HP dv6500t: A "Minivan" Notebook

by Jarred Walton on 6/22/2007 1:00 PM EST


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  • Procurion - Sunday, June 24, 2007 - link

    Having bought a Sager after a LOT of research(and an RMA'd Ferrari-Acer, lol, not the car) I question the quest for extreme resolution. My laptop has a native 1900x1200 screen which I consider unuseable on a 17" screen....1024x768 puts a LOT of info on screens and I wonder why the preoccupation with "ultra resolution"? If this is a casual use/business use type of laptop, those high rez settings aren't necessary at all. Either that or my 40-something bespectacled eyes just ain't cuttin' it anymore...:) Reply
  • strikeback03 - Monday, June 25, 2007 - link

    Personally, I consider 1024x768 the bare minimum - I can't fit as much on the screen as I like. My Thinkpad has a 1400x1050 15" screen that I consider about perfect. As mentioned, the good thing is that both 1024x768 and 1600x1200 are available in the same screen size.

    On a side note, Lenovo still has T60s with Flexview IPS screens - we just bought one for work. They might not want to send one out for review though as word has it that the T61 will not be available with Flexview and will be hard to get with a 4:3 ration screen at all.
  • JarredWalton - Sunday, June 24, 2007 - link

    I don't have a huge problem with the resolution - it's *okay* - but it would be nice to have options. Regardless, the quality of the display is not at all good compared to a lot of other recent laptops. Ideally, users should be able to choose from more than one screen config, but that's often limited to more expensive notebook models. Running Windows Vista, I feel 1280x800 is cramped, 1440x900 is passable, and 1680x1050 given enough room to make me happy. Then again, I run a 30" desktop LCD at 2560x1600.... :) Reply
  • Procurion - Monday, June 25, 2007 - link

    Point taken about the need for some options rather than "one size fits all"-as a matter of fact my post was inspired because my needs/resolutions are different than, say, yours. As you and several other authors here have pointed out in the past, for the costs involved it is beyond me why the manufacturers put some really awful screens out there on their laptops....After opening a laptop up and booting it, what is the first thing that makes an impression? And you have to look at it every time you use the damn thing? LOL... Reply
  • legoman666 - Saturday, June 23, 2007 - link

    You know... you could get rid of all the problems with your benchmarking programs not working on Vista by simply uninstalling it and installing Windows XP instead. My sister (not a big computer person) just bought a new laptop. The FIRST thing she and I did when it arrived was uninstall Vista and put XP on it.

  • JarredWalton - Saturday, June 23, 2007 - link

    Which requires finding drivers for the chipset and slipstreaming them onto an XP CD. There's no floppy drive with this laptop. Anyway, like it or not, 95% of new PCs are going to be coming with Vista installed most likely, and I would say the number of people that plan on wiping the drive and installing XP instead is going to be very limited. Reply
  • legoman666 - Sunday, June 24, 2007 - link

    What do you mean you'd have to slipstream the chipset drivers into the windows installation? I've isntalled windows countless times on many different machines and I have never had to do such a thing. I just isntall windows normally, then once it's installed, I install all the drivers. It really isn't difficult... Nor would you need a floppy drive unless you plan on installing windows onto a RAID array. I don't mean to sound rude or anything, but neither of those arguments are really valid. Although, the bit about people not uninstalling Vista in favor of XP is probably true... Reply
  • JarredWalton - Sunday, June 24, 2007 - link

    I booted up off of the XP CD (see, I really did try to install XP), but because the hard drive is SATA XP apparently wasn't able to see it. I got the dreaded "No hard drives detected" error message, and that was pretty much it for my XP attempt.

    See, the BIOS lacks any options to set/change the SATA mode and so it appears to be running as an AHCI SATA drive. That setting generally requires drivers on a floppy in order to work (in my experience). HP isn't selling the laptop with XP, and they don't intend to support such a configuration. That being the case, why spend time trying to work around a limitation in order to test something most people aren't planning on using?

    If you want a laptop with XP, you'd be far better off purchasing a laptop that comes that way. There are still plenty of those available.
  • NoGodForMe - Tuesday, June 26, 2007 - link

    Jarred is correct about slip streaming the drivers to boot XP. I have created a guide with step by step instructions to installing XP on the DV6500T. I can run XP or Vista. This laptop is a good all around performer. Not the fastest, but does everything needed and is really great with XP on it. I installed Tribes2 and UT2K4 and I've got the integrated X3100, plays both of them great.
    Here's my guide. This would be a good idea for the Macbook Pro, or the Asus G1S.
    The key to my guide is that it's step by step with links to all drivers. Would be nice if someone did this for VMWare player, parallels, and bootcamp.
  • Vidmar - Tuesday, June 26, 2007 - link


    I just purchased a number of Gateway 155C convertibles (tablet pc) for my office. As you said XP won't install because of the lack of an appropriate SATA driver. But it's so easy to slipstream these SATA drivers into your XP build using nLite. I had a working XP install CD in less than 10 mins!

    In any case as other have said a look at lower weight laptops and tablet PCs would be nice to see. Take a close look at the Gateway 155C; it's a very good design.
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, June 26, 2007 - link

    Funny you should mention the E-155-C.... :D Reply
  • Fant - Friday, June 22, 2007 - link

    Seems HP shipped you a badly specced machine. They should have used a 5400rpm drive and the nvidia graphics chip as well as the extended 6-cell. All three would have improved your benchmarks. Out of curiousity, did you use a clean vista build or the out of the box vista build that hp supplies with loads of extras installed? Reply
  • JarredWalton - Saturday, June 23, 2007 - link

    HP's install, minus a bunch of software that I didn't want running. Although, when I ran SYSmark 2007, I ahd to do a clean install first. (Now you know why the lack of GbE was annoying - image a HDD over 100 Mbit and I averaged 3 MB/s instead of 12 MB/s with GbE. Not sure why, but Acronis only manages to use about 25% of the Ethernet bandwidth.) Anyway, I like to make the testing close to "real world", and most people don't buy an HP, Dell, Gateway, etc. notebook only to install their own operating system. (Businesses are different story, but let's not go there.)

