by Kevin Giberson
The HP Pavilion dv6000t had me intrigued well before I received this review model from HP. First, upon seeing pictures of the dv6000t, I was left thinking that it really did appear to be an exceptionally attractive machine, with its glossy black lid, subtly highlighted by a just-visible pattern of intermingling wavy lines, and a molded silvery bezel surrounding the black keyboard.
Second, every time I glanced at the Most Popular Laptops column on the left-hand side of the NotebookReview.com home page, I saw that the dv6000t was at the top, outperforming the number-two choice by a factor of two or better, and this has been true for some weeks now. Other websites also pay statistical tribute to the commercial success that is the Pavilion dv6000t.
HP Pavilion dv6000t (view large image)
The world of 15.4" consumer-oriented notebooks is a well-populated world indeed, but in its design and production of the dv6000t, HPhas managed to come up with a popular notebook that has been provoking buyer interest from the moment it was released, and then impressively sustaining this appeal.
HP dv6000t Specs:
My first in-hand view of the dv6000t really just explained the popularity and fuss. Based upon the components, I knew that it would provide top-notch performance, and the high-gloss finish throughout, together with the rounded corners and tapered height, really did make for a very fetching notebook. I was immediately captivated by the seeming absence of anything at all that might be viewed as a deficiency.
Design and Build
To sum up the design (and also to provide a point of reference), my own tastes in notebooks, on a purely visual level, have tended to lean toward Sony, Asus and Apple (though I'd never buy a white or mostly white laptop), but I like the appearance of the dv6000t as much as any from the fore mentioned manufacturers. Judging from the dv6000t’s wide popularity, I’d say other people like the look, as well.
Because of all these favorable impressions I began to look for something wrong with the dv6000t, and turned my attention to build quality. But even there I could find nothing to complain about. Did this notebook seem as solidly built as the old ThinkPad T40 I used to use? No, it didn't. But the reality is none of the eight or nine consumer and business notebooks I've used since the T40 have seemed quite as solid. I normally use a workstation-class notebook, the Dell Precision M65, and while it's true that the M65 seems somewhat more robust than the dv6000t, the latter notebook is by no means flimsy. There was considerable screen ripple when the LCD lid was pressed very firmly with a finger, indicating some room for lid strengthening, but on the other hand I carried the notebook around with one hand countless times and found no evidence of flex or weakness. In the end, I had only one real issue with this notebook: a higher resolution, such as 1440x900, would have been nice, but only 1280x800 is available. And it did take a fair amount of wiping with a damp, soft cloth to keep the shiny components truly shiny, and free of fingerprints.
A look at the imprint design on the dv6000t (view large image)
Top view of the HP dv6000t (view large image)
HP Pavilion dv6000t WXGA screen (view large image)
The glossy WXGA LCD of this review model was excellent, flawless really, and a pleasure to view. I didn't mind scrolling more than I'm used to because of the lower than I’m used to 1280x800 screen resolution. Except when I was actually doing my nine-to-five-type computing at work, and when I had the choice, I rarely used anything but the dv6000t as a PC during the two weeks that I had it. Since the screen and keyboard are the most important factors for making a notebook something you actually want to use (even after a day of work) that’s kudos for the dv6000t screen.
The Nvidia GeForce Go 7400 is a mid-range notebook GPU and should offer plenty of graphics power for most users, including those who plan to upgrade to Windows Vista and turn on all the enhanced visuals. In my opinion, the 7400 (along with its various cousins and competitors) offers a nice mix of price, power consumption and performance. What the Go 7400 won't do is play all the latest games at the highest settings, but the same can be said of all but the most expensive notebooks on the market; a top-level gaming machine will cost double or triple the price of a well-configured dv6000t. There are, however, some very nice laptops at the $1500 to $2000 level (in other words, at least several hundred dollars more than a well-appointed dv6000t), and these will get you to a level just below that of a true gaming machine.
The built-in Altec Lansing speakers are quite good (with the usual qualifier: “for a notebook”). Clarity is exceptionally strong at high volume, which is where most notebook sound really degrades.
Processor and Performance
This was my first experience with a Core 2 Duo CPU, the T7400 in this case. (Please note: while this review model contains the T7400, the T7200 is the highest available Core 2 Duo CPU when configuring the dv6000t on HP's website at the moment) The T7400 never faltered, happily zipping along while simultaneously scanning for viruses, calculating Pi to 32 million digits, surfing the Internet and editing an OpenOffice.org document or two. This is very similar to my experience with the Core Duo T2X00 processors, which also performed like champs, but the Core 2 Duo will get you 64-bit processing, which will eventually be useful.
