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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  • psonice - Wednesday, October 14, 2009 - link

    These things aren't really mobile - they're huge, weigh a ton, and have totally inadequate battery life. So what you have really is a desktop machine with a built-in keyboard and monitor. I'd call that an all-in-one :) Reply
  • gstrickler - Wednesday, October 14, 2009 - link

    [quote]The only reason to avoid such a large battery appears to be weight, and the W870CU is 3 pounds lighter than either of the other notebooks if that matters to you -- but it still weighs almost 9 pounds.[/quote]If it's over 7.5 pounds travel weight (including battery and AC adapter, excluding carrying case), it's not a notebook or laptop. You can call it a transportable, an all-in-one, or a even a portable computer, but please don't refer to them as notebooks.

    If it doesn't get at least 2 hours runtime on battery, it's definitely not a mobile or portable computer, although the transportable or all-in-one name works.

    We really need some industry standard definitions for these, but until we have them, please refrain from using notebook to refer to 9 to 12 pound computers.
    Reply
  • strikeback03 - Wednesday, October 14, 2009 - link

    I'd say we need less artificial market segmentation with dumb terms. For example, "netbook" was originally used to refer to cheap, small, light, low-powered laptops. However, you now have "netbooks" in 11-15" screen sizes and at prices pushing well into mainstream laptop territory. I'd argue that laptop/notebook should just refer to the basic form factor, and don't bother trying to differentiate on other features such as size and battery life. Reply
  • IlllI - Wednesday, October 14, 2009 - link

    what that comment about something being beaten with an ugly stick?
    these machines are the epitome of function over form. well, i guess it does what its suppose to do.. but i'd be embarrassed to be seen in public with something that has all the aesthetics of a mobile phone from 1988





    Reply
  • - Wednesday, October 14, 2009 - link

    LOL!! Reply
  • Whoeverulike - Monday, September 22, 2014 - link

    The D900F is a great machine. We have run virtually ours 24 hours a day since 2009 so that some going. Now though, its time for some spares to protect our investment so we can earn the value from buying premium hardware. But guess what? Hardly anyone can help us with simple things like screen inverter or chassis feet, not even a cable to rewire the 4-pin DIN power jack lead to the inverter brick. Isn't that surprising? Maybe it isn't to those here but I am a little shocked by it. And now at a time when people like me come looking at sites like this, we are expecting to see something about long term use cases. The D900F and machines like it, before and since are about the nearest that [gaming] laptop users who also possibly have another use for the machine as well, are likely to come to a custom build. But as MonicaS says below building one, if you can do it - if you can know how you are buying for long term return on investment is about the only way one can actually justify some pretty hefty prices especially when we talk about no stripped down power unit but full monty desktop processors like the core i7 in the D900F. It will be interesting if someone else posts in response to this. I didn't see a button to alert me if there is another post to look at. Originally I came by to see if there was a direct contact at Anandtech who may know how to help us in our quest. Reply

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