AVADirect Clevo D900F Specifications

Unlike some companies, AVADirect doesn't try to hide the fact that they are using "whitebook" notebook/laptop designs -- the name of the ODM is visible in each of their laptops. We appreciate the fact that they are willing to disclose what sort of chassis they use, and in pricing systems from various vendors that also sell these designs, AVADirect is certainly competitive. They also offer an extensive range of component customizations, to the point where users that are less knowledgeable may feel overwhelmed. Here are the specifications and options for the AVADirect D900F. Also worthy of note is that AVADirect is already shipping Windows 7, and we can see absolutely no reason to hold off upgrading to the new OS. It's Windows Vista version 2.0, and it's better in every way. Not that Vista is bad, mind you, but Windows 7 shouldn't be plagued by missing drivers and it improves performance relative to Vista.

AVADirect Clevo D900F Specifications
Processor Core i7 920 (4x2.66GHz+HTT, 45nm, 4.8GT/s QPI, 130W)
Core i7 940 (4x2.93GHz+HTT, 45nm, 4.8GT/s QPI, 130W)
Core i7 950 (4x3.06GHz+HTT, 45nm, 4.8GT/s QPI, 130W)
Core i7 975 (4x3.33GHz+HTT, 45nm, 6.4GT/s QPI, 130W)
Xeon L5506, L5520, E5540, X5550, X5560, or W5580
Chipset Intel X58+ICH10R
Memory From 2x1GB DDR3-1066 to 3x4096MB DDR3-1066
2x2GB DDR3-1333 supported
3x2048MB DDR3-1066 CL7 as configured
Graphics NVIDIA GeForce GTX 280M 1GB GDDR3
Display 17.1" CCFL Glossy WUXGA (1920x1200)
Hard Drive(s) Up to three HDDs/SSDs with optional RAID 0/1/5
Optical Drive 8x DVDR SuperMulti
Blu-ray Reader/DVDRW Combo
Blu-ray Recorder/DVDRW
Networking Realtek Gigabit Ethernet (RTL8168/8111 PCI-E)
Intel Wifi Link 5300 AGN WiFi
Bluetooth v2.1+EDR
56K Modem
Audio 6-Channel Realtek ALC662-GR HD Audio
(4 stereo speakers with four audio jacks+digital out)
Battery/Adapter 12-Cell 95.04Whr, 14.4V, 6600mAh
220W Power Brick
Front Side 4 x Audio/Microphone jacks
Left Side MS/MS Pro/SD/MMC reader
BDROM/DVDR Combo Drive
ExpressCard/54
1 x Mini FireWire
Gigabit Ethernet
56K Modem
Optional TV Tuner Input
1 x eSATA
HDMI
Right Side 4 x USB 2.0
Kensington Lock
Back Side 4 x Heat Exhaust
Dual-Link DVI
Power Adapter
Operating System Windows Vista, Windows 7, Redhat Linux, or Ubuntu
Dimensions 15.63" x 11.73" x 2.01-2.50" (WxDxH)
Weight 11.88 lbs (with 12-cell battery)
Extras 2.0MP Webcam
99-Key Keyboard with 10-Key
5 customizable/programmable buttons
Warranty 1-year standard Warranty
3-year extended warranty available
Price Starting at ~$2500 online.
Tested configuration priced at $3894.

Starting with the CPU, users can choose between four different Core i7 models, along with the option to use one of six different Xeon chips. The primary benefit of the Xeon chips is that they have lower TDP ratings, but they also offer lower performance in most cases and they cost more. The fastest Xeon W5580 is clocked slightly lower than the Core i7-975 (3.2 GHz compared to 3.33 GHz), but you'll pay an extra $700 at AVADirect -- or almost $1500 more than the Core i7-920. We were only able to test with a single CPU (the i7-975), so we can't really say whether users might experience other benefits from using one of the Xeon CPUs. In general, we would recommend sticking with the regular Core i7 CPUs.