The T7400 took less than a minute to calculate pi to 2 million digits of accuracy, using Super Pi:
|HP dv6000t (2.16 GHz Intel T2400)||59s|
|Asus V6J (2.16GHz Core 2 Duo)||53s|
|Dell Inspiron e1705 (2.0GHz Core 2 Duo)||1m 02s|
|Lenovo ThinkPad T60 (2.0GHz Core Duo)||1m 18s|
|Toshiba A100 (2.0GHz Core Duo)||1m 18s|
|Samsung X60 (1.66GHz Core Duo)||1m 29s|
|Sony VAIO FS680 (1.86GHz Pentium M)||1m 53s|
|IBM ThinkPad T43 (1.86GHz Pentium M)||1m 45s|
|HP dv5000z (2.0GHz Sempron 3300+)||2m 02s|
Futuremark’s 3DMark05 graphics benchmarking software gave results consistent with a mid-range dedicated GPU:
3DMark05 Comparison Results:
|Notebook||3D Mark 05 Results|
|HP dv6000t (2.16 GHz Intel T7400, NVIDA GeForce Go 7400)||2,013 3D Marks|
|Dell Inspiron e1705 (2.0GHz Core Duo, ATI X1400)||1,791 3D Marks|
|Acer TravelMate 8204WLMi (2.0GHz Core Duo, ATI X1600 256MB)||4,236 3DMarks|
|Alienware Aurora M-7700(AMD Dual Core FX-60, ATI X1600 256MB)||7,078 3D Marks|
|Lenovo ThinkPad T60 (2.0GHz Core Duo, ATI X1400 128MB)||2,092 3D Marks|
|Asus V6Va (2.13 GHz Pentium M, ATI x700 128 MB)||2,530 3D Marks|
|Fujitsu n6410 (1.66 GHz Core Duo, ATI X1400 128MB)||2,273 3DMarks|
|HP Pavilion dv4000 (1.86 GHz Pentium M, ATI X700 128MB)||2,536 3D Marks|
|Dell XPS M1210 (2.16 GHz Core Duo, nVidia Go 7400 256MB)||2,090 3D Marks|
Ditto the 3DMark06 yield:
|Notebook||3DMark 06 Results|
|HP dv6000t (2.16 GHz Intel T7400, NVIDA GeForce Go 7400)||827 3DMarks|
|Apple MacBook Pro (2.0GHz Core Duo, ATI X1600 128MB)||1,528 3DMarks|
|Dell Precison M90 (2.16GHz Core Duo, nVidia Quadro FX 1500M)||3,926 3DMarks|
|Alienware M7700 (AMD Athlon FX-60 Nvidia GeForce Go7800GTX)||4,085 3DMarks|
|Compal HEL80 (2.0GHz Core Duo, nVidia Go 7600 256MB)||1,654 3DMarks|
|Dell XPS M1710 (2.16 GHz Core Duo, nVidia 7900 GTX 512MB)||4,744 3DMarks|
As you see, this is no high end video card, but it should perform quite well with older games.
The final Futuremark benchmarking software I ran, PCMark05, resulted in 4234 PCMarks, with the following detail:
Comparison table for PCMark05.
