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Introducing the HP EliteBook 8570w

We recently reviewed Dell's top of the line Precision M6700 mobile workstation and found that the overall design left something to be desired compared to HP's high end EliteBooks, but that the price was definitely right for the performance. The M6700 is likely to remain a good value for the enterprise sector (much as Dell's desktop workstations continue to be), and the 10-bit PremierColor display uses a similar LG panel to the ones HP employs in their DreamColor displays. Can we get something like that in a smaller form factor, though?

As it turns out, theoretically at least, we can. We have an HP EliteBook 8570w on hand for review, and the 15.6" 1080p DreamColor display threatens to hit the sweet spot for productivity, with a smaller chassis footprint than larger workstations like the M6700 and EliteBook 8760w/8770w. But is the 8570w able to hit the same value propositions as Dell's mobile workstations, can it offer similar performance, or is our memory of the HP EliteBook line a little rosier than reality?

The HP EliteBook 8570w is pretty much as high end as you can get in a 15.6" form factor; the only competition comes from Dell's Precision M4700 and Lenovo's ThinkPad W530, and unfortunately neither of these notebooks can be ordered with a 10-bit full gamut IPS panel like the 8570w can. Invariably someone is going to mention Apple's MacBook Pro, but it must be said that the MBP does not necessarily compete in the same markets as these mobile workstations do. If a user has need of a professional, workstation-class GPU, the MBP is immediately ruled out.

With all that in mind, let's see how the EliteBook 8570w we were sent is configured.

HP EliteBook 8570w Notebook
Processor Intel Core i7-3720QM
(4x2.6GHz + HTT, 3.6GHz Turbo, 22nm, 6MB L3, 45W)
Chipset Intel QM77
Memory 4x4GB Elpida and Hynix DDR3-1600 (expandable to 4x8GB)
Graphics AMD FirePro M4000 1GB GDDR5
(512 GCN cores, 675MHz/4GHz core/memory, 128-bit memory bus)
Display 15.6" LED matte DreamColor 10-bit IPS 1080p
LGD0220
Hard Drive(s) Hitachi TravelStar 7K750 750GB 7200-RPM SATA 3Gbps HDD
Optical Drive HP UJ160 BD-ROM/DVD+-RW
Networking Intel 82579LM Gigabit Ethernet
Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6205 802.11a/b/g/n 2x2
Bluetooth 4.0
Audio IDT 92HD81B1X HD Audio
Stereo speakers
Mic and headphone jacks
Battery 8-Cell, 75Wh
Front Side Latch
SD/MMC card reader
Right Side Headphone and mic jacks
2x USB 3.0
SmartCard
Optical drive
VGA
Left Side Ethernet
Vent
DisplayPort
eSATA/USB 2.0 combo port
2x USB 2.0
4-pin FireWire
ExpressCard/54 slot
Back Side Modem
AC adapter
Operating System Windows 7 Professional SP1 64-bit
Dimensions 15" x 10.1" x 1.59"
382mm x 257.5mm x 40.4mm
Weight 6.94 lbs / 3.1 kg
Extras DreamColor display
Flash reader (SD/Mini SD, MS/Duo/Pro/Pro Duo)
USB 3.0
Optional WWAN
Fingerprint reader
Backlit keyboard
Trackpoint
Warranty 3-year parts and labor
Pricing Starts at $1,399
As configured: $3,360 ($2,688 after e-coupon)

Taking it from the top, the HP EliteBook 8570w is able to cram most of what you want in a mobile workstation into a slightly smaller form factor than the typical 17.3" monster, but there are definitely some sacrifices. While our larger Precision M6700 review unit could support Intel's fastest mobile processors, the 8570w is only able to go up to the Intel Core i7-3840QM, and our own review unit ships with the i7-3720QM. That chip sports a 2.6GHz nominal clock speed, able to turbo up to 3.4GHz on all four cores or 3.6GHz on a single core. The i7-3920XM and i7-3940XM and their 55W TDPs are just too much for this cooling system to handle, and you'll see even the i7-3720QM's 45W TDP can be a bit much sometimes.

