HP Pavilion dv6000t Review
by Aaron Goldman
Overview and Reasons for Buying:
It was a hot summer’s day, so I waltzed into Best Buy to check out the latest gadgets and to cool off. The first thing I saw was the glimmer from HP’s shiny new notebook, the dv6000z. The design was what caught my eye, a perfect balance of art and performance. I was looking to replace my somewhat old AMD Turion 64 notebook with a dual core system anyways. I wasn’t really impressed with my previous AMD system so I went online to browse and see if HP planned on releasing an Intel based notebook in this series. I had read up about the new Intel Core 2 Duo Chip (Merom) and definitely wanted a notebook with that kind of power. After a couple weeks of pestering HP techs on the phone I finally got a release date and waited. September 30th 2006 the dv6000t series was finally orderable from HPShopping.com I ordered mine on the first day and tracked its status until it was delivered. My first experience using the dv6000t was playing F.E.A.R. Multiplayer online. I had been using my older HP dv5130us notebook with an ATi Xpress 200m GPU and a Turion 2.0GHZ processor. The dv6000t blew it out of the water in terms of speed and FPS. I was quite impressed to say the least, especially seeing as I had to use a 900MHZ Celeron desktop until my notebook arrived from China. Weeks after that I joined the NotebookReview.com forums because I had found a thread titled: the dv6000t Current and Prospective Buyers Lounge. I wasn’t alone; many others were also very impressed with this notebooks stylish looks and power. Shortly thereafter the dv6000t became Notebookreview’s most popular laptop, a title which it still holds some three months later.
The dv6000t is available from hpshopping.com as a CTO (Custom To Order) notebook, and many retailers as preconfigured models. The ability to customize a notebook is great because you don’t need to buy any extra hardware that you can’t afford or don’t need.
This notebook is available with the shiny piano black glossy type HP custom finish, as well as the oldschool rough plastic type. The notebook price ranges from usually around $500USD to anywhere in the area of $2000USD being that it is a CTO.
Reviewed dv6000t CTO Notebook Specs:
Build and design:
The build quality of this notebook is great, it’s solid and sturdy. The LCD hinges give little if any flex while opening and closing with ease. There is a little rippling on the LCD when the top bezel is pressed with some force, but I’ve seen much worse. The touchpad works amazingly well, however the buttons are somewhat flimsy and feel cheap, though this doesn’t matter if you use an external mouse most of the time. There are an abundance of input and output connections on this notebook. It’s somewhat strange however they are all on the sides, with the exception of the headphone jacks in front. Most notebooks tend to have some ports on the back, the headphone jacks in the front do get quite annoying when hooking a stereo or surround sound into them. Possibly one of my favorite features on this notebook happens to be the media card slot. Not many notebooks have integrated media card readers; this is definitely a plus for avid digital photographers.
HP dv6000t top view (view large image)
I believe this notebook would fall somewhere in between a desktop replacement and portable. I wouldn’t take this notebook mountain climbing or throw it out of a window like some have claimed to do with the IBM T40s, however for the everyday person, bringing this to school; work or whatnot is pretty easy. Weighing in at about 6 pounds this isn’t super light but at the same time, it’s not quite as heavy as the all around desktop replacements that I’ve seen. Though, keep in mind that with a 12-Cell Lithium-Ion battery and AC adapter this notebook would weigh somewhere around 8 pounds which isn’t fun to carry around all day.
HP dv6000t bottom view (view large image)
This notebook comes equipped with Altec Lansing stereo speakers which are located in between the LCD bottom and the one touch buttons. I was quite impressed with the quality of sound that these can blast out. When using Cyberlink PowerDVD to boost the volume they get somewhat distorted however. With my older notebooks I found myself plugging in my surround sound speakers a lot more than I do with this model.
