth Adapter + Bluetooth 4.0
Speakers2.0 Onkyo
Battery6 cell, 77Wh

The Eurocom Shark 2.0 is based on the Clevo W350ET (or W370ET if you want the 17.3″ option) and basically the same as other names like the Sager NP7353/NP7355 (the 7355 has a backlit keyboard). Eurocom use as a default the Diamond 24 thermal paste instead the default one for Clevo laptops, which is a nice touch.

The W350ET is Clevos’ current midrange 15.6″ gaming laptop and usually priced around $900-$1000. Eurocom Shark 2.0 is a little bit cheaper with price around $825 for configuration with an I5-4200M, 500G SSHD and 4GB/8GB DDR3. Throw in the 10% off student discount or some other discount and you’ll get a fine price.

I chose the I5-4200M variant since it is much cheaper and we already know that for gaming the I5-4200M is very capable with almost no disadvantages compared to the I7, in such cases of being coupled with a GPU like the GTX 765M.

In the box

The W350ET itself, drivers and PSU. that’s all. I ask myself when will I have anything else to write.

 

Build quality, Case, design and looks

The Shark 2.0 has an average+ enclosure rigidity with some flexibility in the keyboard surface and around, but you’d have to use a considerable pressure to get this flex. The keyboard surface itself is less rigid, but doesn’t to flex under reasonable use, including typing.

The screen enclosure is stronger than some other laptops I’ve tested and although it is not that hard, still, you can expect it to protect the panel itself from small heats. The plastic bottom is hard. The screen hinges are very firm.

The looks are a typical Clevo style. Grey / silver color is mixed with black and a solid, bit boring, design, but looks not too outdated. It looks bulky, however.

The W350ST / Shark 2.0 come with two 2.5 bays and one mSata connection.

Keyboard and trackpad

The W350ET keyboard is nice actually. Not perfect, but the keys are well spaced and big enough, both in width and height, and feedback is good. It does require to much power to push in my opinion. For some reason, the keyboard location pointer (on the screen) jumps to other points here and there – might be some kind of sensitivity of the trackpad because when I keep my hands away from the trackpad surroundings it does not happen. But it is annoying anyway.

The trackpad is comfortable and responsive, but too small. The two buttons are separated and can be even used for gaming (but it is not fun).

 

Sound & Speakers

The ‘Onkyo’ speakers are located on the left and right parts above the keyboard. Nothing special to say about the speakers quality – they are average at best, with bass totally lacking. Don’t expect to enjoy it too much, but it will be good enough for occasional gaming and some movies maybe. I would suggest using external speakers or headphone and for those who like it – try replacing the speakers yourself.

 

General Subjective Performance Experience

The general feeling is good, but it did feel that there is some kind of slowness where it shouldn’t be. Maybe it is the fact that there is only one stick of RAM, but I don’t think this is really the case.

Anyway, it is quite responsive. I would suggest picking some cheap mSata or SSD to run the OS from.

 

Gaming Performance

The test includes some synthetic benchmarks and a small amount of games and the point is to give a reference benchmarks compared to other machines. For more numbers are available over the web in sites like Notebookcheck.com.

 

Test Methods & Drivers

Using Nvidia Driver 332.21, Windows 7 fully updated as I write these lines. HWInfo was used to measure temperatures.

The settings I used in each game differ from one to another and the reason is that I tried to find the highest settings which still let you play smoothly. All games are tested with 1080p resolution.  There are enough standard benchmarks over the web to compare performance of different GPUs. For each game, I also wrote how I felt playing, if it was smooth or not.

 

Synthetic 3D benchmarks

Eurocom Shark 2.0 Review / W350ET Review 3dmark

 

Eurocom Shark 2.0 Review, gaming performance, highest, 1080p

Starcraft II

Highest settings, 1080p with four players and a lot of units, you’ll get around 45-60 FPS at least.

 

World of Tanks (WoT)

Highest settings, FXAA on, 1080p resolution, you’ll get an average of 33-40FPS, depends on the scene. Very smooth and responsive.

 

LoL (League of Legends)

highest settings, 1080p resolution, a lot of units fighting and 5-6 players at a scene – not lower than 45-60 FPS. Smooth and responsive.

Crysis 3

TD = Texture Details, PP = Post Processing

Crysis 3, 1080p
SettingsFPS (Min)Feel
Highest, SMAAx4TX13-16Not smooth
Highest, SMAAx2TX16-23Not smooth, but in many cases very playable
Highest, no AA18-23same as above
High, SMAAx417-21Not smooth, but playable
High, SMAAx2TX25-27Not smooth
High, no AA26-35Rather smooth, very playable
High, PP on ‘low’, SMAAx2TX26-32Rather smooth, very playable
Medium, high TD, SMAAx229-37Very smooth
Medium, high TD, AA off30-38Very smooth
Medium, medium, AA off32-40Very smooth

Crysis 3 runs well on medium or high settings. Personally, high settings were smooth enough for me, but you could use medium settings to get higher FPSs. I would use also SMAAx2 to get better results.