|HP dv6000t (2.16 GHz Intel T7400, NVIDA GeForce Go 7400)||4,234 PCMarks|
|Fujitsu LifeBook A6010 (1.66GHz Core 2 Duo, Intel GMA 950)||2,994 PCMarks|
|Fujitsu N6410 (1.66GHz Core Duo, ATI X1400)||3,487 PCMarks|
|Alienware M7700 (AMD Athlon FX-60, Nvidia Go 7800GTX)||5,597 PCMarks|
|Sony Vaio SZ-110B in Speed Mode (Using Nvidia GeForce Go 7400)||3,637 PCMarks|
|Toshiba Tecra M6 (1.66GHz Intel T2300E, Intel GMA 950)||2,732 PCMarks|
|Asus V6J (1.86GHz Core Duo T2400, Nvidia Go 7400)||3,646 PCMarks|
|Sony VAIO FE590 (1.83GHz Core Duo)||3,427 PCMarks|
Below are the detailed results from PCMark05:
|PCMark05 Detailed Results|
|HDD – XP Startup||6.13 MB/s|
|Physics and 3D||143.22 FPS|
|Transparent Windows||346.05 Windows/s|
|3D – Pixel Shader||54.47 FPS|
|Web Page Rendering||3.52 Pages/s|
|File Decryption||59.77 MB/s|
|Graphics Memory – 64 Lines||570.97 FPS|
|HDD – General Usage||4.11 MB/s|
|Multithreaded Test 1 / Audio Compression||2353.98 KB/s|
|Multithreaded Test 1 / Video Encoding||395.4 KB/s|
|Multithreaded Test 2 / Text Edit||150.82 Pages/s|
|Multithreaded Test 2 / Image Decompression||30.25 Mpixels/s|
|Multithreaded Test 3 / File Compression||4.24 MB/s|
|Multithreaded Test 3 / File Encryption||46.43 MB/s|
|Multithreaded Test 3 / HDD – Virus Scan||17.64 MB/s|
|Multithreaded Test 3 / Memory Latency – Random 16 MB||8.21 Maccesses/s|
Hard drive performance, using HD Tune as the benchmark, was as follows:
Keyboard and Touchpad
HP dv6000t keyboard and touchpad view (view large image)
The dv6000t's keyboard was very comfortable with respect to size, layout and the actual pressing of keys, which are really the only things I ask of a keyboard. No complaints here at all. The touchpad worked just fine, too, and can easily be disabled by the press of a button, which some may find convenient. Above the keyboard is a thin line of media controls, blue-lit sensors that can be touched to mute the speakers, adjust their volume, or perform various other media-related functions. These are very handy for a quick mute, say, though they do beep rather loudly and I never bothered to try to disable the beeping. And finally, centered just above the LCD, is a webcam, which I tested and found to be working well enough, though it was a matter of seconds before I tired of looking at myself.
Input and Output Ports
The dv6000t has a good selection of ports that fits its dubbing as a multimedia notebook. Following is a tour around the dv6000t and the ports you get on each side:
Front view: Two headphone line-out ports (one is SPDIF), microphone ports (view large image)
Back view: Just a head vent on the back (view large image)
Right side view: ExpressCard accessory slot, optical drive, USB port, power jack (view large image)
Left side view: S-Video port, VGA / Monitor out port, Expansion Port, Modem and Ethernet ort, 2 USB 2.0 ports, 4-pin FireWire, Media Card Reader (view large image)
The two headphone jack feature is nice to have, especially if you want to share music on say a plane or train ride. Having a DVI port would have been a welcome addition in a multimedia notebook, but very few notebooks provide this.
After regular use, the 6-cell battery gave out at just short of two hours, with wireless on and the LCD at maximum brightness. Not great, by any means, but more time could certainly be obtained by taking a couple of minor power-saving measures, and a 12-cell battery, which slightly elevates the back of the notebook, is available.
Heat and Noise
I occasionally noticed the fan running somewhat aggressively, though the dv6000t never seemed all that noisy. As for heat, the left side of the machine, both top and bottom, got warm compared to the right side, but never to the point of being uncomfortable, even during protracted usage in my lap. All in all, the dv6000t performed exceedingly well under various conditions and never generated what I considered excessive heat or noise.
The Intel PRO/Wireless 3945 worked just as it should, with no problems.
Service and Support
I was never in touch with HP support regarding this notebook, which presented no problems of any kind. The base warranty is one-year, with the usual assortment of enhancements available at prices ranging from one to several hundred dollars.
Yes, there was a lot of junk software, as is standard on consumer-oriented machines, but performance was always outstanding, startup and shutdown were clean, End Task was never required, no software ever stopped responding, and there were no crashes. I suppose I'm something less than a purist when it comes to Windows installs, but clean, snappy operation is really all I ask.
The HP Pavilion dv6000t is a full-featured multimedia notebook with a highly appealing look. Like all notebook computers, it is an exercise in compromise. What sets it apart from other machines, however, and goes a long way to explaining its popularity, is its impressive blend of looks, performance, comfort and price. At current prices, the dv6000t offers a fine mix of components and performance in the $800 to $1200 range. On top of that, it looks good and provides an exceedingly comfortable computing experience. I know that I, for one, would not have used it nearly as much as I did if it hadn’t given me excellent performance and first-rate comfort during our two weeks together. As I said at the outset, I really did look for something wrong with the dv6000t, but in the end I came up with only three “cons.” Of these, one, the screen resolution, is really a matter of personal preference and won’t make any difference unless a high-resolution LCD is desired; another, the issue of fingerprints, is rather trivial and may actually inspire the owner to keep the notebook nice and clean; and the third problem may be the rather short battery life.
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