    I actually don't think that the configuration they sent was all that bad. It may not perform as well in benchmarks, but the fact of the matter is that a lot of people get way too hung up on benchmark results. Do you want a faster hard drive, or do you prefer having a bit more storage? There is no right answer, although personally I would generally go with one of the 120-160GB 7200 RPM laptop drives if possible. As for the battery, they did send me the 12-cell for testing, and the only thing I really would like to know is the capacity of the extended 6-cell. The basic 6-cell is a 47 WHr, so if they extended capacity is 65 WHr it would increase battery life by about 35-40%. I'm trying to get an answer from HP about the capacity of the other 6-cell offering.
  • Fant - Saturday, June 23, 2007 - link

    I have a dv6500t with the extended 6-cell. I havent done any formal testing but I probably get just under 3 hours with the HP Recommended / Balanced Power Plan in Vista and a bit over 3 hours when using the Power Saver Plan. I did notice that the cpu seems to stay at the lower speed with the Power Saver Plan but seems to stay at the higher speeds with the HP Recommended / Balanced Power Plan even when I am not doing much cpu intensive tasks. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Saturday, June 23, 2007 - link

    Can you check the battery and see what the rating is? Usually it will say something like "10.8V ~= xx WHr". I want to know the Watt-Hour rating. I'm not sure why, but the notebook I have almost never runs at minimum CPU speed. Weird. Reply
  • hubajube - Friday, June 22, 2007 - link

    I was waiting to read on how this laptop performed when watching HD DVD's. I'm interested in buying this for my wife for her to use as a work laptop but at the same time I'd like to use it as a HTPC. Oh well guess I'll have to spend the money to find out. :( Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, June 22, 2007 - link

    Yeah, they didn't send the HD-DVD version. I'm not sure if the 8400M GS is required for that or not - maybe X3100 can do enough to handle it (but I doubt it). Anyway, we've tested 8600 cards with HD-DVD, and I don't see why the 8400M wouldn't handle it fine. Problem is, the display is still pretty poor, especially when you consider that video overlay can have a color correction profile applied. Reply
  • shady3005 - Friday, June 22, 2007 - link

    I was gonna consider this laptop but was turned off by the lack of gigabit ethernet. Dint know about the horrible display at that time. So i was waiting for an upgrade to this laptop but sadly none came.

    Then I set my eyes on the new Macbook pro. Just 500$ higher that top dv6500t config but worth every extra penny. Amazing display , much lighter , thinner , sexier and CPU (2.2Ghz) and Graphics (8600GT M) upgrade with much better battery life.

    Please review the new MacBooks with Santa Rosa ..... I would like to hear how awesome they are ..
  • crimson117 - Friday, June 22, 2007 - link


    So disappointed, in fact, that there will be no charts on this page -- and you know how much we love charts!

    I lol'd pretty good at this one :)
  • BPB - Friday, June 22, 2007 - link

    Maybe I missed it, if so please excuse me, but I think you simply used the ABG wireless setup. I was wondering how well the N wireless works, and how well it talks to other N devices such as my Belkin N1. My wife's HP works quite well with the Belkin N PCMCIA and router, but for our next notebook I'd like to have the N built-in. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, June 22, 2007 - link

    They shipped the notebook with an ABG adapter (test setup on page 7). Of course, I don't have an N network right now anyway... GbE all the way, baby! Reply
  • nsparadox - Friday, June 22, 2007 - link

    Hey Jarred,

    You wrote the entire article in the passive voice. Could you please try to write in the active voice?

  • crimson117 - Friday, June 22, 2007 - link

    I would prefer the future perfect voice. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, June 22, 2007 - link

    Can't say I was necessarily 100% awake while writing it. Sorry if it was too passive for you. Perhaps in a perfect future I will manage to rewrite things better, maybe? Reply
  • bldckstark - Friday, June 22, 2007 - link

    Thanks for the article guys, I am sure many other AT readers appreciate the work you hav put in on notebooks recently.

    I would like to see some more tests done on what I like to call "real world" notebooks. The ones I see most people buying for mobility purposes. These usually have 10 - 13" screens and have everything this HP has except the horrid battery life.

    I just bought my wife a Lenovo notebook with a Vista business, Intel C2D, 2GB ram, DVD burner, 3 USB 2.0, 1 Firewire, Express card slot, flash memory reader, webcam, fingerprint reader, 6 cell battery and a 12.1" screen for only $1250 after rebate. This one gets 255 minutes of battery life and weighs only 4.4lbs with the 6 cell.

    A friend at work has a 10" screen notebook that gets over 8 hours of battery life. He carries it around like a pad of paper all day.

    I know several people with convertibles that love them, and they all have 12.1" screens.

    My point is that if it has a 15.4" screen it is really a DTR, and should be outfitted like one. Not like a high mobility at the same price, worse battery life, and 50% weight increase. Please try to squeeze some of these into your testing in the future.
  • JarredWalton - Friday, June 22, 2007 - link

    We actually have a smaller Tablet PC that we're in the process of reviewing. I think part of the problem is that companies are afraid we'll tear into the lappys that don't have great gaming performance or whatever. Hopefully, we'll be able to do more ultraportable laptop reviews in the future.... Reply

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