AVADirect Clevo D900F Core i7 review: AVADirect Clevo D900F Core i7

AVADirect Clevo D900F Core i7

Joshua Goldman

Joshua Goldman

Managing Editor / Advice

Josh Goldman helps people find the best laptop at the best price -- from simple Chromebooks to high-end gaming laptops. He's been writing about and reviewing consumer technology and software for more than two decades.

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6 min read

AVADirect isn't hiding the fact that the Clevo D900F Core i7 desktop replacement laptop isn't its design. Actually, the system builder goes out of its way to let you know it's a white-box PC by leaving Clevo--the name of the OEM/ODM company responsible for making the laptop--in the model's name. What, then, does AVADirect bring to the table? Well, it's the company willing to drop a full-on Core i7 desktop processor into the bare-bones chassis and load it up with all manner of other performance goodies, and then stand behind the build quality while you take advantage of some of the best mobile computing performance money can buy.


AVADirect Clevo D900F Core i7

The Good

Powerful Intel Core i7 processor; well configured; great audio; HDMI, eSATA ports.

The Bad

No media controls; huge chassis hardly qualifies as laptop.

The Bottom Line

There's no shortage of vendors selling versions of the Intel Core i7-powered Clevo D900F. AVADirect is one of the only sellers offering it with an exhaustive list of component options.

Price as reviewed / Starting price $3,894.75/$2,497.58
Processor 3.3GHz Intel Core i7-975 Extreme Quad Core
Memory 6GB, 1,066MHz DDR3
Storage 30GB SSD (2); 500GB 7,200rpm HDD
Chipset Intel X58
Graphics 1GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 280M
Operating System Windows Vista Premium SP1 (64-bit)
Dimensions 15.6 inches wide by 11.7 inches deep
Height 2-2.4 inches
Screen size (diagonal) 17 inches
System weight / Weight with AC adapter 12.1/15 pounds
Category Mainstream

While we were impressed with AVADirect's build quality on its desktops, assembling a bare-bones laptop isn't nearly as remarkable. Basically, AVADirect picks out generic models designed by the likes of Clevo, Asus, MSI, and Compal, plugs in some components, and then sells them.

Of course, there's more than that going on, such as making sure all the parts play well together. It's just that there's no expert cabling to praise, nor can we give AVADirect credit for designing from the ground up a system running on one of Intel's latest performance desktop processors. On the flip side, we can't blame it for the D900F's boring looks, lack of multimedia controls, or the constant din of fans. What we can say is if you don't like the metallic gray and black plastic of this model, AVADirect will custom paint it in one of 10 colors for $350.

The D900F is mobile in so much as you can move it and its massive power brick more easily than you could a desktop, monitor, keyboard, and mouse. This thing is huge and heavy, though, and it sits high, jacked up on rubber risers to let the four fans in the base of the notebook move air. If you need a workstation or gaming rig to travel with occasionally, this is a viable option.

The 17-inch wide-screen LCD offers a 1,920x1,200 native resolution, which is the current default for a high-end 17-inch screen. It performed well, with good color and dynamic range for entertainment, Web surfing, office productivity, and gaming. Above the screen is a 2-megapixel Webcam; a mic is built into the frame below the screen.

At the top of the keyboard are three quick-launch buttons and the power button. To the lower left of the keyboard are two buttons that can be programmed for macros. The keyboard itself is a matte black with white markings; function keys are marked in orange. It's a reasonably comfortable keyboard, though there is some flex to it. It has a full number pad. To the left and right of the keyboard and at the front edge are speaker ports. Audio is quite full sounding and gets respectably loud. Audio I/O jacks sit in the front between the two speakers. There's no volume dial or any other independent media controls.

  AVADirect Clevo D900F Core i7 Average for category [desktop replacement]
Video DVI, HDMI, Webcam VGA-out, HDMI
Audio 4 speakers, headphone and microphone jacks, S/PDIF out, built-in microphone Stereo speakers with subwoofer, headphone/microphone jacks.
Data 4 USB 2.0, eSATA, mini-FireWire, multiformat card reader 4 USB 2.0, mini-FireWire, SD card reader
Expansion ExpressCard/54 ExpressCard/54
Networking Modem, Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth Modem, Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
Optical drive Blu-ray player/DVD burner DVD burner or Blu-ray

As for ports, inputs, outputs, and networking, there was nothing we really saw missing from this build. On the right are four USB ports and on left are a Blu-ray player/DVD + -RW drive along with, well, everything else really. A DVI port and power input are at the back, but that's it.

