HP dv8000t Review (pics, specs)

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Overview and Introduction

I recently purchased an HP dv8000t CTO notebook. This is a desktop replacement notebook and is the 17-inch flagship model from HP.


It has been over a month since I’ve had it, and I thought I would write a review and share my experiences with this notebook.

The specifications are as follows:

  • Microsoft(R) Windows(R) XP Media Center Edition
  • Intel(R) Core(TM) Duo processor T2300 (1.66 GHz)
  • 17.0″ WSXGA+ BrightView Widescreen (1680×1050)
  • 256MB NVIDIA GeForce Go 7400
  • 2.0GB DDR2 SDRAM (2x1024MB) 667MHz
  • 80 GB Fujitsu 5400rpm SATA Hard Drive
  • LightScribe Double Layer 8x DVD+/-RW&CD-RW Combo
  • Intel(R) PRO/Wireless 3945ABG Network with Bluetooth
  • HP ExpressCard Analog TV Tuner with remote control
  • 8 Cell Lithium Ion Battery
  • Windows(R) XP Media Center Edition Backup CD
  • HP Mobile Remote Control

Reasons for Buying

A couple of months back, the hard drive in my previous notebook (a Dell Inspiron 8600 with a Celeron M processor) failed, thus rendering the machine useless. I replaced the hard drive with a new Seagate Momentus hard drive, but for some reason, the notebook was still unable to recognize the drive, and I was unable to reinstall MS Windows XP.

I work with desktop computers almost continuously at work. Lately, I have been experiencing serious eye strain, despite working from dual 19″ monitors. I had also been thinking of using my notebook as a TV so that I could multi-task while working on my notebook.

Hence, I decided to get a new 17″ widescreen notebook. Prior to purchase, I considered the new Toshiba Satellite P100 series, the Sony Vaio AX series, the Acer Travelmate 8204, and the Asus W2J, as well as the HP Pavilion dv8000t. The Acer, Asus and the Toshiba have top-of-the-line graphics cards. The Sony, Acer and Asus were all on the wrong side of $2000, hence I had to decide between the Toshiba and the HP. I chose the HP because it offered more features for the money.

Where and How Purchased

I purchased the notebook directly from HP Shopping. At the time of the order, the notebook cost me approximately $1,600. However, after placing the order, I chanced upon the HP nx9240 business notebook, with similar specs, but with 1GB RAM, an extremely capable ATI X1600 graphics card, a fingerprint scanner and a lower weight (7.4 lbs). Hence, acting on an impulse, I thought I would call up HP and ask if I could cancel my dv8000t order. I was told that it was indeed possible to cancel the order, since the notebook was yet to be built. I was also offered $125 off my price (as a credit), if I chose not to cancel the order. I decided to accept this. So when we take this $125 and a $50 mail in rebate, the total price comes to a little over $1400, which I think is a good deal, considering the specs of this machine.

Build & Design

After opening the box and taking out the notebook, I must say that I was quite impressed by its looks. The notebook is very well built. The hinges are firm and tight. The screen and lid are sturdy, with no distortions or ripples on screen after pressing hard on the top of the lid.

It features a two-tone color scheme – silver on the outside and black on the inside. Located at the top of the keyboard, are discrete Media Function and Volume Control keys with soft blue lights embedded in them. There is also a very handy Calculator Launch button, for those times when I need to make a quick calculation.

Since this is a desktop replacement notebook, it is not very portable at 8.1 pounds, but if need be, it can be moved around, with little difficulty. All the I/O Ports are located on the sides, with only the fan vents and the LAN cable port located on the back.

There is shiny black plastic around the keyboard, which along with the soft blue lights of the Media Function keys, gives the notebook an extremely pleasant look, especially in a low light ambience.

Overall, the notebook has a clean, classy, elegant yet understated look.


The HP dv8000t notebook (view large image)


The HP dv8000t by night (view large image)


Top View (view large image)

 
Front View (view large image)


Left Side (view large image)


Right Side (view large image)


Rear View (view large image)

Screen

The screen on this notebook is, in a word, phenomenal. Words cannot truly describe this amazing screen. When I first switched on the notebook, I was stunned by the quality and size of the screen. The 17-inch widescreen is huge, with even backlighting, and provides plenty of real estate for watching movies, gaming or multi-tasking.

