AVADirect Clevo P180HM Gaming Notebook Review - HotHardware

AVADirect Clevo P180HM Gaming Notebook Review

20 thumbs up
We're often critical of vendors who don't include a lint-free cloth with their systems, especially ones as glossy as the P180HM, so we were thrilled to see AVADirect toss one in with the accessories. As you'll discover in a moment, there's a lot of real estate to wipe down, so it's a good idea to keep the cloth handy (and your fingers clean).



What really excites us, however, is the included laptop bag. Remember, this is an 18.4-inch machine that isn't going to fit in your 15.6-inch bag, and will even give some 17-inch laptop bags a workout. Because AVADirect includes one, you don't have to worry about shopping for a compatible laptop bag that's big enough to hide a body inside. Other accessories include:
  • Power cord and brick
  • Various documentation
  • 3.5-inch adapter bracket (in case you ever decide to port the SSD over to your desktop)
  • CyberLink Creative Media Suite 8 CD
  • Drivers and Utilities disc
It's a fairly small bundle, albeit one you're able to pile onto depending on which accessories you order through AVADirect, such as additional software, game controllers, and so forth. Noticeably absent from the system we received is a Windows disc or restore media, which is a bummer. However, you can add a recovery partition or bootable DVD to your system for $30, or $45 for both.


There isn't much in the way of desktop clutter on the P180HM, and the few items that are there are mostly utilities, not bloatware. One of the icons will disappear as soon as you activate the THX software, and the rest are related to the webcam, Bigfoot Networks NIC, macro key bindings, CyberLink software, and navigating Windows.

It took us 40 seconds to cold boot the P180HM into Windows and load the startup items, and 11 seconds to shut down. Not record breaking, and not too shabby either.



CyberLink Media Suite 8 is a generation behind the latest version, but still packs an assortment of tools for media chores like ripping audio CDs, copying and backing up your data, converting video, and perhaps most importantly, watching Blu-ray movies, whether it be on the 18.4-inch Full HD 1080p display or hooked up to your swank big screen HDTV via HDMI.


For an additional $40 over the base price, AVADirect will upgrade the P180HM's 802.11b/g/n wireless adapter to a Bigfoot Networks Killer Wireless-N 1103 internal PCI-E card. If we were configuring one of these systems on our own dime, we'd skip this dubious upgrade and apply the funds elsewhere, or pocket the cash and stock up on Amp and Funyuns. But if you do spring for the professional NIC, this is what the interface will look like, giving you more fine grain control over your Wi-Fi than what's available with a basic wireless adapter.

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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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