AVADirect System Overview

There are a few clear differences between AVADirect and WidowPC -- and for that matter, between AVADirect and many of the other gaming notebook vendors that use rebranded Clevo notebooks. All you need to do is take a quick look at their system configurator and these differences become readily apparent.

AVADirect M570RU System Configuration Options
Processor Core 2 Duo T7100, T7250, T7300, T7500, T7700, T8100, T8300, T9300, T9500, or X9000 (X9000 not yet shipping)
Memory DDR2-800 (Runs at DDR2-667) from G.Skill, GEIL, Kinston, or OCZ
2GB or 4GB kits available
Graphics NVIDIA GeForce 8700M GT 512MB
NVIDIA Quadro FX 1600M 512MB
NVIDIA GeForce 8800M GTX 512MB
Display 17" WUXGA (1920x1200) Glossy
LG Philips LP171WP4
Hard Drive 160GB-200GB 4200RPM
40GB-250GB 5400RPM
60GB-200GB 7200RPM
32-128GB SSD
Optical Drive DVDR SuperMulti
Blu-ray recorder/DVDR
Networking / Communications Integrated 10/100/1000 Ethernet
Bluetooth v2.0
v90/v92 Modem
Intel 3945AG or 4965AGN WiFi (Optional)
Audio Integrated Realtek ALC883 HD Audio, Creative SB Live! USB, or E-Mu 0202 USB
Extras 1.3MP Webcam
7-in-1 Flash reader
Fingerprint scanner
Operating Systems Windows XP, MCE, Vista (32-bit and 64-bit), Linux, or none
18 options total, plus dual-boot
Warranty 1-year standard or 3-year extended
Other Optional TV tuner
Various external accessories (Case, notebook cooler, battery, AC adapter, etc.)
Productivity and AV Software
Thermal Compound upgrade

It's not unusual to get a variety of component options when configuring a notebook, but AVADirect definitely goes the extra mile here. Depending on your familiarity with computer hardware, that can be either a good or a bad thing. We like hardware and we like choices, so the fact that you get your choice of one of 35 (!) 2.5" hard drives means you should be able to find something to make you happy.

They offer 4200, 5400, and 7200 RPM drives from Hitachi, Seagate, Western Digital, Toshiba, and Samsung ranging in size from 40 GB all the way up to 250 GB. If you prefer something a little more exotic, they also have solid-state drives from SanDisk, OCZ, and SuperTalent with sizes from 32GB up to 128 GB. Of course, trying to stomach the $3700 price tag on the SuperTalent 128 GB drive will likely prove more than just a little difficult, though a quick look around online indicates AVADirect is only charging around a 10% markup at most.

If you prefer something a little more exotic looking, the M570RU is available in ten colors, at an up sell cost of $350. We're perfectly happy with the charcoal aluminum exterior, but for those that like to make a bit more of a fashion statement the custom paint jobs are a nice option.

Processor selections range from the older T7100 (1.8 GHz 2 MB cache 800 FSB) up through the shiny new Penryn-based T9500 (2.6 GHz 6 MB cache 800 FSB). The sweet spot is undoubtedly the T9300 (2.5 GHz 6 MB cache), which is only fractionally slower and over $250 cheaper than the T9500. Sometime in the future, AVADirect will also add the Core 2 Extreme X9000 (2.8 GHz 6 MB cache 800 FSB, with an unlocked multiplier), for an estimated price of $1000. The test system we were sent includes the X9000, but most people will probably be much happier saving $700 and only losing 300 MHz by sticking with the T9300.

This is a gaming notebook, and most people are going to want the fastest GPU they can cram in the chassis. There are three options to choose from: the relatively anemic and outdated GeForce 8700M GT, the GeForce 8800M GTX, and a workstation graphics chip, the Quadro FX 1600M. The latter is the Quadro version of the 8700M GT -- 512 MB DDR3, 128-bit memory interface, and 32 Stream Processors (SPs). Given the number of options in other areas, we would have also liked to see the GeForce 8800M GTS and the Quadro FX 3600M (the Quadro version of the 8800M GTX) added. Perhaps that will come in the future.

Memory options come in 2 GB and 4 GB flavors, with the memory coming from G.Skill, GEIL, Kingston, or OCZ. All of the memory selections are rated at DDR2-800. However, at least on the system we were shipped, the memory ends up running at DDR2-667. This may be a chipset limitation, though running at a slower clock speed also helps keep power requirements in check.

