Today I have the AVADirect Clevo X8100 on my test bench and the notebook is a beast. One look at the pictures above and you might recognize this machine. It is visually identical to the Smooth Creations 18.4 Gaming Notebook I tested back in January, save the custom lid cover.
What isn't the same between the two machines is the hardware on the inside. The AVADirect Clevo X8100 is a big notebook aimed at the gamer willing to spend serious money for the privilege of gaming on the go and the beast is far from cheap.
When a gamer goes looking for a notebook, cheap isn't what they typically look for. What the gamer looks for is power and the AVADirect Clevo X8100 has plenty of that. How well does the AVADirect Clevo X8100 do in our benchmarks? Read on for all of the details.
Specifications, Availability, and Pricing
The AVADirect Clevo X8100 I am checking out today was configured specifically for my review by the fine folks at AVADirect. This machine is very highly customizable so your machine can be totally different from my test unit.
You have to order the AVADirect Clevo X8100 directly from the AVADirect website. This isn't something where you can walk into your local electronics store and order. As tested, the AVADirect Clevo X8100 I am looking at today rang in at $3948.58. Check out the full specifications of the machine below.
The AVADirect Clevo X8100
The top of the AVADirect Clevo X8100 is very glossy and the tribal artwork you see glows when the machine is on.
The front edge of the notebook is very thick as you can see. It has cooling grates on it and indicator lights for power and HDD activity.
The right side of the notebook has various audio inputs, a CATV input, eSATA/USB combo port and a USB port along with a Kensington lock port and the power switch in the LCD hinge.
The left side of the AVADirect Clevo X8100 has DVI out, HDMI out, HDMI in, dual USB ports, Ethernet, Firewire, a memory card reader and the Blu-ray drive.
The back of the machine is covered in cooling grates and the large round port in the center is for the power adapter.
The keyboard and track pad are identical to the Smooth Creations machine mentioned before. Between the track pad buttons is a fingerprint reader and on the left side of the keyboard are programmable keys for direct access to software and other items.
The huge 18.5-inch HD resolution display has good color reproduction and plenty of space, but small keys.
Benchmarks - Battery Life, Audio / Video Encoding and 3DMark Vantage
Since the AVADirect Clevo X 8100 is a gaming notebook, I will be using 3DMark Vantage in addition to my normal iTunes encoding, Windows Media Encoder and Battery Eater Pro tests. The first test up is my iTunes encoding test.
Version and / or Patch Used: 184.108.40.206
Developer Homepage: http://www.apple.com
Product Homepage: http://www.apple.com/itunes
For the iTunes encoding test I take the Stone Temple Pilots Core CD in MP3 format and encode it to AAC format using iTunes and time the results with a stopwatch. The AVADirect Clevo X8100 took the top spot in this benchmark.
Windows Media Encoder
Version and / or Patch Used: 9
Developer Homepage: http://www.microsoft.com
Product Homepage: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/forpros/encoder/default.mspx
For the movie encoding test I take the HD Microsoft Magic of Flight video and encode it to DVD quality video with CD quality audio using Windows Media Encoder. The AVADirect Clevo X8100 was a mere 1 second behind the class leading Smooth Creations 18.4 notebook, which is a clone of this machine with slightly different hardware. Another fantastic performance result by the AVADirect Clevo X8100 was turned in on this benchmark.
Battery Eater Pro
Version and / or Patch Used: 2.70
Developer Homepage: http://batteryeater.com/development.html
Product Homepage: http://batteryeater.com
As always, battery life tests are very subjective and your mileage may vary. The performance mode test was run with all power saving features off and the screen set on 100% brightness. The power saving mode test used the same settings with the screen turned to 50% brightness.
I didn't expect much from the AVADirect Clevo X8100 notebook in this benchmark considering the hardware inside the machine and the fact that it is a gaming notebook. The machine took dead last in this benchmark with the worst battery life I have tested.
Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0.1
Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com
Product Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com/products/3dmarkvantage/
Buy It Here
For this benchmark I ran 3DMark Vantage at default settings and left the video card settings on the notebook at default values. As expected, the AVADirect Clevo X8100 took the top spot in this benchmark.
With the benchmarks done, I went to work playing on the AVADirect Clevo X8100. The notebook is a gigantic beast of a computer. It takes up more space on my desk than the keyboard and mouse that go with my desktop computer. That said, the beast offers virtually the same performance as my desktop as well. One look at the thickness of the machine and you know in an instant this is a machine that you could lug back and forth to a LAN party, but you certainly will not want to take this on the road or around campus at school with any frequency. In fact, the machine is so huge it comes with its own backpack because the odds of finding one that it will fit in anywhere else are very slim.
The notebook has poor battery life, which is a side effect of a machine with so much power. Battery life and the sheer size and weight of the AVADirect Clevo X8100 are certainly its worst points. The best thing about the machine, though, is that it has major league performance. This is simply the most powerful notebook I have tested. It was either tops in all benchmarks or very near the top (except for battery life).
This is the sort of machine you buy to replace that desktop computer in the home or office that you can move around if needed. The giant machine has a full-size keyboard with a number pad and several buttons on the left side that you can program for various tasks. Like the Smooth Creations machine before, the AVADirect Clevo X8100 has a strange keyboard with keys that are much smaller than they could be. The keyboard works well enough; the keys simply could be larger, and as it is, they are smaller than most notebooks on the market regardless of the machines size.
The massive screen is very good for watching movies and has enough resolution for you to enjoy your Blu-ray flicks in the optional Blu-ray drive my tester had. As with every glossy screen notebook on the planet, glare is an issue in anything but a very dark room. I for one will be glad when someone comes up with a screen that works well for movies with a matte finish.
The AVADirect Clevo X8100 ships with a big backpack that you can cram the notebook and some other gear into for a day on the road. I hope you are working out, though, the massive notebook is not a lightweight machine and you will get a workout. The AVADirect Clevo X8100 has a decent sound system with good volume and the sound system offers better bass than most notebooks on the market.
The AVADirect Clevo X8100 has tons of connectivity and is one of the few machines I have ever seen with a HDMI input. That means you can use this thing to connect your PS3 or Xbox for console gaming in a pinch. The HDMI out also means you can use the AVADirect Clevo X8100 as your HTPC and watch Blu-ray movies on your big screen in the living room.
If you are looking for a gaming machine, the AVADirect Clevo X8100 is a serious rig for the gamer with coin to burn. You can find cheaper notebooks out there, but cheap and fast aren't typically uttered in the same sentence.
The AVADirect Clevo X8100 blitzed our benchmarks with the top score, or very near the top, in all but battery life. We can forgive the battery life; this is not a machine you buy expecting to work away from the outlet all day.
If you want a luggable gaming rig for carrying to your favorite LAN party, the AVADirect Clevo X8100 is a great choice if you have the coin. Just head over to AVADirect's Clevo X8100 Configurator page and start customizing for your online purchase.
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