HP was able to include a healthy amount of memory and storage capacity, though. The 8570w includes four DIMM slots for up to 32GB of DDR3, and there's an mSATA bay to go along with a single 2.5" storage bay; the optical drive bay can also be converted to host a second 2.5" drive. Our review unit comes with 16GB of DDR3-1600 split between two vendors (oddly), but the mSATA bay goes unoccupied and we have to make do with a single 750GB 7200-RPM mechanical hard disk from Hitachi. HP is still behind the curve with mSATA; the only configuration option on their site is a 24GB caching drive.

Handling workstation graphics duties, the 8570w's base configuration calls for an AMD FirePro M4000 with 1GB of GDDR5. The 1GB of video memory feels small for a workstation, but the M4000 is a 28nm, GCN-based part, the workstation equivalent of a desktop Radeon HD 7750. That means 512 GCN cores and a 128-bit memory bus attached to the GDDR5; the core itself is clocked at 675MHz while the GDDR5 runs at an effective 4GHz. Reviews of AMD's FirePro hardware are generally mixed, with drivers being the primary issue, but our review unit handled our benchmarks just fine and Maya users in particular will want to note that the FirePro can be a particularly good value. Moving to an NVIDIA Kepler-based Quadro K1000M (with slow DDR3 memory) adds another $100 to the price tag of the 8570w, and the K2000M (also with slow DDR3) adds $300.

Connectivity on the 8570w is frankly pretty impressive. A total of five USB ports (two USB 3.0, one combo with eSATA, and one charging port), coupled with a 4-pin FireWire port, a full-size DisplayPort, and even an old school dial-up modem. Our review unit also enjoys a combo BD-ROM/DVD+-RW drive.

Finally, the big selling point the 8570w has over the competition is the ability to upgrade to a 1920x1080, 10-bit IPS DreamColor display. This is something that will probably never not be worth upgrading to, although HP smartly includes a 1600x900 TN panel display as standard. DreamColor is a $525 upgrade, but on the 8570w it's plainly one of the best-looking screens I've seen on a notebook if not the best.

In and Around the HP EliteBook 8570w
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  • Oskars Apša - Tuesday, December 18, 2012 - link

    It matters a lot, none of these menchmarks represent use of 32 megapixel textures for instance?
    And i'll repeat my suggestion, Anandtech has to use real world 3D interior and architectural scenes, with high res. textures.
    Reply
  • lx686x - Tuesday, December 18, 2012 - link

    And I'll also repeat again, it needs to be a benchmark where you can reproduce the exact same environment for all the platforms.
    And you still haven't provided any suggestion of which benchmark/software to use.

    And you bashed SPEC in your first post for not having textures (textures are only part of the story), it's geared towards 3D, and it does a good job of providing valid numbers for comparison.
    Reply
  • Oskars Apša - Wednesday, December 19, 2012 - link

    The use of real life interiors and objects is my suggestion. Why is it so hard to fathom? :P

    You are right in that sence. Those benchmarks may be good for industiral oil rig piping models, bet the problem is - no High res. textures are tested, they should.

    If there is no such convinient test then Anand can try and make one if they see fit. Anandtech is a review site, not a hobby site that tries only standart tests.
    So they have the obligation to upp the ante if they will continue to write workstation previews but calling them reviews. Really sad considering the work that is put in some gaming gear.

    P.S.

    I'm a reader, and so are you - ask for more, this is not comunism ;)
    Reply
  • Grennum - Wednesday, December 19, 2012 - link

    Making a benchmark like this is no simple task. SPEC is not perfect but it is a standard which is important because you can compare your own personal results to those of Anand's.

    When I read a workstation review I am interested it's workstation 3D design and analysis/simulation capabilities, I could care less about textures.

    To write a proper benchmark would require a very high competence with whatever software you are trying to benchmark. For example with Solidworks when you access the software via the API(which you would need for benchmarking) you get very different results than through the standard UI. You would need to account for that. Now in particular Solidworks has a built in benchmark which could be used. However a license of Solidworks is pretty expensive for a review site, and it would need to be kept up to date to be viable.

    As for your comment about Siemens, Siemens owns the parasolid core, which is used by a huge number of 3D modelling programs. So its benchmark is very valid.
    Reply
  • Oskars Apša - Wednesday, December 19, 2012 - link

    If you don't care about textures - good for you, I care. ;)
    Review sites usually dwell on companies wanting them to review their gear, but why not arrange a sponsoreship from soft companies? I'm almost certain the reason is not that AnandTech couldn't arrange free softs but the inconsistant number of reviews of proffesional gear to justify such an agreement for the other side of the table.