 

Bioshock Infinite

Highest settings in all tests, Ambient Occlusion, Texture details and texture filtering on ‘Ultra’, Post processing on ‘alternate’.

Bioshock Infinite, 1080p
SettingsFPSFeel
Highest, Post Processing on alternate26-35VerySmooth
Highest, Post Processing on normal31-40Smooth

Bioshock Infinite will run quite well with even highest settings, but I would suggest setting post processing on ‘normal’ just to get a smoother experience. You might want to lower some other settings as needed

Bioshock Infinite benchmark tool results:

28.79 18.30 52.15 Welcome Center
29.03 18.95 33.19 Scene Change: Disregard Performance In This Section
30.97 18.27 39.90 Town Center
29.77 25.66 40.60 Raffle
42.27 34.01 46.31 Monument Island
45.48 39.60 46.84 Benchmark Finished: Disregard Performance In This Section
31.66 18.27 52.15 Overall

Compared to the notebookcheck results of the GTX 765M using the same settings and benchmark (1080p, 2nd option with DDOF), the W350WT performs better by a bit, even compared to the Asus G750JW and remember that the settings include “Post Processing” set on ‘alternate’ which is even more taxing. Also remember that we are talking an I5-4200M here, not an I7.

Skyrim

Skyrim, 1080p
SettingsFPS (Min)Feel
Highest, 8xAA, TF on quality, AO on quality, AFx1624-26not totally smooth
Highest, 8xAA, TF on quality, AO off, AFx1631-33Very smooth
Highest, 4xAA, TF on quality, AO on quality, AFx1628-30almost smooth
Highest, 4xAA, TF on quality, AO on off, AFx1634very smooth
Highest, 2xAA, TF on quality, AO on on, AFx1630-32almost smooth
Highest, 2xAA, TF on quality, AO on off, AFx1637very smooth
ThrottlingNo

Skyrim runs smoothly with AO off. Setting AO on quality (through Nvidi control center) will result in a performance hit. I’d try running Skyrim with AO off or on performance mode (‘off’ is default) and AA x4 which is enough. I could hardly see any difference in graphics with AO or without, but just try it and see what works well for you.

 

Borderlands 2

Borderlands 2, 1080p
SettingsFPS (Min)Feel
Highest, 8xAF, FXAA, all on including Ambient Occlusion25-35Very smooth
Highest, 8xAF, FXAA, all on including Ambient Occlusion, Phsyx on mediumsameVery smooth
Highest, 8xAF, FXAA, all on including Ambient Occlusion, Phsyx on low (which is ‘off’)40-60Very smooth
Highest, 8xAF, FXAA, all on, Ambient Occlusion OFF, Phsyx on medium33-43.Very smooth

The Phsyx settings has big impact on performance, but I would suggest keeping phsyx settings on at least medium as it adds a lot, maybe with AO off. You’ll have to try for yourself.

Battlefield 4

Battlefield 4, 1080p
SettingsFPS (Min)Feel
Highest16-21Not smooth
High29-36Quite smooth
Medium45-60Very smooth

Battlefield 4 single player campaign runs ok on high settings with a minimum FPS of 29FPS and run very smooth on medium settings. Some multiplayer scenarios will require more power from the CPU probably (at least for now). I would suggest starting with “high” settings and tweak the configuration to see what works for you.

 

Rome: Total War II

Rome: Total War II benchmark, 1080p
SettingsFPS (Min)Feel
‘Ultra’ settings25
‘Very high’ settings27

This is the built-in Rome: Total War 2 benchmarkd with the “forest” scene.

 

Dota 2

Highest settings, 1080p resolution.

Dota 2, 1080p
SettingsFPS (Min)Feel
Highest36-45Very smooth

Smooth. You could run Dota 2 on highset settings easily.

 

Thermals, Throttling & Noise handling

Tests settings:

1. Prime95: Torture test, In-Place large FFTs

2. Prime95 + FurMark 1280×720 burn-in test

3. Crysis 3, highest settings

4. No cooling pad, but ventilation hole unblocked.

5. Windows power mode on “high performance”

 

Eurocom Shark 2.0 / Clevo W350ET CPU and GPU temperatures:

Eurocom Shark 2.0 temperatures

Thermals are good. The CPU does get hot, but never throttles or gets too hot (above 90C) – it might peak at more than 90C, but it happened to me only when I blocked the ventilation hole. It also might get hotter in hotter environment, but then the fan will spin faster.  It is obviously not an ideal cooling system, but it does the job quite well, if you remember that the high temperatures were achieved with really full load of Prime95 + Furmark and under gaming it is lower, even with the very demanding Crysis 3. Running many other games will result in lower temperatures.

One bright point is that you won’t feel it almost at all – the case itself won’t get warm except the edge of the rear part, where the hot air is thrown into the abyss.