According to HP, the dv8000t features a high-definition screen. And judging from the quality of the images on screen, I am quite inclined to agree. Watching movies or live TV is an absolute pleasure, with the screen displaying rich, true-to-life images.

There is no light leakage, which is a huge plus, as far as I am concerned. I was also delighted to find no dead pixels, after using the Dead Pixel Buddy software.


The gorgeous “high-definition” widescreen display (view large image)

Speakers and Sound

The notebook features Altec Lansing speakers that are among the best notebook speakers in the market. They deliver clean, crisp sound and can get really loud, with little distortion of sound. These speakers can provide adequate sound for watching a DVD from across the room — there is no real need for external speakers or headphones.

However, I have my notebook hooked up to a Creative Audigy 2SZ for Notebooks sound card, and an Altec Lansing GT 5051 5.1 surround sound speaker system. This combination, in tandem with the widescreen display, makes it possible for me to have a mini-theater right here on my computer desk. I must say that the sound is terrific.

Processor and Performance

I mainly use this notebook for office tasks, email/browsing/chatting, some Photoshop, listening to music, and for watching movies and live TV.

Boot up time is minimal – 41 seconds from powering up till the Windows login screen, with a further 14 seconds after logging in. Applications launch instantaneously when clicked. This notebook features a Fujitsu 80GB 5400rpm hard drive, which, along with the 2GB of RAM, is fast enough for most applications. The new Intel Centrino Duo processor really shows its mettle here, since I can easily run 3 or more tasks simultaneously, with several windows open.

The dv8000t comes with a dual hard drive storage system, which provides storage for up to 240GB. I opted for a single 80GB hard drive, since I store all my data on a Seagate external hard drive.

I am an occasional gamer, meaning, I only play one game – Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004. This is not the most graphics intensive game out there. The game runs beautifully, and the NVIDIA GeForce Go 7400 easily handles the graphics requirements.

However, I did install a few other games such as Need for Speed: Underground 2, and Hitman 2: Silent Assassin. The Go 7400 was able to blaze through these games, with no freeze at all, at the highest settings. Granted, these games are not the latest. But I am sure that Go 7400 can handle newer games such as Oblivion, albeit at medium settings.

Recently, HP began offering the superior NVIDIA GeForce Go 7600. This must have been received with some disappointment by those who got their notebooks with the Go 7400. Yet, I feel that for my (gaming) needs, the Go 7400 is more than sufficient.


Need for Speed: Underground 2 (view large image)

Benchmarks

In order to measure and compare my notebook performance, I ran several benchmarking programs, including Super Pi, PCMark05, 3DMark 05 and 3DMark06, the results of which are given below:

Super Pi

Super Pi is a program that forces the notebook processor to calculate Pi to 2-million digits of accuracy.

Notebook Time
 HP dv8000t (1.66GHz Core Duo)  1m 22s
 Dell Inspiron e1705 (2.0GHz Core Duo)  1m 12s
 Lenovo Z61m (2.0GHz Core Duo)  1m 16s
 IBM ThinkPad T43 (1.86 GHz Pentium M)  1m 45s
 IBM ThinkPad Z60m (2.0 GHz Pentium M)  1m 36s
 Fujitsu LifeBook N3510 (1.73 GHz Pentium M)  1m 48s
 Dell Inspiron 6000D (1.6 GHz Pentium M)  1m 52s
 Dell Inspiron 600M (1.6 GHz Pentium M)  2m 10s
 HP Pavilion dv4000 (1.86 GHz Pentium M)  1m 39s
 Asus V6Va (Pentium M 1.86 GHz)  1m 46s
 Lenovo ThinkPad T60 (2.0GHz Core Duo)  1m 18s


PCMark05

Here’s how the dv8000t stacked up in PCMark05 results against other notebooks.  This result considers system performance as a whole (processor, graphics card, hard drive).