    Thanks for the info on Siemens, but the only somewhat popular program that uses its instructions is Solidworks, so... irrelivant for me.
    Reply
  • dwatterworth - Wednesday, December 19, 2012 - link

    A note on your request for high definition textures...I am an architect and do quite a bit of 3d modelling and rendering in a Autodesk Revit and 3DSmax. I am fortunate enough to work for an office that lets me build and maintain my own workstations along with others for power users in the office.

    I have no idea why you would really need high res textures FPS figures. Conventional programs limit the texture previews in the viewports and only make use of the full image at time of render.

    The 3d benchmarks provided DO give a very good idea of how the performance would scale. Maybe benchmarks don't give you the exact FPS of each program but it will provide solid comparisons between the hardware.

    If you are concerned about how the hardware can handle such high textures at time of render it would really bring up the question why would you being rendering such scenes on a laptop? It would seem more effective to get a mid-level laptop for mobile/modeling and make use of a dedicated render node(s).
    Reply
  • Oskars Apša - Wednesday, December 19, 2012 - link

    A continuous pattern for multiple wooden panels is an example where i would use a high res texture (2x6m). Wery convinient in such and other cases.
    Of course one can use continuous mirroring function, compress the textures into smaller ones, but that is not the remedy for me all the time.
    Why a laptop? I employ myself and i spend weekennds on the country side, and often i have to render a few additonal frames at that time. For stable electricity feed i'd rather have a laptop with its own battery, and not a second stationary machine with a huge ups.
    Reply
  • Gunbuster - Tuesday, December 18, 2012 - link

    Where is the value here? I have a M4700 on the way for $2025.03 (W/Shipping & Tax)

    32% lower cost on the Dell and the only thing missing is the upgraded LCD but the HP will probably get the corner tint issue and you'll have to return it anyway.

    Lets look at the config:

    3rd Gen Intel Core i7-3740QM (2.7GHz, 6M cache, Upgradable to Intel vPro technology), Dell Mobile Precision MX700 ***BETTER***

    16.0GB, DDR3-1600MHz SDRAM, 2 DIMM, Dell Mobile Precision ***BETTER***

    Internal English Dual Point Backlit Keyboard, Latitude E

    NVIDIA Quadro K2000M with 2GB GDDR3, Dell Mobile Precision M4700 ***BETTER***

    750GB 2.5" 7200rpm Hard Drive, Dell Mobile Precision M4700/M6700

    No USH, No Fingerprint Reader and No Contactless Smartcard Reader Mobile Precision M4700

    15.6" UltraSharp FHD (1920x1080) Wide View Anti-Glare, Premium Panel Guarantee, Mobile Precision M4700

    Windows 8 Pro, 64-bit, Latitude, OptiPlex, Precison, English

    Dell Wireless 380 Bluetooth 4.0 LE Module, Dell Latitude E4/Mobile Precision

    180W 3P, A/C Adapter, Mobile Precision M4700

    6-Foot, 3-Pin Power Cord,Mobile Precision M4700, US

    Slot Load DVD+/-RW Drive, Dell Mobile Precision

    Integrated HD video webcam and noise reducing array microphones , Dell Mobile Precision M4700 ***You don't mention it at all even though it appears to be in your photos***

    Intel Centrino Ultimate-N 6300 802.11n 3x3 Half Mini-card, Dell Mobile Precision ***BETTER***

    6-cell (65Wh) Primary Lithium Ion Battery, (2.8Ah) ExpressCharge Capable, Dell Mobile Precision M4700
    Reply
  • blue_falcon - Tuesday, December 18, 2012 - link

    You forgot to point out one more item that is ***BETTER***. The M4700 can use the same docking station that every E-Family Latitude can (for the past 4 generations). That way if you have to, you can use someone else's dock when visiting another building, or site. Reply
  • blue_falcon - Tuesday, December 18, 2012 - link

    Also, you can drive 5 monitors (if you choose to) when docked. I think the Elitebook can only do four (or that is all that is supported). Reply

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