AVADirect Clevo W860CU Overview

The Clevo W860CU units graciously provided to us by AVADirect are certainly heavy, sturdy beasts, and they have to be to cool hardware that powerful. These are thick, well-built machines, with nicely understated looks: black with silver accents may be the de facto standard for notebooks at this point, but there's a good reason for it. As a result, the notebooks are physically notable more for their size than their appearance. The dearth of glossy plastics is much appreciated given the sea of fingerprint magnets populating the notebook marketplace today; only the screen bezel and the indicator region above the keyboard are glossy.

Chiclet-style keyboards and number pads are becoming more and more common these days, and the W860CU is no exception. This is always going to be a matter of preference for individual users, but for what it's worth, the keyboard is comfortable enough to use although the layout does leave something to be desired. Dedicated Home, End, Page Up, and Page Down keys would have been greatly appreciated; people who intend to use this notebook for any kind of serious word processing are going to have to adjust to using Fn-key combinations. There aren't any hard switches either; screen brightness, volume, and wireless toggles are all handled by Fn-key combinations. It isn't a tremendous nuisance, but when you're paying well over a grand for a notebook, a hard wireless switch at least would be nice.

The one good—albeit initially confusing—touch is the placement of the power button on the right side of the screen hinge. Port placement and variety is also excellent, with the W860CU featuring all major modern ports, including dual-link DVI, HDMI, eSATA, FireWire, and four USB 2.0 ports. If there's one disappointing omission, it may be the lack of DisplayPort. This is more of a nitpick than a legitimate beef, but the inclusion of DisplayPort might have made Eyefinity on the Radeon-equipped unit a nice pipe dream.

At the end of the day, the W860CU isn't going to win any beauty contests but it's not liable to flunk out either. The general lack of glossy plastics in favor of more comfortable and smudge-resistant matte black plastics goes a long way towards keeping the generally rugged-feeling unit looking pristine and new. If you want to feel like you're at the helm of a big box of power, Clevo's design will certainly do the trick.

In this corner, weighing in at nearly eight pounds…. Mobile Gaming Showdown
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  • SlyNine - Thursday, June 3, 2010 - link

    I've been waiting for this, Could you throw in a 5730 for another video card.

    Also I think the I7 620 would out perform both the 720 and 820 in games.
  • crackedwiseman - Friday, June 4, 2010 - link

    "Thanks, we'll take the 820QM for $570 less. The i7-820QM comes with all the trimmings: 8MB of L3 cache, Hyper-Threading, and a 2.5 GT/s QuickPath"
    i think you mean DMI
  • JarredWalton - Friday, June 4, 2010 - link

    Fixed, thanks.
  • cacca - Friday, June 4, 2010 - link

    Frankly is disheartening to see a good opportunity to compare 2 notebooks identical except for the GPU being wasted like in this review. I am not looking at the results but on the complete mess of the tables and the methodology.

    If you want compare them first you do a round at directx 11, after you do a directx 10 and if you really want you do the directx 9. Is complete nonsense to use all the 3 different Directx in the same table.

    It really seem cherry picking of results, for me is exactly t he same who is the best, what i want to know is the difference in power. Comparing the notebook to other in the same table adds even more confusion.

    I hope that the next time there is a similar opportunity you will think the methodology before.
  • Ninjahedge - Friday, June 4, 2010 - link

    At present it's the second fastest in Intel's mobile lineup, behind only the obscenely expensive Core i7-920XM that adds a staggering $800 to the base cost of the W860CU. Thanks, we'll take the 820QM for $570 less.

    Um.... If the 920 adds $800 to the base, how is NOT using it only saving $570?

    Also, the $2500 you listed in the beginning, is that the LIST price? The price you say you got it for (1500-something?) is quite a bit less and hard to believe even with the known disparity between MSRP and Online Discount Prices......
  • JarredWalton - Friday, June 4, 2010 - link

    The base price of ~$1500 at AVADirect includes 2x1GB DDR3, HD 5870, a Seagate 500GB 5400RPM drive (I think that's right), and an i7-720QM. So the $800 extra for the 920XM is only $570 more than the 820QM. The upgrades to the memory and SSD add a lot to the price as well, giving the test configurations a cost of $2500.
  • Ninjahedge - Friday, June 4, 2010 - link

    Sorry, just read the section again.

    It is hard to use a price for "reference" when you have nothing to go on. Could you list the added components to be able to index the test model to the "base" system?
  • Kaboose - Friday, June 4, 2010 - link

    With the Asus G73jh-X1 at about $1600 on newegg almost $1000 less then your two champs I feel it does extremely well in most categories and anyone thinking of buying a notebook with a budget but still looking for high end performance i would think that it would be a no brainer. No offense to your clevo w860cu but really for price vs. performance i think the Asus wins.
  • JarredWalton - Friday, June 4, 2010 - link

    Which is why the ASUS got a Gold award and these just got a "nice laptop" declaration at the end. If you were to put an i7-820QM and SSD in the G73Jh, it would affect the price (about $450 more give or take). But the ASUS certainly has the better overall design, provided you don't mind the 17.3" chassis.
  • mod_to_odd - Tuesday, June 22, 2010 - link

    When it comes to quality gaming laptops, I dont think any body comes even close to Alienware and Sager. They have amazing customization options which no other brand offers.

    I had almost bought the Asus G73jh but after reading thousands of horrifying issues on the net regarding the customer support and faulty components even after RMA, i dint want to take any chances. In fact, one of my own friend who recently bought the G73jh is in a state of depression as he is dealing with new issues since the very day his notebook arrived.
    The most ridiculous of all is that when you are all excited to unbox the G73, u realize there is no windows7 dvd, you actually got to make backup discs of the Operating System. Asus does not provide you with a windows7 dvd along with such an expensive notebook, instead they fill up your laptop with loads of bloatware. Way to go ASUS...
    Asus needs to really improve big time on quality and customer satisfaction.

    It rather makes sense to buy a gaming notebook from a reputed company even if the price is a bit on the higher side. But then again, to each his own.

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