Other than some external extras, the only other components you can configure are the optical drive (DVDR and Blu-ray are offered), the wireless networking (none, Intel 3945ABG, or Intel 4965AGN), Turbo Memory, and whether or not you want a TV tuner (various USB options are offered, along with one ExpressCard and one mini-PCI option). You can also have AVADirect preconfigure a dual-boot system if you want multiple operating systems.

Perhaps the best part about all of the configuration options is that the final price is quite reasonable, at least compared to most other gaming laptop vendors. With 4 GB of RAM, a T9300 processor, 8800M GTX, 200 GB Seagate 7200 RPM hard drive, and Intel 4965AGN WiFi (plus all of the standard items in other areas) the total price comes to $2600. Obviously, it's still not cheap by any stretch of the imagination; however, similarly equipped systems from other vendors generally cost more than $3000.

Index Exterior Overview
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  • docjon - Monday, March 17, 2008 - link

    So let me see if I understand this correctly, Nvidia will not be offering mobile drivers to the public but will make them available to the vendor who can validate them and then offer them to their customers on their web site? ie through Dell? Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, March 17, 2008 - link

    See above. There will still be official driver updates from the vendors after validation, presumably - or at least, they'll come as often as they have in the past. :) Reply
  • docjon - Saturday, March 15, 2008 - link

    Jared,
    How about a link to the beta drivers? I checked the nvidia web site and can't find the 174.20 drivers you used.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Saturday, March 15, 2008 - link

    The 174.20 drivers were directly from NVIDIA but they are still undergoing testing and validation. The plan was to hopefully have those available (well, an updated version that addresses a few things probably) within the next month. Note that the LaptopVideo2Go 174.xx drivers are not the same, as those are based off the desktop parts and lack mobile optimizations as far as I can see. Reply
  • ap90033 - Saturday, March 15, 2008 - link

    When they finally are on Nvidia's website, will they only work for 8800M GTX's or will they also work for 8800M GTS's? I have a P6831FX Gateway and would love some newer drivers. :) Reply
  • JarredWalton - Saturday, March 15, 2008 - link

    My understanding is that the next "Mobile Driver Update" from NVIDIA will cover all GeForce M chips on Vista 32-bit/64-bit for participating vendors. So that means the Gateway FX, Toshiba X205, Dell XPS, and various Clevo notebooks should all work with the beta driver. Probably some others as well. I *hope* that they get GeForce Go support on Vista as well with the next driver, and likewise I would appreciate seeing new XP drivers for both Go and M series cards. Reply
  • docjon - Monday, March 17, 2008 - link

    So these drivers will not be offered by nvidia to the general public but will be made available to dell to offer after they validate them? Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, March 17, 2008 - link

    No, the "Mobile Gaming Drivers" or whatever you want to call it are going to be available from NVIDIA. The last release came just before 8800M launched, so it only supports up through the 8700M. They also didn't cover all GPUs on all OSes - so 8400-8700M got Vista drivers and GeForce Go 7xxx got XP drivers.

    The laptop vendors do have to agree to participate - so Dell pretty much tells NVIDIA it's okay if they release a driver that will work with the XPS laptops, as an example. Note that this is not just a vendor decision; it's a model decision as well. So while Dell is okay with "beta" drivers direct from NVIDIA for their XPS (gaming) laptops, they don't want beta drivers for Inspiron or Latitude laptops.

    Normally, notebook vendors do not allow manufacturers to release "reference" updated drivers that support the mobile chipsets, which is why we see stuff like LaptopVideo2Go.com. Well, this is a step back from that stance, but only for laptops where updated video drivers are a major concern. Thus, the vendors still have to give NVIDIA permission to release the drivers to the public. Make sense?
    Reply
  • builtone2many - Friday, March 14, 2008 - link

    Great article. Kind of curious about the casing in the pictures. The latest version from Clevo for systems with X9000 processors has a slightly different casing, labled "Extreme Edition", with an additional molded section on the bottom to provide for better ventilation around the CPU. Wonder if AVA is shipping old case versions? Reply
  • JarredWalton - Saturday, March 15, 2008 - link

    Thanks for the comments. I've had this system for about a month, and it's pre-release. It could be that the final shipping models will cool the CPU better, have a working overclock for X9000, and not be as loud at idle. I can only hope so. Reply

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