AVADirect Clevo P180HM Gaming Notebook Review - HotHardware

AVADirect Clevo P180HM Gaming Notebook Review

20 thumbs up
AVADirect should include a bumper sticker with its Clevo P180HM notebook that says, "My desktop replacement beat up your Ultrabook and defiled your MacBook Air." Don't get transfixed on the notion that someone would be silly enough to own both of those ultraslim systems rather than choose one over the other. The point we're trying to make is that the P180HM is big, it's mean, and it makes a complete mockery of the mobile form factor. And you know what? We're totally cool with that.

Let's talk a moment about portability versus mobility. These aren't one in the same, and if that has you scratching your head, follow along, it will make sense in a moment. A Zenbook is mobile. So is your typical 15.6-inch notebook, and even some 17-inch systems. But there's a line in the sand between notebooks and desktop replacements, and once you cross it, your system is no longer mobile, it's portable.
The P180HM weighs upwards of 12 pounds, which is too heavy to toss into your bag on a whim or open up in a coffee shop and blend in inconspicuously with the other patrons. No, you carefully close up the P180HM, lift with two hands, and pack it neatly into your oversized laptop bag that's big enough to accommodate an 18.4-inch notebook. When you take it out at Starbucks, you mark off your area with yellow tape, tell everyone to stand back, and then place it on the coffee table with a thud. Your latte sits on the floor next to your foot, because there isn't room for it on the table, and because the P180HM would probably guzzle it up anyway. And you better be sure you're near a power source, there's no such thing as all-day computing on a desktop replacement.

The trade off you're making with systems like the P180HM is far less mobility for a whole heck of a lot more power in a form factor that's still portable. To wit, the customizable P180HM we received rocks a fast Core i7-2760QM quad-core processor, a heaping pile of RAM (12GB), and not one, but two GeForce GTX 560M GPUs configured in SLI. It's built for gaming on the go, and with an 18.4-inch LED backlit display, it's big enough to at least consider using as your main system at home. In fact, the P180HM is better spec'd than most mainstream desktops, and even rivals higher end machines. But unlike your desktop tower, you can have the P180HM packed up and ready to head out and kick some tail at the LAN party across town in under a minute. That's what we mean when we say it's portable. But is it practical to drop over two and a half large on a notebook of this caliber? Let's tackle that question beginning right now.

AVADirect Clevo P180HM
Specifications & Features

Clevo P180HM


18.4" (1920x1080)


Intel Core i7 2760QM (2.4GHz)


12GB DDR3-1333


Nvidia GeForce GTX 560M x2 (SLI)


OCZ Vertex 3 Max IOPS 120GB SSD
Western Digital Scorpio Blue 1TB


Blu-ray reader/DVD burner combo

Operating System

Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit


Bigfoot Networks Killer Wireless-N 1103 (internal PCIe)


2MP webcam

Wired Internet

10/100/1000 Ethernet


2xUSB 3.0, 4xUSB 2.0, eSATA/USB 2.0 combo, FireWire, HDMI, DVI-I, Headphone, Microphone, S/PDIF, Line-in, GbE LAN, 9-in-1 Media Card Reader


12.34 lbs


17.28 x 11.77 x 1.73-2.56 inches (WxDxH)


1 Year


$2,589.33 as configured

There are a boatload of customizations you can make to the Clevo P180HM, and the one AVADirect sent our way is a higher end configuration with a price tag to match. Cost of entry is just shy of $1,870 and includes the same mammoth display and dual-GTX 560M configuration. AVADirect opted to surround these parts with lust-worthy components, including 12GB of DDR3-1333 memory, a wicked fast 120GB OCZ Vertex 3 Max IOPS solid state drive to make the OS fly, a 1TB Western Digital drive to store all our naughty files, a Blu-ray reader, and even a Bigfoot Networks Killer Wireless-N card. This thing is a beast; let's find out if it roars.

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Great review Paul this notebook put up some great numbers for sure.

It was great to get a perspective on the company AVA as I have heard of them but never knew much about them.

Its portable- You can occasionally move this Notebook.

Its not Mobile- you will not be lugging this beast around with you day in and day out.

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AVADirect Clevo boxes generally always put up some really good numbers

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Thank you Rapid1 and thank you HotHardware for a great review!

