AVADirect’s X7200: The GeForce GTX 485M SLI Mobile Graphics Giant

Hot on the heels of Eurocom’s Radeon HD 6970M CrossFire-based launch, AVADirect promises even bigger performance using pair of GeForce GTX 485M modules in SLI. Can AVADirect claim the performance crown at a lower price than its competition?

Always ready to scrap, Nvidia was quick to respond to AMD's Mobility Radeon HD 6970 In CrossFire On Eurocom's Panther by pointing to lower-cost vendors selling dual-module versions of its solution at a lower price. It was finally time for us to put the whole “AMD vs. Nvidia” mobile performance supremacy debate to rest, at least when it comes to this generation of cards.

With the sole goal of testing both performance and value claims, AVADirect supplied a configuration identical to its competitor’s except for three items: the HDMI input device included by Eurcom was removed, the Bluetooth feature removed by Eurocom was replaced, and the pair of GeForce GTX 485 graphics modules in SLI would take the place of the previously-tested Radeon HD 6970 CrossFire solution.

AVADirect X7200 Configuration
PlatformClevo X7200 Chassis: Intel LGA 1366, X58 Express/ICH10R, MXM-III Discrete Graphics
CPUIntel Core i7-980X Extreme Edition Six-Core 3.33-3.60 GHz, 6.4 GT/s QPI, 12 MB L3 Cache, 32 nm, 130 W
RAMCrucial 12 GB (3 x 4 GB) DDR3-1333 SO-DIMM, CL9, 1.5 V, Non-ECC
GraphicsDual Nvidia GeFore GTX 485M, 2 GB GDDR5, SLI
Display17.3" Glossy LED-Backlit TFT, 1920x1080
Webcam3.0 Megapixel
AudioIntegrated HD Audio
SecurityBuilt-in Fingerprint Reader
Hard DriveSeagate Momentus XT ST95005620AS Hybrid, 500 GB + 4 GB Flash
Optical DriveH-L Data CT21N 6x Blu-ray Reader / 8x DVD Writer Combo Drive
Media Drive9-in-1 Flash Media Interface
Wireless LANIntel Ultimate-N 6300, IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n, 11/54/450 Mb/s
Wireless PANIntegrated Bluetooth Device
Gigabit NetworkJMicron PCIe 10/100/1000 Mb/s Ethernet
IEEE-1394Optional (not installed)
TelephonyNot Available
Peripheral Interfaces
USB3 x USB 2.0, 2 x USB 3.0
Expansion CardNot Available
HDD1 x eSATA 3Gb/s
AudioHeadphone, Microphone, Line-In, Digital Out Jacks
Video1 x Dual-Link DVI-I w/VGA Adapter, 1 x HDMI
Power & Weight
AC Adapter300 W Power Brick, 100-240 V AC to 15 V DC
Battery14.8 V 5300 mAh (78.44 Wh) Single
WeightNotebook 13.4 lbs, AC Adapter 3.6 lbs (x 2), Total 20.6 pounds
Operating SystemMicrosoft Windows 7 Professional 64-bit Edition, OEM
WarrantyOne-year parts and labor

AVADirect’s GeForce GTX 485M-based solution is several hundred dollars cheaper than its competitor’s offering based on Radeon HD 6970M, in spite of its identical processor, memory, operating system, and storage. Even the Bluetooth module AVADirect supplied is priced similarly to the HDMI input modules supplied by its competitor (according to that competitor’s price sheet), making today’s system appear a better value than the one previously reviewed. Our benchmarks will reveal whether that apparent increase in value rings true.

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  • tacoslave
    these thing are ridiculously expensive. Besides it seems dual gpu's(at least in the mobile sector) scale HORRIBLY in most scenerios.
  • alikum
    wonder who buy these things
  • LuckyDucky7
    Those who really, really need the power, or just have lots of money to blow on stuff like this.

    Those who need to process large data sets on the go would likely see lots of use from a machine like this.
    Also, those who develop software and need a mobile machine to showcase their new products (especially if that software happens to be a game).

    Diminishing returns? Maybe with personal laptops < 1000 dollars. Not with this class of machine.
  • Crashman
    tacoslavethese thing are ridiculously expensive. Besides it seems dual gpu's(at least in the mobile sector) scale HORRIBLY in most scenerios.
    If you look at the 1920x1080 highest detail results, it's somewhere around 60-80%. I wouldn't call that horrible. You do want to game at the panel's native resolution, no?
  • Maziar
    Great review as always Crashman :)
    Judging from the specs,1 GTX 485M performance falls between a desktop GTX 460 and GTX 560Ti right ?
  • Crashman
    MaziarGreat review as always Crashman Judging from the specs,1 GTX 485M performance falls between a desktop GTX 460 and GTX 560Ti right ?
    It looks that way on paper...I'm sure there's an X7200 review with a desktop card that you could use to make the conversions.
  • Maziar
    But I liked to see a desktop system in the comparison charts.
  • silverblue
    Crysis 1280x720 is a bit of an abberation for the 6970 in Crossfire. Had it not misbehaved there, the result would have been closer, however now AMD have to drop their prices as NVIDIA have brought out a very good solution.
  • americanbrian
    I kind of object to using all of the low resolution results on a configuration like this. It seems like all that it does is skew the results in favour of Nvidia, where in actual fact at the highest details and resolutions (i.e. the targeted area for a gaming laptop) the radeons conclusively win in performance.