Along with a high-power CPU, the D900F uses a desktop X58 chipset -- another power-hungry component. The result is that the system requires a very large battery in order to obtain even one hour of battery life. Idle power draw is still very high, so even in our best-case scenario (sitting at the Windows desktop with no applications running) we only get 66 minutes of battery life. Yeah: ouch!

AVADirect also provides a large selection of memory options, ranging from a minimum 2x1GB setup all the way up to 3x4GB. Naturally, you will need to install three SO-DIMMs if you want to take advantage of the triple-channel memory design of X58/Bloomfield. Most of the memory configurations run at DDR3-1066, the official spec for Bloomfield, but there's also an option to run 2x2GB at DDR3-1333. Overall, 3x2GB will be the best balance of price and memory capacity for the vast majority of users -- at least until 4GB DDR3 SO-DIMMs become mainstream.

The other options are all straightforward, but perhaps the most confusing aspect for some users is going to be deciding on the hard drive configuration. AVADirect/Clevo support up to three hard drives/solid state drives with RAID 0/1/5.our particular model was shipped with two 30GB OCZ Vertex SSDs in RAID 0 with a 500GB HDD providing mass storage. Unfortunately, 60GB isn't enough space to install even a small subset of our gaming benchmarks, so we used the hard drive for most of our gaming tests. If you really want to go the SSD route, we would recommend picking up at least a 120GB model, or grab two and configure them as a RAID 0 set. At $400 per 120GB OCZ Vertex SSD, such configurations quickly become extremely expensive, but they're very fast if your bottleneck happens to be HDD speed. In short, AVADirect offers practically any hard drive/SSD you might want, including 160GB Intel G2 SSDs priced at $690 apiece.

The bottom line is that the Clevo D900F is a big, bad desktop replacement/mobile workstation that is able to power through even the most intense CPU workloads. Unfortunately, it doesn't do as well in the graphics arena, as it's limited to a single GPU. With the fastest mobile GPU currently being NVIDIA's GTX 280M (or perhaps the Mobile HD 4870, though we'd stick with NVIDIA for the mobile reference drivers if nothing else) -- approximately the same performance as a desktop 9800 GTX -- games are definitely going to be GPU limited. If you're after a mobile workstation sporting a quad-core processor with Hyper-Threading, however, this is currently the fastest notebook around.

Some might scoff at the high price -- our test system as configured costs close to $4000 -- but there are professional applications that can cost several times as much per installation. We've heard of companies that benefit greatly by being able to take a mobile workstation out to a worksite and avoid the need of commuting/traveling back to the office to do their work. After all, even a top-end configuration costing $5000 is a drop in the bucket compared to a $50,000 application. If you want to keep costs down a bit, dropping to a Core i7-920 CPU and sticking with conventional hard drives can easily bring the price under $3000.

Index AVADirect Clevo D900F Design
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  • 7Enigma - Thursday, October 15, 2009 - link

    Jarred,

    Ignore these people. They exist in a bubble that revolves around only what they perceive as useful....to THEM. For the rest of us, even though many of us will never need/want a system like this, it is enjoyable to read about how far (and how far left) they have come.

    What's funny is some of these same people will ooh and ahh over the latest $600+ gpu or $1000+ cpu knowing they also will never buy one of these.

    This is a tech site. The purpose is to review and discuss new technology, regardless of what mainstream appeal it has. If that was the case you should only be reviewing sub-$300 cpu/gpu and sub $500 monitors as that is what the vast majority of us purchase. While your at it, forget about hydravision, large capacity SSD's, 3D LCD's/goggles, etc.

