AVADirect Clevo X8100 Core i7 Gaming Notebook Review

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There are two main types of road warriors in this world. First, there are the ones who value portability over all else. These users are more concerned with battery life and ease of transportation than they are with raw performance, and it's because of them that netbooks -- the very epitome of portability -- have become such a popular market segment. At the other end of the spectrum sit the users who crave as much performance as they can get, and they're willing to trade battery life and lightweight designs to get it. At the extreme end, we call these mobile PCs 'desktop replacements,' which is exactly what they are.

Boutique system builder AVADirect deals with PCs of all shapes and sizes, and the one we're looking at today -- the Clevo X8100 -- is every bit a desktop replacement rig, and then some. Built around Intel's mobile Core i7 platform, the powerful processor is just the beginning of what the X8100 has to offer. Driving the monstrous 18.4-inch LCD display are two GeForce GTX 285M videocards (the fastest mobile graphics in Nvidia's stable) in an SLI configuration, and the rest of the spec sheet is equally obscene. AVADirect held little back, equipping our review system with 8GB of DDR3 1066 memory, a blazing fast 256GB Crucial RealSSD for OS and application chores, and even a Blu-ray reader for watching high-definition movies in between LAN parties. Toss in a full-sized keyboard with gaming macros, a nifty light display, quiet but effective cooling, and several other subtle touches and what you end up with is not just a desktop replacement, but for the average user, a desktop destroyer.

Custom Clevo X8100 Gaming Notebook built by AVADirect

AVADirect Clevo X8100
Specifications and Features (as tested)


Clevo X8100

18.4" (1920 x 1080)

Intel Core i7 820QM 1.733GHz

8GB DDR3 1066MHz (2x4GB)

2 x Nvidia GeForce GTX 285M 1GB GDDR3 (SLI)

Crucial 256GB RealSSD C300 (MLC)
Western Digital 640GB Scropio Blue

Blu-ray Reader/DVD Burner Combo
Operating System

Windows 7 Home Premium x64

Intel 802.11 A/G/N

2.0 Megapixel
Wired Internet

10/100 Ethernet

3 USB 2.0, eSATA/USB Combo, 1 FireWire, HDMI In/Out, DVI, VGA, ExpressCard, eSATA, 7-in-1 Media Reader, CATV

12.35 lbs with battery

17.3" x 11.8" x 1.7" (WxDxH)

2 Year Parts / Labor

$3975 (as configured)

At nearly $4,000, this customized Clevo's price tag is as big as its chassis, and every bit as heavy too. Including the battery, the whole shebang weighs over 12 pounds, enough to cause a hernia if you plan on lugging this thing around to and from work and on frequent business trips, but then again, that's not what this was built for. As far as portability goes, the Clevo X8100 is best suited for LAN parties, overnight gaming sessions at a friend's house, or to kick your desktop tower to the curb when you're short on space.

By all accounts, this is the most powerfully spec'd gaming laptop to yet come through HotHardware's labs, and throughout the course of this review, we'll be keeping the target audience in mind. We have no intentions of glossing over the obvious flaws, but at the same time, we're not going to spend a ton of time berating the poor battery life, because let's be honest, if you need 3+ hours of run time, you have no business shopping a high end gaming notebook with dual videocards in the first place. What we're much more interested in is how well AVADirect and Clevo can mesh all the top shelf parts into a cohesive computing experience worthy of a $4,000 price tag, and for that, you'll need to keep reading to find out.


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rapid1 4 years ago

As far as AVADirect goes you can build machines (Laptops or Desktops) to any component level you want from bottom to top. This includes screen size body frame screen HD memory GPU adapters and on and on. This may be or seem expensive, but i guarantee you if you change the frame from that unit from a Clevo (as it is generally the most expensive period for a laptop at AVA) you would probably drop the price at least 500, but probably 1000 bucks.

As far as it goes AVA is probably about the best of the best for a custom computer build. The thing that always got me is if you know components deep enough to go through there choices why would you have them build it.

realneil 4 years ago

People have them built for the sake of convenience, and also to have an avenue for tech support and warranty to fall back on. I've build hundreds of systems, but wouldn't even want to screw around trying to build a laptop. Sounds like a huge PITA to me.

rapid1 4 years ago

 Yeah I get what your saying. The thing is you cannot literally really "BUILD" a laptop completely. You order a frame, then populate the components. I was for many years a laptop lead for HP, Compaq, and Dell in Atlanta. So I have extensive experience in laptops at least as much as in general with a desktop. It is nothing to be afraid of, and to tell you the truth to "BUILD" your own laptop from a frame would be ostensibly less work than building a desktop. The way AVA works though is you have a long parts sheet with a lot of drop down's. SO a build like this is just an example. Every one AVA puts out is fully supported (in fact one of the best warranty's around from what I understand). I was just wondering why someone who new every components they wanted on a specific laptop frame would not just grab a frame (the outer shell, keyboard, screen, PSU, MB), and the populate the components you want inside. The only hard part, in fact the only labor you would have to do is put in the screws after socketing the components. OCZ has or did have a nice frame, you can also customize the display which in many cases is lacking, and uses a 4-6 bit unit rather than a higher 8 bit or LCD,LED,OLED piece as well. This would be awesome for watching movies, graphic design, gaming etc (anything with higher multimedia requirements). You would also have a much tighter and specific unit when done as well as the pride of building it yourself. The hardest part if or when not using a distributor like AVA would be getting all the parts you really wanted or needed. IT would however most likely be somewhat less as well.