The D900F can be outfitted with a lot of components and AVADirect offers more options than its competition. There are eight Intel processors, both Xeon and Core i7 to choose from. Hard drives and solid-state drives can be mixed thanks to the system's three 2.5-inch bays. It supports up to 12GB of memory and there's a choice of three manufacturers. You can even pick your thermal compound. Everything gets fully tested and burned in by AVADirect.

The Asus W90VP-X1 remains our current leader in laptop gaming performance, but the D900F is right behind it, and that's only in our 1,920x1,200 test; the AVADirect actually beat it at lower resolutions. What's more impressive is that the D900F handily topped all of the other performance laptops we've tested. Its processing results were more on par with the Alienware Area-51 X58 gaming desktop running a 3.2GHz Intel Core i7-965 Extreme Edition and 12GB of 1,066MHz DDR3 SDRAM.

Battery life, as expected, is pretty poor, at just 1 hour and 8 minutes on our video playback battery drain test. We don't usually expect such a monstrous laptop to last long on battery power, but it is worth noting that other performance desktop replacements, such as the Gateway P-7808u and MSI GT725-212US, can last far longer away from an outlet.

AVADirect includes an industry-standard, one-year warranty on parts; a three-year option is available for $308. Lifetime labor coverage is included. Technical hardware-related support is included for the lifetime of the laptop and is accessible via an online request form or toll-free during the company's business hours, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET.

Multimedia Multitasking test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
AVAdirect Clevo D900F
Gateway P-7808u
Toshiba Qosmio X305-Q725

Adobe Photoshop CS3 image-processing test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
AVADirect Clevo D900F

Apple iTunes encoding test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
AVADirect Clevo D900F

Unreal Tournament 3 (in fps)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
1280x800, 4X AA, 8X AF*  
1440x900, 4X AA, 8X AF*  
1920x1200, 4X AA, 8X AF  
AVADirect Clevo D900F at 16x9 / at 1280x720
MSI GT725-212US at 1400x1050 / at 1280x768
Asus W90VP-X1 at 1400x1050 / at 1280x768
Gateway P-7808u
Toshiba Qosmio X305-Q725

Video Playback battery drain test (in minutes)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
AVAdirect Clevo D900F

Find out more about how we test laptops.

AVAdirect Clevo D900F
Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 (64-bit); 3.33GHz Intel Core i7-975 Extreme Quad Core; 6144MB DDR3 SDRAM 1066MHz; 1GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 280M; HDD #1: 30GB, OCZ Vertex SSD / HDD #2: 500GB Seagate 7,200rpm

Gateway P-7808u
Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 (64-bit); 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Quad Core Q9000; 4096MB DDR3 SDRAM 1066MHz; 1GB Nvidia GeForce 9800M GTS; 500GB Western Digital 5,400rpm

Asus W90VP-X1
Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 (64-bit); 2.8GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T9600; 6144MB DDR2 SDRAM 667MHz; 512MB Dual ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4870 X2; 320GB Seagate 7,200rpm

MSI GT725-212US
Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 (64-bit); 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Quad Core Q9000; 4096MB DDR2 SDRAM 1066MHz; 512MB ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4850; 320GB Western Digital 7,200rpm

Toshiba Qosmio X305-Q725
Windows Vista Ultimate SP1 (64-bit); 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Quad Core Q9000; 4096MB DDR3 SDRAM 667MHz; 1GB Nvidia GeForce 9800M GTX; HDD #1: 64GB Toshiba SSD / HDD #2: 320GB Hitachi 7,200rpm

Alienware Area-51 X58 (Desktop)
Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit; 3.2GHz Intel Core i7-965 Extreme Quad Core; 12GB DDR3 SDRAM 1066MHz; (2) ATI Radeon HD 4870 X2; (2) 128GB Samsung MLC SSD / (2) 1TB Seagate 7,200rpm


AVADirect Clevo D900F Core i7

Score Breakdown

Design 6Features 8Performance 9Battery 6Support 6
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