HP dv6000t front view (view large image)
Probably the most important feature when buying a laptop is having a good screen. If you’re going to be staring at it for thousands of hours it might as well be comfortable to look at. I received this laptop with an LG Philips 1280x800 WXGA Hi-Definition Brightview Widescreen with no dead pixels. I can easily say this is the nicest LCD I have ever owned. The screen has a very crisp picture, and no light leakage whatsoever. Viewing angles from the left and right are perfect, and do not look washed out. Vertical viewing angles however sometimes can be washed out when viewing from too far away. Using the included software you can customize your LCD’s color to your liking with the Nvidia Settings Manager tool which I thought was a plus.
Windows Vista ran well on the dv6000t (view large image)
I chose the Nvidia Geforce Go 7400 Series GPU for this notebook. This is the best available graphics chip for this model notebook. It seems to perform very well for average use and can play most new games at medium settings. The 128MB of shared “turbocache” doesn’t slow this PC down at all and it runs Vista Aero very smoothly. Most people considering this notebook seem to be worried about having enough graphics power for Vista which I did as well. After running Windows Vista Enterprise Edition for about two weeks I can safely say that it was a very nice experience (visually) and there were no quirks with the graphics processor. I had to use modded .inf files as the official Nvidia drivers aren’t out yet, however it still ran better that I had thought it would. Windows Vista seemed to actually run faster than XP Professional even with all the Aero features enabled. Another good benchmark test for the Go 7400 is F.E.A.R. which I play quite a bit. F.E.A.R. seems to run best with Processor set to Maximum, Graphics set to low, and the display at 1280x800. It will play at medium graphics settings however personally I would rather have a higher resolution.
Playing F.E.A.R. (view large image)
Processor and Performance:
The Intel Core 2 Duo T7200 2GHZ Processor in this notebook is lightning fast. In fact, the only time that I’ve hit 50%-100% CPU usage was while running SuperPI and Seti@home. My main reason for buying this dual core notebook was to edit and convert audio and video with Adobe Audition and Premier Pro. This is really where the dual core systems seem to shine, with this one being no exception. I also chose 2 GB of RAM, which seems to help encoding chug along quite nicely. The Intel Speedstep Technology also clocks down the processor until it’s needed to save battery life and prevent avoidable battery loss and overheating. The Core 2 Duo is a good choice as programmers are starting to create multithreaded programs and with the 64-Bit computing age on the horizon.
Super Pi measures the overall performance of the processors ability to crunch numbers by calculating Pi out to 2 million digits of accuracy.
|HP dv6000t (2.0GHz Core 2 Duo)||1m 03s|
|Fujitsu LifeBook A6010 (1.66GHz Core 2 Duo)||1m 22s|
|LG S1 (2.16 GHz Core Duo)||1m 11s|
|Dell Inspiron e1505 (2.0GHz Core Duo)||1m 16s|
|Lenovo ThinkPad T60 (2.0GHz Core Duo)||1m 18s|
|Toshiba Satellite M100 (2.00GHz Core Duo)||1m 18s|
|Samsung X60 (1.66GHz Core Duo)||1m 29s|
|Sony VAIO FS680 (1.86 GHz Pentium M)||1m 53s|
|IBM ThinkPad T43 (1.86 GHz Pentium M)||1m 45s|
PCMark05 Comparison results:
PCMark05 measures the overall system performance of a PC, you can see the dv6000t performed well:
|HP dv6000t (2.0 GHz Core 2 Duo, Nvidia Go 7400)||4,124 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, Nvidia Go 7400)||3,427 PCMarks|
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 (2.0 GHz Core 2 Duo, Nvidia Go 7400)||1,969 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|
HDTune measures the performance of the system hard drive, in this case a 120GB 5400RPM Fujitsu drive.
(view large image)
Heat and Noise:
After owning a notebook with a desktop Pentium 4 HT chip, I have learned to appreciate noise, or lack thereof. This notebook is very quiet; it’s about as loud as my older HP AMD Sempron notebook with cool and quiet technology. I guess Speedstep is basically the same thing. The only time I hear the fans come on is when I’m playing graphically intense games or running my CPU to 100% (Seti@home.) In addition, this notebook also stays pretty cool; the right of the touchpad feels warm on occasion, but not hot. Nothing I can really complain about there.
