Application and Workstation Performance

Our review HP EliteBook 8740w leverages an Intel Core i7-820QM processor and a nigh obscene 16GB of DDR3, but keeps the storage conservative with the Western Digital Scorpio Black. In what may seem like an unfair fight, we've also included scores from some of our desktop review units to give you a feel for the kind of trade-off you're making in spending up for the mobile form factor.

What we find is a bit troubling: the 8740w seems to come in consistently behind in every test but Cinebench. That said, AVADirect is fond of sending us Clevo units equipped with SSDs, and we think there's a good chance that's what's making up the difference here: the Scorpio Black mechanical drive in the EliteBook just can't pick up the slack. With all that said, these numbers aren't bad by any stretch of the imagination and are still miles ahead of competing consumer notebooks.

Since this is a workstation and bred for workstation-based tasks, we also did a quick run with SPECviewperf 11.

A visit to the results page of SPEC's site reveals a healthy lead over the previous generation mobile workstation parts but still a far cry from desktop workstation kit.

Enterprise Class and the Death of Gloss Futuremark and Gaming
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  • blyndy - Wednesday, December 8, 2010 - link

    My question is could HP/Dell put this level of build quality into a premium consumer without breaking $3500 (without hamstringing it with )?

    prerequisites for any notebook:
    - no glossy plastic
    - no glossy screen
    - no crappy keyboard
    - no downright ugliness

    And then the premium part:
    - core i5
    - 4gb ram
    - nv 460m / ati 5870m
    - IPS display
    - RGB backlight option
    - solid chassis
    - solid hinges

    The closest thing would be an alienware m15x or m17x, unfortunately, for all of the things that can be configured with alienware, removing the glossy plastic screen cover and IPS are not options.
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, December 8, 2010 - link

    Considering you can get the 8540w with DreamColor 2 1080 for around $2150, and that includes a Quadro 880M GPU and an i5-520M, I'd say it would be trivial to make such a system with a 460M consumer GPU instead. Problem is, apparently they don't see a market for it. Heck, with the current sale you can get an i7-620M and DC2 plus a few other extras and still be around $2500.
  • Zebo - Wednesday, December 8, 2010 - link

    Jarred, could you link this deal?

    Also - is this the cheapest you can configure a Dream color? I don't need quad or anything else fancy. I'll stick a intel SSD in once i get it that's about it.
  • DanNeely - Wednesday, December 8, 2010 - link

    You can just go strait to HPs website and get it. The discount code CTO8540w is 24%, 18% for the 17" model.

    You're limited on your GPU with a 15" one though. 72nvidia or 400 ati SP's max.
  • sheltem - Wednesday, December 8, 2010 - link

    If you are smart with the choices, you can get this laptop for a decent price. I paid $1862 after tax with a 28% discount back in June. Aside from upgrading the screen to 1920x1200 /w camera, adding backlit keyboard and getting quad core (for the 4 dimm slots), I kept everything at it's bare minimum. I upgraded the memory, hd and added a SSD myself.

    HP's business support is fantastic. I purchased an open box docking station from ebay which broke after 2 weeks. HP sent a brand new one to me with overnight delivery. I didn't even have to send the old one back. Any complaints about HP's customer service, is most likely directed towards their consumer products.
  • Belard - Wednesday, December 8, 2010 - link

    First, for a "business" class notebook, 17" are TOO big. And with todays extra-wide-made-for-movies screens, 15.6" displays are just wide versions of 14" monitors.. might as well save a point and space for a quality 14" notebook nowadays.

    Price as Configured is $5400~6500 (depending on coupon)... for that much money, might as well get a ThinkPad W701DS! Yeah, its a bit older - until Lenovo upgrades the touchpad and keyboard... where is our W710?

    Here is a ThinkPad W701DS I priced out to almost the MAX at $5565!

    - Core i7-920XM (2.0Ghz) - save $550 to go with the same Q820.
    - Quadro FX 3800M (maybe on par with the FX5000)
    - 4x4GB RAM DDR3 (8GB total)
    - Camera, bluetooth, fingerprint reader, Centrino Advanced-N + WiMAX 6250
    - 160GB SSD boot drive
    - 500GB 7200 RPM HD
    - USB 3.0 / eSATA, DVD drive (of course)
    - Pantone Color Sensor + WACOM Digitizer w/ Stylus
    - Anti-spill channels for keyboard.

    Don't know if theres a 56k modem (people use those?)

    And this ThinkPad has dual screens. A 17" at 1920x1200 and the 2nd 10" screen does 768x1280.

    Oh, and the keyboard is real... not the cheezy and easier to break island keyboards... but the trackpad is out-dated compared to the newer ThinkPads. They have the a light that makes it easier to see the keyboard at night... but it would be nice to have back-lit keys while keeping the great feel of a ThinkPad.

    At 17 inches - these are work station, not office type computers... they are heavy and expensive.

    The W510 (15" screen with 1920x1200 rez) with similar stats above like the HP is about $2200 is better suited for business.
  • SandmanWN - Wednesday, December 8, 2010 - link

    yes, we know they are workstations. They are listed on the HP website as mobile workstations. It has workstation graphics and other parts. What are you going on about????? Get off the soap box.
  • Belard - Wednesday, December 8, 2010 - link

    For an "enterprise" $6000+ product, it comes with a cheezy keyboard found on their $500 toss-in-the-garbage models. Other than that, its a bit of a sexy notebook... which looks almost like an older 17" IdeaPad, down to the cheezy keyboard.

    Many of the aspects of this HP design are obviously that they are from ThinkPad. The heavy-duty hinges, Trackpoint in the center of the keyboard, 3-button "mouse" buttons below and above the trackpad. So yes, this is aimed at serious people who tend to get a ThinkPad.

    So, I'll stick to my phrase "Why bother", when you can get a ThinkPad with better specs in most areas for about $1000 less.

    I'll get off my Soap box, but I'm taking it with me!
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, December 8, 2010 - link

    One major reason: ThinkPad doesn't have an IPS LCD. They use the same RGB LED backlit panel as the Dell M6500 (pretty sure anyway). Also, style preferences are just that: preferences. I'm sure plenty of people will prefer the look and keyboard on the 8740w. Having used an 8440w in person, I can say that I have no complaints with that keyboard, and a larger chassis with 10-key shouldn't change the feel much.

    If you want a ThinkPad, sure, get a ThinkPad. If you want a Dell Precision, there's that option as well. If you want an IPS LCD, though, you're going to have to get an EliteBook.
  • Belard - Wednesday, December 8, 2010 - link

    Nods about the get what you want (Dell, ThinkPad, HP)

    Considering what Lenovo charges for their 1920x1200 screens, I would think it would be a different type of screen.

    I guess these new flat-keyboards are made for anyone under 30, eh? I'm in the camp that likes curved keys and a nice feeling keyboard - something that Lenovo hasn't messed with since they bought the ThinkPad line. And they redesigned the keyboard slight and its for the better.

    Personally, I think its odd for Lenovo to still sell the older-style chassis with their W7xx series.

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