HDD temperatures are also kept reasonable with almost no increase in temperature.

 

Throttling.

Although the W350ST CPU got quite hot, I had no throttling problems (unlike the I7 equipped W350ST in the notebookcheck review). This is good.

 

Noise.

The W350ET is quite under light load, but it will kick in for a second sometimes which is a bit annoying, but it is quite rare. Under full load, like the Prime95 + Furmark test or Crysis 3 it will spin fast but not its fastest, producing mild noise – it didn’t bother me too much with earphones, for example, but it was noticeable. It will rarely get to its fastest speed, usually when the CPU somehow jumps to 93-95C (as I said, if you block the ventilation hole)

 

Screen & Screen quality

ModelLG LP156WF1-TLF3
Resolution1080p
Touchno
MatteYes
Color coverage89% sRGB (tested)

My measures show relatively good sRGB color coverage. This screen is however might not be suitable for some professionals, especially those who do color corrections or relay on a good color reproduction.

Contrast and brightness are sufficient for every day use, especially in a not too lighted environment.

 

 

Viewing angles.

Well, they are ok. Horizontally they are good with low color distortion. Vertically they are not as wide. Looking from above you could easily see color distortions.

 

Bottom line

This is an average 1080p according to current standard. It is good enough for gaming and you’ll probably enjoy it very much. I see no reason to add money for the upgraded display.

I must say that the difference will be noticeable with a good IPS display quite easily, so consider other options too – and this is true to not only this laptop.

 

Battery Performance

The large battery suffices for only around 3-3.5 hours under light use and with power mode set to “power saver”.

 

 

Competing gaming laptops / Alternatives

The Eurocom Shark 2.0 and other W350ST based laptops are competing on the $900-$1000 gaming laptops range. The Eurocom Shark 2.0 actually offers the same solution as other for a lower price than the others, for the basic configuration with an I5-4200M and the non-upgrade screen (other configurations might be less cost effective). Currently, only $825 before any discounts.

But the biggest competitor currently is the Lenovo Y510p SLI I5 (glj review) model with GT 750M SLI, I5-4200M, 1080p display, 1TB SSHD and Windows OS for $850-$900. You get a bigger SSHD, a much better sound quality, around the same battery performance and an OS for the same price. Oh yea, and a much better gaming performance averagely. The disadvantages of the y510p are some. It utilizes an SLI sollution which has some drivers (and probably not only) problems and that results sometimes in artifacts and problems – which is solvable for the most part, but require some effort. Finally, the Y510p case gets hotter and some variants have no mSata connection, but the heat problem is a less concern since you can tweak the voltages and limit the GPU a bit and still get much higher gaming performance than GTX 765M equipped laptops, while maintaining lower temperatures. Another issue is the Y510p trackpad which is not as good.

So it is not blacks and white. The Shark 2.0 / W350ST has more customization options with two HDD bays and the mSata connection port and out of the butt it is cooler and has less artifacts in games. But the Y510p is more a significantly more cost effective option as far as gaming performance goes and the good sound quality does make a difference.

There are more competitors which you can check in the $1000 gaming laptops section. To name few – the more interesting Clevo W230ST (Eurocom M3), Asus N56JR, Toshiba X70 and some more.

 

Conclusion

Well, it is a good laptop overall but the competition is hard. You get a machine that probably wouldn’t get too hot, has good enough 1080p display for gaming and movies, solid looks and enough space to house another HDD/SSD or an mSata drive. The gaming performance for the price is very high and one of the best with most games running well on very high settings, including Crysis 3.

However, not everything is green. The sound quality can make you sad while watching movies and battery performance peaks at 3.5 hours, maybe a little higher.

But as I mentioned in the competitors section – the competition is hard. The Y510p really knocking off all the others in the FPS department in almost every game. The difference in FPS with the Y510p compared to GTX 765M based laptops can get as high as 50% advantage and even higher in some cases (Bioshock Infinite, Tomb Raider, Borderlands 2). Some games won’t benefit from the SLI, but they are few. The good sound quality and OS for the same price, with the y510p slick looks make it a very fierce competitor. However, as mentioned, the SLI does have its problems and actually the GTX 765m felt better with Crysis 3 and smoother, for medium-high settings, at least for me.

But there are more – the smaller Clevo W230ST (Eurocom M3) also has the GTX 765M inside, but equipped with a high quality 1080p IPS display which gives it an edge. Other options exist too (again, check the $1000 gaming laptop list).

So, I’d say the Eurocom M3 is a good option, but the question is what is the price. With some discount you could get it for as low as $750 and it even got lower here and there. The 10% off student discount will do just that. So if you have no need of an OS pre-installed and you want to save money, you can try and catch the Eurocom Shark 2.0 for $700-$750 (call them and ask for a discount). You’ll get a good gaming laptop for a very good price – just remember to use earphones or get some nice speakers. If you prefer the fastest laptop or/and want the OS included, the Y510p currently is the more appealing option.