Keyboard and Touchpad:
HP dv6000t keyboard and touchpad (view large image)
The keyboard is very well laid out for a 15.4” laptop. It feels...Solid! None of the typical loud clickity-clackity type sounds emit from it, which is nice. The touchpad, as I said before, is very good. It’s sensitive and responds very well. It has a built in scrolling feature which is a bonus, however doesn’t always work 100% of the time. The touchpad buttons are alright. They feel kind of cheap and seem like they would break easily if pressed too hard.
Input and Output Ports:
Included in this notebook are (3) USB 2.0 ports,1 IEEE 1394 (FireWire 400); a 5-in-1 memory card reader; VGA monitor out port; S-Video out; RJ-45 Ethernet LAN; RJ-11 modem, Express Card, IR receiver, Expansion Port 3, (2) headphone/speaker jacks with SPDIF, and a Line in port. This notebook unfortunately does not have an HDMI port or a PCMCIA card slot.
Front view of dv6000t (view large image)
Left side view of dv6000t (view large image)
Right view of dv6000t (view large image)
Back view of dv6000t (view large image)
This notebook has (3) types of built in wireless capabilities. The Intel 3945 802.11 A/B/G wireless card, Integrated Broadcom Bluetooth, and an integrated infrared RC6 receiver. I have had no problems with any of the wireless capabilities in this laptop thus far, in fact I use a Belkin wireless router and it stays connected always. My past notebooks had Broadcom cards and it seemed like I would always get dropped connections.
I purchased a 6 and 12 Cell Lithium-Ion battery when I bought this notebook. The 6-Cell seems to last around 2.5 hours and when the screen is dimmed significantly it will almost make it to 3. I ended up selling the extra 12-Cell Lithium-Ion battery because I actually never used it. The 12-Cells’ should get around 6 hours or so as they are essentially two 6-Cell batteries conjoined.
Operating System and Software:
My dv6000t came with Windows XP Professional pre-installed along with 20 GB of bloatware and partitions. I also opted to purchase a set of recovery DVDs for...$20!!
I used them as soon as I received my notebook to do a clean install, however using the $20 recovery DVDs did not give me a clean install. HAH! I think that’s a joke, they installed all the original bloat -- everything back again. I would recommend purchasing a retail copy of XP just so you don’t have to go through the de-bloating trouble. I purchased XP Professional and did a clean install after going through all the de-bloating trouble and noticed that the system ran faster. The only downside of installing a retail copy of XP is hunting down the drivers for the laptop, so if you plan on doing this yourself be sure to copy or burn the C:\swsetup folder first. The swsetup folder contains all the system drivers and whatnot which need to be installed after installing a new OS. Be careful however, the bloatware is also in the swsetup folder, you will need to pick it out folder by folder, good luck. At the time I purchased the notebook came with a free upgrade to Vista, but now it is being sold pre-installed.
HP as well as basically all other computer manufacturer companies have sent their customer service department over to India. This isn’t a bad thing as it keeps the prices of electronics down considerably and creates jobs for Indian people, however it is at times hard to understand the reps because of the language/culture barrier. Overall however the HP customer service is very good, as long as you don’t mind waiting awhile on the phone, and eventually speak to someone that knows what they are talking about.
The dv6000t is a great customizable notebook for all kinds of people. Whether you need just a basic laptop to surf the web and write documents, a medium range gaming machine, or something to just crunch lots of data this notebook can do it all when configured appropriately. It’s hard to find things wrong with such a beautiful and well built laptop, I can’t stop admiring its zen-type design even while I type this. Overall I think this is very balanced and priced very well comonentwise. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who needs a powerful machine, while still retaining stylish and futuristic looks.
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