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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  • DannyH246 - Sunday, June 6, 2010 - link

    The review concludes with - "Unfortunately, AMD squanders a grand opportunity here"

    So AMD have a faster, cheaper, and less power hungry card - but they've squandered a good opportunity and we should wait for an architecture that is both known to be hugely power hungry and dissapointing performance wise.

    An NVIDIA marketing employee couldnt have said it better. Nice unbiased review, well done!
    Reply
  • whatthehey - Sunday, June 6, 2010 - link

    Some people... Let's look at the facts: AMD saves you $78: stated. AMD is overall faster: stated. NVIDIA's old part is very competitive: yup. NVIDIA has a new part coming this month: yes. AMD's latest and greatest uses less power: yes, but there are bugs that cause the "higher power" 285M to get better battery life. AMD doesn't support CUDA or PhysX, while DirectCompute and OpenCL aren't used enough to matter yet. So a part that has been out less than four months can't clearly dominate a part that has been around (more or less) for well over a year. AMD should have increased the power envelope of the 5870 and given it more shader cores and bandwidth; then NVIDIA would have something to fear. As it stands, I agree that this is a "missed opportunity". But then, AMD/ATI GPUs have been tough to recommend in laptops for a long time, and only in the past four months (with the new drivers) has that changed. Reply
  • Hrel - Monday, June 7, 2010 - link

    If someone could do a review on the laptop that I currently suspect is the best "bang for your buck" out there. It's made by compal, and available on Cyberpower.com who's machines you've reviewed before. If you'd like it configured like I did, which I think is the best bang for buck, do this: Go to the website. mouse over 15.6" Laptops and click on the $999 Xplorer X6-8500. It has a 1080p screen. (I'm not sure why the people who run this site do this, but even though the other configurations use the same chassis when personalized they come out to cost more than this one; annoying since it makes me configure all 3 or 4 machines built on the same base chassis to figure out which one is cheapest/best for me.) Then I configured it with the Core i7-620M CPU. (to get it over 1K so I can take advantage of the 5% off.) 4GB 0DDR3-1333, hopefully 7-7-7-21, probably not, but hopefully. ATI MR HD5650 1GB GDDR3 320GB 7200rpm HDD (I did this cause I'm gonna take that HDD out and use the Seagate Momentus XT 500GB, thanks for that review!!) Everything else on that page I left untouched. The only thing I did on page 2 was switch to Intel wifi with bluetooth; Though I'm curious if the MSI option is equal/better; 17 bucks isn't nothing. It has HDMI out and a fingerprint reader. This page says 3 USB ports, the specs sheet says 4USB ports; not sure which is true. (I do wish they were USB 3.0 ports, but I was hoping you guys would test some stuff and tell me if that even matters for use with an external hard drive, mechanical disk 7200rpm. Transferring large files like movies and games mostly.) On page 3 I select "none, format only" for the OS. And select "LCD perfect assurance" cause even 1 dead pixel is unacceptable to me. This brings the total to $1008.90 after 5% off, or $992.75 if you get the MSI network card. So yeah, I really hope you guys can get a hold of one of these for review; as a loner or given as a review unit or maybe someone will just buy one and review it cause it's really tempting me right now... like a lot! If you're review is good I'm gonna start saving up and hopefully be able to buy it around Christmas. Thanks guys! A loyal reader. - Brian Reply
  • lappyhappy - Monday, June 7, 2010 - link

    Nice review Dustin. I've seen and love your articles that you have written on www.notebookreview.com. I know some have been critical of your article but if they look at some of your work at notebookreview they will see that you are not bias at all, and are quite good at stating the facts. Everyone, check out Dustin's articles and he does a great job of explaining laptops and how they work. This guy really does know his stuff. Reply
  • Dustin Sklavos - Tuesday, June 8, 2010 - link

    Hey, thank you for the kind words! It's really cool to see someone follow me between sites and actually recognize my work, very gratifying.

    What's funny is that I know that I do have a personal bias, but the fact that my bias is being read as favoring Nvidia reassures me that I'm doing a good job as a writer. :)
    Reply
  • lappyhappy - Tuesday, June 8, 2010 - link

    I almost put that from what I've seen you actually have an AMD bias so yes you did a great job of putting it the other way. In all honesty though I think your reviews from what I've seen have been quite neutral and you always go with what is best but do know that you really want for AMD to be competitive. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, June 8, 2010 - link

    NVIDIA has released their reviewer's guide for GTX 480M. Obviously, there's the potential they cherry picked some of the tests, but in general I'm guessing most of the scores are realistic. After all, if you use the DiRT 2 built-in benchmark, you can't really change the settings. Here's the guide for the interested:
    http://images.anandtech.com/reviews/mobile/2010/gt...
    Reply
  • coldwave007 - Tuesday, June 8, 2010 - link

    Hi There,

    After reading the article, I read through the comments and was very surprised by the negativity. I just wanted to say that I thought it was a very fair and balanced review, andthat you did an excellent job.
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • whenamanlies - Saturday, July 24, 2010 - link

    Very nice review since I'm right in the middle of configuring a laptop for myself.
    Want to switch from G51J (i7-720QM + GTX 260M) to something more powerful (and lower resolution).

    Now it all clear regarding which GPU to get, but what about CPU? I'm little bit disappointed with 720QM so I'm wondering if i5-540M or i7-620M would be a better option? My feeling that higher frequencies would be a better option for games. Heck, even TF2 suggesting me to disable multicore rendering :)

    You thoughts?
    Reply

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