Notebook PCMark05 Score
HP  dv8000t (1.66 GHz Core Duo, nVidia Go 7400) 3,458 PCMarks
Fujitsu N6410 (1.66GHz Core Duo) 3,487 PCMarks
Alienware M7700 (AMD Athlon FX-60) 5,597 PCMarks
Sony Vaio SZ-110B in Speed Mode (Using Nvidia GeForce Go 7400) 3,637 PCMarks
Dell Inspiron e1405 (1.66 GHz Intel T2300) 2,879 PCMarks
Asus V6J (1.86GHz Core Duo T2400) 3,646 PCMarks
Toshiba Satellite M70 (Pentium M 1.86GHz) 1,877 PCMarks

 

3DMark 05

Below is the overall 3DMark05 score and comparison to other notebooks:

Notebook 3DMark 05 Results
HP dv8000t (1.66 GHz Core Duo, nVidia Go 7400 with 2.0GB 667MHz memory)  2,196 3D Marks
HP dv8000t (2.00 GHz Core Duo, nVidia Go 7400 with 1.0GB 533MHz memory)  2,005 3D Marks
Alienware M7700 (AMD Athlon FX-60 Nvidia GeForce Go7800 GTX)  7,078 3DMarks
Dell Inspiron e1705 (2.0GHz Intel T2500, ATI X1400)  1,791 3D Marks
Asus V6Va (2.13 GHz Pentium M, ATI Radeon Mobility x700 128 MB)  2,530 3D Marks
 Fujitsu n6410 (1.66 GHz Core Duo, ATI X1400 128MB)  2,273 3DMarks
Dell XPS M1210 (2.16 GHz Core Duo, nVidia Go 7400 256MB)  2,090 3D Marks
 Acer TravelMate 8204WLMi (2.0GHz Core Duo, ATI X1600 256MB)  4,157 3DMarks

 

3DMark 06


Notebook  3DMark 06 Results
HP dv8000t (1.66 GHz Core Duo, nVidia Go 7400 with 2.0GB 667MHz memory)  772 3D Marks
HP dv8000t (2.00 GHz Core Duo, nVidia Go 7400 with 1.0GB 533MHz memory)  707 3D Marks
Dell XPS M1710 (2.16 GHz Core Duo, nVidia 7900 GTX 512MB)  4,744 3D Marks
Apple MacBook Pro (2.0GHz Core Duo, ATI X1600 128MB  1,528 3D Marks
Sony Vaio SZ-110B in Speed Mode (Using Nvidia GeForce Go 7400)  794 3DMarks
Alienware M7700 (AMD Athlon FX-60 Nvidia GeForce Go7800GTX)  4,085 3DMarks
 Asus A6J (1.83GHz Core Duo, ATI X1600 128MB)  1,819 3D Marks

 

HD Tune results to illustrate hard drive performance are illustrated below:


HD Tune results (view large image)

Heat and Noise

Heat and noise are two important factors to consider while buying a notebook. I am quite pleased to find that this notebook barely gets warm, both at the bottom and the palm rests, even during extended sessions, which include movies and light gaming. The fan does run occasionally, but it runs quiet. The optical drive also runs quietly, while playing a CD or DVD.

Keyboard and Touchpad

The dv8000t features a full size keyboard with large keys except for the Function keys which are smaller. One of the big pluses of this notebook is that it features a separate number pad, which makes it much easier to work on spreadsheets.

The keyboard is extremely easy to use. There is no flex at all. The keys are firm, tactile and large enough to press on comfortably.


The full size keyboard and number pad (view large image)

The Synaptics touchpad is very responsive, and has a dedicated vertical scrolling area. Another plus for a notebook of this size, is the ample area around the touchpad to rest the wrists while typing. This also makes up for the fact that there is no touchpad on/off button, since the large palm rest area means that my hands never tap the touchpad accidentally.


The touchpad (view large image)

Input and Output Ports

The notebook comes with a lot of I/O ports. These are listed below:

  • 1 ExpressCard/54 Slot (also supports ExpressCard/34)
  • 1 PCMCIA Type I/II 32-bit card bus (also supports 16-bit)
  • 6-in-1 multi-format memory card reader
  • 1 IEEE 1394 Firewire Port
  • 4 USB 2.0 ports
  • TV-Out (S-video)
  • Integrated Infrared receiver (remote control)
  • 1 RJ-11 (modem)
  • 1 Expansion Port 2 Connector
  • 1 RJ -45 (LAN)
  • 1 VGA port

I was particularly pleased to find both the new ExpressCard/54 and PCMCIA ports built into the notebook. Not many notebooks feature both of these ports.