    I understand that the value proposition is not very good still, but your conclusion is misleading in my opinion. People splashing out to be able to play the most modern games at highest res simply do not care how many excessive frames are pushed at the low end.
  • Pointdexter
    Ok there's something I don't understand : on Eurocom's website an HD6970M costs 475$ LESS than an GTX 485M ... in fact the 6970M costs the same as an GTX 470M

    so how can an SLI'd GTX 485 could be cheaper than an Xfire'd GTX 485M ?
  • Pointdexter
    correction : Xfire'd HD 6970M
  • Pointdexter
    OK that's the best one !!!

    On AVAdirect's website : choosing the X7200 : choosing Xfire's HD 6970M solution costs 757$ LESS than choosing SLI'd GTX 485M

    this review DO appear fake ...

    please Crashman provide some more info on all this ...
  • thom293
    I agree with above poster. Comparing the Eurocom price to that AVADirect price is misleading. For some reason, Eurocom is silly expensive. If you compare two identical AVADirect builds with the only difference being the type of GPU, the dual 6970 build is more than 700 cheaper. Same thing on the Eurocom website. Not that I am a fanboi of either graphics card - I own both makes, but you should compare apples to apples. As written, it appears that 485s are cheaper than 6970s when they are not. In fact, the 6970s are about half as much. Please update review.
  • scook9
    Eurocomm marks there stuff up to the moon...compare configs on xoticPC to get a more realistic scenario. Or on sager themselves....(which every one resells). I believe both offer both the 6970m's AND the GTX 485m's

    That being said, the stock drivers for the GTX 485m suck miserably. On Notebook Review Forums I have modded 267.76 to include GTX 485m and the reported gains are AMAZING there compared to the original drivers. You are really not doing these cards justice with this review :(

    The GTX 485m are easily the better performing cards but cost more to reflect this
  • Pointdexter
    Ok guys I got it !!!

    nVidia's mobile GPUs cost less than AMD's one ...

  • carlhenry
    mr. soderstorm needs some explaining to do
  • Pointdexter
    sorry for theses 2 extra posts, we really need edit function ... :-(
  • srgess
    April fool ?
  • kkiddu
    I've wanted to say this for quite a long time.

    Toms compare laptops. We appreciate it. Love it. But please have a look at the last five or so configurations you have tested. They are insanely overbudget top-of-the-line builds that make little sense to most because:-

    1. Of the lack of money in most cases,
    2. Of the lack of real portability (weight and battery life) in many of the cases where people have the required dough.

    Performance does not scale well with price as we move from "low high-end" to "high high-end" (Small increments in clock rate cost hundreds of dollars from i7 2630QM to 2920XM, alright, some increase in cache as well, but you get the point, also upgrading from 460M to 485M costs $500 at the cheapest).

    So you see where I'm going ? Far more people go for a 460M/2630QM combo or a 460M/2720QM combo than for a "985M-Super-SLI+i9 HyperExtreme Edition 8 GHz Turbo Boost" [Sorry, couldn't help that ;) ]. Starting at $1172 (Sager NP8130), it covers quite a broad spectrum(pricewise) and sells more thanks to its better battery life and portability than its "i9+985M" counterparts. The attention you've given to that isn't commensurate with the number of units that configuration sells or the number of models it sells in (Asus G53, G73, Sager NP8130/50/70, Toshiba Qosmio, Alienware M15X/M17X, MSI GT660R + all the boutique options).

    As good as this stuff is, to drool upon, it's configurations like that that would make sense to more of us.

    Of course, if it's only the highest end the manufacturers want to be reviewed and showed off, then you really don't have a choice.
  • kkiddu
    Err...just noticed that this was a more of a battle of the best, but I still maintain what I said that you need to start reviewing "low high-end" as well.
  • Crashman
    carlhenrymr. soderstorm needs some explaining to do
    I guess the April Fool's prank is on both of us, since the article was written a month ago. The problem started with Eurocom (the company behind the Nvidia-spec ATI cards) overcharging for GTX 485M's on its retail site. Because of that, a Eurcom-to-Eurocom price comparison wasn't valid. Eurocom wasn't offering the HD 6970M to other vendors yet, so the only comparison that could be made was from a different vendor's 485M SLI to Eurocom's 6970M CrossFire.

    While the article sat in queue for publishing, all of that changed.
  • thom293
    It is a good article. Dont get me wrong. The prices you state are accurate - at least between the AVADirect and Eurocom. The problem is that Eurocom charges really high prices, so the fact that their "budget" card system costs more than other websites "high end" card system is not suprising. I think the reason people would like the article clarified is that it appears to say that the 485m is cheaper than the 6970m. That is clearly not the case. Check those cards within the same sellers website and you will see the vast difference. Try: Sager; XoticPC; Malibal; AVADirect; LPC-Digital, etc. When you compare the price of the cards, the difference is significant: between $500-$700 in dual GPU setups. Please just make a distinction between the price of the systems vs. the price of the cards. That is not done in the article. Thank you very much for the benchmarks though. These are the first ones I am aware of that compare both flagship mobile GPUs.
  • Crashman
    Thanks Thom. I'm editing now, is there any specific statement you'd like me to address?
  • thom293
    Once again, I agree your prices stated were/are Accurate. The problem is how it is portrayed in the article. You are comparing system prices in the article, but comparing graphics performance. I think these are the two sentences that are misleading that need to be changed:

    "Can Nvidia reclaim the performance crown at a lower price than its competition's flagship?" - this statement only compares GPUs, and is thus innacurate and misleading.


    "AVADirect provides around 6% better average gaming performance at around 10% lower cost." - this is technically true, but misleading regarding the performance and cost of the GPU.

    Once again - thanks for the article. I just think you should make a clarification about the price of the CARDS vs. the price of the SYSTEMS. That is where the confusion lies.