AVADirect M570RU: SLI, Drivers, and 8800M GTX Performanceby Jarred Walton on March 14, 2008 6:00 AM EST
- Posted in
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
|Optical Drive||DVDR SuperMulti
|Networking / Communications||Integrated 10/100/1000 Ethernet
Intel 3945AG or 4965AGN WiFi (Optional)
|Audio||Integrated Realtek ALC883 HD Audio, Creative SB Live! USB, or E-Mu 0202 USB|
7-in-1 Flash reader
|Operating Systems||Windows XP, MCE, Vista (32-bit and 64-bit), Linux,
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.