HP EliteBook 8440w—Gaming and Workstation Performance

With the FX 380M inside, we didn't expect the 8440w to fare particularly well in our gaming tests. However, given the hardware, it acquitted itself about as well as could be expected. It was basically on par with the U30Jc and U33Jc, which have the GeForce G 310M. This also puts it around the same level as the Quadro NVS 3100 (which has the same GT 218 graphics core as the G 210/310M and the FX 380M), a bit ahead of the now-aging ATI HD 4330, and well behind the more mainstream performance GT 325M and 335M chips.

Batman: Arkham Asylum

Crysis: Warhead

DiRT 2

Stalker: Call of Pripyat

But the real test is in workstation performance, and that is where compared to the G 310M, the Quadro really shines. Looking at the SPECViewperf benchmark, the 8440w really murders the U33Jc. It's more of a comparison between the two GPUs than the two laptops, since there isn't as much of a load on the CPU as there is on the GPU. The hardware acceleration features enabled in the Quadro really help it compared to the standard GeForce chip.


But as a workstation, a consumer-level thin and light like the U33Jc is not what we should be comparing with a serious workstation machine like the 8440w. How about the 8440w's most natural competitor—the esteemed Lenovo ThinkPad W510? Let's give you a bit of background on the W510.

The latest in the workstation ThinkPad line, the W510 starts at $1599 and comes with a quad-core Core i7-720QM, Quadro FX 880M (based on the GT 330M), a 15.6" screen, 2GB memory, and a 9-cell battery. And that's where the 8440w starts losing it's lustre. For roughly the same price, the W510 packs in a quad-core processor and a far faster graphics card, so workstation performance should be significantly improved, whether you're a developer compiling OS builds, a CAD junkie like me, or into engineering simulation. So while I can say, having run SolidWorks and done some CAD on the 8440w, that it's adequate for such things, at the same time it's difficult to say great things about the performance when some similarly priced workstations are specced so much better.

HP EliteBook 8440w - Application Performance and Futuremark HP EliteBook 8440w - Battery Life
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  • fire400 - Sunday, August 15, 2010 - link

    I don't like it though. It doesn't seem to compare to the older HP Compaq generation of notebooks. Business class LCD's should have the best displays of any laptops available, in my opinion. You're already paying a premium, you should get premium quality on one of the most important things you're looking at most of the time... the LCD?
  • saifikhan - Sunday, August 15, 2010 - link

    It is sad to see that there is not even one AMD processor based Elitebook.
  • JarredWalton - Sunday, August 15, 2010 - link

    Sad maybe, but hardly surprising. EliteBook is a mobile workstation product, and mobile workstations tend to focus more on performance. My testing of an AMD Phenom II P920 shows it to be about on par with an i3-330M in terms of performance in heavily threaded scenarios (i.e. video encoding and 3D rendering), and in less multi-core friendly tests it's not even close (like 50% advantage to the i3-330M). In other words, a 1.6GHz quad-core AMD chip using their latest mobile architecture matches Intel's slowest dual-core + Hyper-Threading mobile part.

    The fastest AMD mobile quad-core is the X920 BE clocked at 2.3GHz. Going by the same figures I see with the P920, it would probably win some tests against the dual-core i7-620M, but overall it would be at best a wash. And then you can throw in the quad-core Intel chips and it's not even close anymore.

    Now, AMD does provide better power figures if you compare their quad-core to Intel's mobile quad-core, but that's hardly the primary consideration in a mobile workstation. In fact, our biggest complaint with the 8440w is precisely that it doesn't offer more power, specifically in the graphics department where the 16 core FX 380M lets it down. There are some interesting AMD-based laptops coming out now, particularly with Nile and Danube platforms, but for mobile workstations the current stuff can't make a good case.

    We've got a couple reviews coming soon--yes, I know I've said that before. The P920 Toshiba system review got delayed for two faulty laptops, but it was pre-production hardware. I should have a final production sample next week so I can post the full write-up. The other is perhaps the best AMD-based laptop I've ever used, a Toshiba T235D. Packing a 1.5GHz Turion II K625 and a 61Wh battery, I've actually managed to get into the 6+ battery life range. Performance is respectable as well, and the HD 4200 is still better than any current Intel IGP. It's 13.3" and costs $600, but it's the first AMD "ultraportable" (thin and light) that I can really recommend. It's a viable alternative to the old CULV, and even holds its own against Arrandale ULV.
  • sapiens74 - Sunday, August 15, 2010 - link

    Its sturdy and made for work.

    Not nearly as quick as my MAC, takes almost 3 times to boot Windows 7 Ultimate, but for a Windows machine it does the job
  • seanleeforever - Monday, August 16, 2010 - link

    so.. your definition of 'quick' is booting OS.
    you can vastly improve that by using ssd. booting speed has almost nothing to do with CPU/GPU. my T7400 with SSD can boot up windows 7 ult in less than 20 seconds.
  • jaydee - Monday, August 16, 2010 - link

    whether you're a developer compiling OS builds, a CAD junkie like me, or into engineering simulation. So while I can say, having run SolidWorks and done some CAD on the 8440w, that it's adequate for such things, at the same time it's difficult to say great things about the performance when some similarly priced workstations are specced so much better.

    AT has a CAD junkie on staff?!?! Can we please get a CAD workstation videocard roundup? Pretty please?
  • jea508 - Monday, August 16, 2010 - link

    Anandtech is amazing
  • oshogg - Tuesday, August 17, 2010 - link

    I have been using business class notebooks for over 10 years - first 7 years, I was using IBM Thinkpad lines of notebooks and the last 3 "HP Compaq" and EliteBook. Both lines are fairly comparable and each one has its unique advantages over the other. One key disadvantage of HP that I find is lack of bay battery. With IBM thinkpads, the bay battery was a god-send. I could easily go over 5 hours with real heavy workload with 2 batteries. With the 3-year newer technology of HP's business notebooks, 2.5 to 3 hours is a max.

    I wonder why more business-class notebooks do not come with a bay battery option. I hardly ever need a CD/DVD Rom drive in my work. In fact, I can count on one hand how many times I have used the CD/DVD drive in last 2 years.

  • kenyee - Wednesday, August 18, 2010 - link

    HP has ridiculous sized ones compared to thinkpads. I also don't think the keyboards are as good as the older T series thinkpads.
    And I'm looking forward to your Envy 14/15 comparison. This seems like it's a business version of the Envy. Too bad the screen is crap :-P
    I just want a relatively light 14-15" laptop I can stick 8GB or more into to run VMs :-P
  • kfjg - Sunday, August 22, 2010 - link


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