Plus as I had mentioned, this Clevo frame is one of the most expensive if not the most expensive on the market period.

rapid1 4 years ago

CART This one is pro audio SSD with 2x raid 0 640 (3HD), 1 GPU, and an extra battery with a backpack to carry it in and a max level Intel internal wireless. This also has a cable television adapter in it :), and is less on the same frame with better cooling! Technology parts change value like diamonds and gold all day long every day. SO prices are extremely varied as I am sure everyone knows. Oh and this only has 1 GPU, but the edition is right there on AVA if you wanted it.

 GAMING NOTEBOOK Clevo X8100 Core™ i7 Gaming Notebook, 18.4" Full HD TFT LCD, NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 285M SLI® 1GB Graphics

$4358.76  UPDATE $4358.76
  • CLEVO X8100 Core™ i7 Notebook Barebone, Intel® PM55, 18.4" Full HD TFT Glossy, PCIe x16 MXM-III Discrete Graphics
  • INTEL Core™ i7-720QM Quad-Core 1.6GHz, 2.5 GT/s QPI, 6MB L3 Cache, 45nm, 45W, Retail
  • TUNIQ TX-3 High-Performance Thermal Compound, Electrically Non-Conductive
  • NVIDIA 2 x NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 285M 1GB GDDR3 Mobile Graphics Card for X8100, SLI Configuration
  • CRUCIAL 8GB (2 x 4GB) PC3-10600 DDR3 1333MHz SDRAM SODIMM, CL9, Non-ECC
  • OCZ 100GB Vertex Limited Edition SSD, MLC, 270/250 MB/s, 2.5-Inch, SATA 3 Gb/s, Retail
  • WESTERN DIGITAL 320GB Scorpio® Black™ WD3200BEKT, 7200-RPM, 16MB cache, 2.5-Inch, SATA 3 Gb/s, OEM
  • WESTERN DIGITAL 320GB Scorpio® Black™ WD3200BJKT, 7200-RPM, 16MB cache, 2.5-Inch, SATA 3 Gb/s, OEM
  • RAID RAID 0 (striping), min 2 hard drives required
  • OPTICAL DRIVE Blu-Ray Reader and Super-Multi DVD±RW Optical Drive for Clevo X8100
  • NETWORK Built-in 10/100/1000 Mbps Ethernet LAN Card
  • INTEL Centrino® Ultimate-N 6300 Wireless Card, IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n, 11/54/450 Mbps, Internal PCIe Half Mini Card
  • CLEVO Internal Bluetooth for X8100 Notebooks (Included)
  • M-AUDIO Fast Track Pro Audio/MIDI Interface, 24-bit 96KHz, External, USB, Retail
  • KWORLD PlusTV HD Hybrid Stick 330 HDTV Receiver, ATSC, USB 2.0, Windows Vista Compatible, Retail
  • NOTEBOOK ACCESSORY AC Adapter 100-240V (Included)
  • CLEVO Additional 12-cell Li-Ion Battery for Clevo M980NU / X8100 Series Notebooks
  • TOSHIBA 18.4" Black Notebook Gaming Backpack
  • ENERMAX Aeolus Silver Notebook Cooler, 220 mm Fan, Aluminum/Steel
  • MICROSOFT Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit Edition, OEM
  • SERVICE OEM System Recovery (secure HDD partition only)
  • SERVICE System Binder
  • WARRANTY Extended 3 Year Warranty for D900F / M980NU / X8100 Clevo Notebooks
JCunningham1 2 years ago

I am quite disappointed with my $4,352.04 Clevo X8100 laptop from AVADirect.

The first annoyance was how long it took them to build it. I placed the order on 6/15/10, and they shipped it on 7/14/10. It over a month from order to arrival.

My first impression was terrible. The Clevo keyboard had a terrible feel and layout, and the space bar was intermittent. The touch pad was flaky as well. Oh well, there was no way I was going to send it back and wait another month for them to fix it! Besides, I planned to use an external keyboard and mouse most of the time anyway.

I noticed that it usually failed to resume after suspending or hibernating. Again, I wasn't planning to do much travelling with it, so I could put up with having to do a full shutdown each time. But don't they test these at all?

Within the first year, a hard drive on my RAID array failed. They (slowly) replaced it. A year after that, the other hard drive failed, and they (slowly) replaced that one, too. Maybe I got two from the same bad batch? Thank goodness they didn't both fail at the same time!

Now, 2 1/4 years after I received it, the fingerprint sensor and all my USB ports have stopped working. I can no longer use my external keyboard and mouse, and the space bar is still intermittent!

I can't live without my computer for a month for them to repair all these problems, so I've decided to buy a replacement and use this laptop as a backup (once it gets back from being repaired).

Of course, I learned from my mistake. This time I bought from a reputable company that offers a 5-year warranty with next business day, ONSITE repair service. That should make ALL the difference. If I'd had that kind of service plan for this computer, I wouldn't be spending another $4,300 to replace it so soon!

rapid1 2 years ago

That is very odd I almost never hear anything bad about AVAdirect, not saying it never happens , just not very often. As far as it all goes I would never accept a new laptop or desktop with any flaws like what you are describing period. Maybe you can learn something from that point. I have been buying products over the internet for many, many years (My first ISP was Prodigy when they first offered full internet (and or 3 days later) then AOL shortly thereafter because Prodigy had issues pretty often (this was external modem dial up ages and ages ago). Anyway I started buying things over the internet shortly thereafter and never ever keep nothing longer than 3-5 business days with an issue, and that means any issue the provider I bought from or the manufacturer cannot fix. You describe a pretty horrific experience of course I would have cancelled if it had not shipped in 3-5 business days either as well, but intermittent keyboard anything, intermittent touchpad, faulty power supply, personally I cannot even believe this happened with AVADirect, not that I don't just that I have never heard something about them with this many issues especially on a CLEVO build as there usually top performers. 

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