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That is a sweet laptop.

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Looks like a very well-designed laptop, but this category of laptops is really only appropriate for a very small group of people. It's a tough sell as a desktop replacement due to the high cost relative to a comparable desktop and limited upgrade options once built. Additionally, I can guarantee that AVA direct, as a relatively small shop, definitely can't compete with the warranties and service of larger competitors with more standardized products. However that's a trade-off one has to be prepared to accept for a fuller range of customization from a much smaller shop.

I was quite pleased with my AVA Direct desktop that I purchased a few years ago. While I build my own PCs now, I can definitely say AVA would be the first place I'd look for a well-built, customized desktop if that weren't the case.

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I personally have been building desktops for years. I have also been a laptop lead for Atlanta on all major brands laptop wise so I could definitely build and or upgrade my own laptop. You run into issues upgrading a laptop becuase the form factor and body of the device are so specific. I personally would rather have a device from a smaller shop than a larger one as I am worth more to a smaller shop.

"definitely can't compete with the warranties and service of larger competitors with more standardized products"

As far as warranted goes I would imagine AVADirect matches the warranted status time of any major manufacturer which is generally 1 year unless you pay for longer so I don't see the point in your comment Jackson N . As far as it goes AVADirect hs been around for years as well so I am pretty sure they stay on the boutique side of things by choice, and not because of the amount of business they do.

I appreciate a company more so who services me to a higher degree than any major OEM as any major OEM makes cookie cutter devices more than anything really.

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Great looks, great performance. Great review, does look big but hey it has the power in it :D

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"While on the topic of price, we headed over to Alienware to see how much it would cost to configure a similar setup built around the M18x, and the total came to $3,239."

True, although you can configure a baseline M18x with dual GTX 560M for about $2,500. All those fluff features like 12 GB of RAM (you don't need more than 8), SSD, Blu-Ray, "high performance" network card, etc. do nothing to improve frame rates while adding substantially to the bill.

All of this is moot anyway. There will be new mobile GPUs in the next few months. Buying a desktop replacement machine at this point is silly. I suppose that's why Alienware just drastically lowered the price of their GTX 580M SLI option and completely eliminated the 6990M Crossfire option.

To me the biggest difference between the M18x and the P180HM is the HDMI in, which the P180HM doesn't have. HDMI in is a really nice feature for connecting game consoles. It really helps make the laptop an all-inclusive gaming station. Here's hoping Clevo includes it on their future laptops.

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"True, although you can configure a baseline M18x with dual GTX 560M for about $2,500. All those fluff features like 12 GB of RAM (you don't need more than 8), SSD, Blu-Ray, "high performance" network card, etc. do nothing to improve frame rates while adding substantially to the bill."

If we're looking at cost of entry, a baseline Clevo P180HM, also with dual GTX 560M GPUs, starts at $1,921.21. And since we're examining overall performance, not strictly framerates, I don't agree in labeling the SSD and Blu-ray drive as "fluff" pieces. I could do without the dubious NIC though, and one could argue 8GB of RAM is plenty, but I think 12GB, which adds as little as $21 to the build upgrading from 4GB, is reasonable, as opposed to 24GB, which is over the top.

"All of this moot anyway.there will be new mobile GPUs in the next few months. Buying a desktop replacement machine at this point is silly."

I'm not trying to pick on your post, but I don't agree with this either. It's way too easy to get sucked into the waiting game when you're always looking around the corner. My advice is when you need a new machine, buy the best you can afford and start using instead of waiting. Not just in notebooks, but desktops too. There are exceptions, like a new platform/socket about to be released if you want an upgrade path. Otherwise, I don't see the point in suffering a slow machine for fear of pulling the trigger.

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Having bought the top-of-the-line HP Pavilion notebook (HP used to be proudly USA; still one of the biggest sellers of notebook computers on the planet) ... why no comparison with USA brandnames?

Only one TB HDD? My HP notebook has two HDDs, each only 750 GB. If I was hungrier, I could replace then with two 1TB SSDs, run in RAID0 (with Ubuntu soft-raid). Still wondering - why are you so lacking the best selling brandname rerviews, and USA brandnames.

Greg Zeng, Retired CIO (1984)

Ausalian Capital Territory

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