    Keep up the good work and try to ignore the trolls. That extra 10min you use to respond to a post like this could be better used GETTING SOME OC NUMBERS ON THE LATEST GPU! (hint...hint) :)
    Reply
  • hybrid2d4x4 - Wednesday, October 14, 2009 - link

    I, for one, appreciate the review, even if the products are not relevant to me- I'm sure there are people out there that do want a high-end all-in-one/laptop. At any rate, I did want to chime in with a suggestion of what I'd like to see in upcoming mobile reviews: non-cookiecutter netbooks such as the ION-based ones (ex: HP Mini 311), or ones that stand out from the crowd by virtue of better screens (matte), battery life, passive/quiet cooling, etc. Basically, keep doing what you're already doing, as you've already had articles on the Asus 1005HA and CULV. Also, any word on the next-gen Atoms with the new chipset and IGP? Reply
  • mac2j - Wednesday, October 14, 2009 - link

    I understand the difficulty in getting samples of new high demand models.

    But if you want to know what a really useful comparison would be:

    High-end Core i7 laptops (Envy 15, XPS16, M15x, MSI etc):

    Aesthetics vs performance (business v multimedia v games) vs battery life vs extras vs cost

    I'd be willing to bet that would be extremely useful for a lot of people and widely cited across the net.

    Personally I ordered a Studio XPS 16 (820QM) almost a month ago and I'm still waiting for it so I'm sure it would take you a while to collect all the samples from the relevant companies... but it would be worth it IMO.
    Reply
  • 5150Joker - Saturday, November 7, 2009 - link

    All the laptops you listed are junk. None of them can hold a candle to the Clevo W860CU and they aren't anymore aesthetically pleasing.

    HP Envy: overheating mac rip off that doesnt have an optical drive.

    Dell SXPS 16: gets so hot you can cook on it while using it. Say goodbye to your sperm count.

    Alienware m15x: competitor to the clevo series and fails. Overpriced, underperforming and poor quality control.

    Reply
  • strikeback03 - Wednesday, October 14, 2009 - link

    Here's me posting my comment for the laptop makers to please offer better choices on LCDs. Its about time to replace my T43, am I really going to have to move from a matte IPS screen to something worse? Reply
  • mac2j - Wednesday, October 14, 2009 - link

    Why compare a bunch of notebooks that no one buys? The total 2009 sales for every notebook in this article will be in the thousands.

    How about comparing high end notebooks people are actually (trying to) buy.

    HP Envy 15 vs Dell Studio XPS 16 vs Alienware M15x vs MSI Core i7s etc ....

    The choice of systems and the timing of this article makes it a useless waste of space.
    Reply
  • TheQuestian - Tuesday, December 8, 2009 - link

    Irony. Reply
  • 5150Joker - Saturday, November 7, 2009 - link

    Your post along with several others here is a waste of space. Reply
  • GeorgeH - Wednesday, October 14, 2009 - link

    Super-CPU? Check.
    Super-GPU? Check.
    Super-HDs? Check.
    Super-RAM? Check.
    Super-LCD? Wait, what?

    The LCD situation on these laptops is ridiculous. The most important component in any laptop is the LCD screen, and the second is the chassis and keyboard - component specs come in a distant third.

    As long as I have a choice I will never, ever own a laptop with a glossy screen and a native resolution less than 1920x1200 (for ~15" and up.) I don't care if a laptop has the fastest components ever, if you interact effectively with it you might as well be using a "regular" laptop. If you're using these for work, the few seconds you save using faster components to render and compile your projects will be lost many, many times over in human inefficiencies due to interface issues. If you're using them for gaming, you'll get awesome FPS and ability to use super high detail settings that'll be wasted on a dull, reflective screen.

    It's crap like this that makes people switch to MacBook Pros. The components are lousy, the prices are lousy, and the company's policies are lousy, but you get a laptop that's a pleasure to own and interact with. Regardless of your feelings towards Apple, you have to admit they know how to build a laptop - as a complete piece of hardware the MBP is matched by only a handful of PC laptops (mostly "business class" models that the average consumer doesn't even know about), and surpassed by none.
    Reply
  • warezme - Wednesday, October 14, 2009 - link

    Uh, hello??

    Macbook Pro's have glass glossy screens. You just contradicted your own statement. And for convenience and ease of use, Apple needs to master how its touchpad works and right clicking because it just doesn't work. But if you are going to give points to your system on aesthetics alone I suppose you will learn to live with it dude.



    Reply

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