Wireless

I have a wireless network set up at home, with a Linksys router. Wireless connections are a breeze, with no problems experienced till date.

The notebook has Bluetooth v2.0 built in, and I was able to connect and pair my Bluetooth enabled headset, PDA and cellphone, with no issues. Wireless file transfer through Bluetooth, worked without a hitch. I can also listen to music from the notebook, via Bluetooth, on the headset.

Battery

I rarely use the notebook unplugged, but for the purposes of this review, I did a few sessions unplugged, and averaged 3 hours 37 minutes before the batteries died out. These numbers are quite respectable for a 17″ widescreen desktop replacement notebook, and are slightly exceed the claimed time of 3 hours 28 minutes.

Speaking of the battery, I noticed that HP, for some strange reason, only shows the “% remaining” for the battery, as opposed to showing both % and time remaining. But then again, this is hardly an issue, and I am sure there are software utilities out there that could display the battery time remaining.

Operating System and Software

While configuring this machine, I opted for the Windows XP Media Center Edition, along with the TV tuner card, so that I could connect the notebook to my cable TV connection in my room, and use it as a TV.

There are a few good, useful software programs preinstalled in this machine, like Quicken 2006 and Quickplay 2.0, which permits CD’s and DVDs to be played without booting up the machine. Unfortunately, HP also installs a ton of bloatware that was quite a pain to uninstall.

The notebook also came with a separate “Recovery” Partition. While configuring, I also purchased the Windows XP MCE backup DVD for $10.

I also ran the Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor Beta program from Microsoft, and the notebook (and its hardware) sailed through its tests, meaning my notebook is ready for Vista, and it’s much publicized Aero interface.

TV Tuner Card

The TV tuner card provided is the HP ExpressCard Analog TV Tuner with a remote control. It is about the same size as the Creative Audigy 2ZS for Notebooks sound card. Supplied accessories include, among others, a coaxial cable attachment, audio/video and S-video cable, and a Media Center remote control.

Installation was a breeze. I was able to connect the cable TV connection in my room to the TV tuner card. Configuring Windows Media Center was also straightforward, and I am able to watch a sitcom or two, while I browse the internet.


The HP TV Tuner card with the popular Creative SoundBlaster Audigy 2ZS for Notebooks (view large image)

 
The TV tuner card and accessories (view large image)


The HP TV Tuner Card plugged in the ExpressCard/54 slot (view large image)


An episode of “Friends” (view large image)

Customer Support

Prior to purchase, I talked to HP Customer Support a few times, in order to clear some of my queries/doubts that I had about the machine and its component hardware. Each time, my experience with them was very good – I was able to get to a representative with little wait time, and my questions were answered quickly and convincingly.

Post purchase, I have not needed to use customer support, so I cannot really comment about this. I purchased a 2 year extended warranty from HP, and it covers all parts and labor. The notebook itself comes with a 1 year warranty.

Conclusion

I am extremely satisfied with the HP dv8000t notebook. I use it as a full-fledged entertainment center. I think it is arguably the only notebook that offers all the entertainment features that one could derive from a notebook, at a very competitive price, and in an aesthetically pleasing package. I wholeheartedly recommend this notebook to anyone who wishes to purchase a notebook for use as a multimedia/entertainment machine.


Pros:

  • Value for money.
  • Incredibly gorgeous screen.
  • Runs quiet with almost no heat.
  • Decent graphics performance.
  • Good speakers.

Cons:

  • Too much bloatware preinstalled.
  • No touchpad on/off button.
  • No built-in webcam.

Thanks for reading my review. I hope it was entertaining and informative. Please let me know if you have any comments or questions that I could answer. Thanks again.

 

extra benchmark contributions to this review for an HP dv8000t with 1.0GB of 533MHz memory and 2.00GHz processor were provided by Charles Jefferies


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