HP Pavilion dv9000t Review

by Blake Reads (169,159)

by Blake Bonfiglio

Overview and Introduction:

Hewlett-Packard recently took the lead as the number one PC maker in the world, finally overtaking their rival, Dell. With the market shift came many new computers from HP, and a much needed refresh to their laptop line. The HP dv9000t is the most powerful model HP has to offer with its crisp 17" screen, Core 2 Duo, dual-hard drive capabilities, and GeForce Go 7600 graphics card.


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The HP dv9000t is configurable online via HP.com, the specs I ordered were as follows:

  • Operating System – Genuine Windows XP Media Center
  • Processor – Intel(R) Core(TM) 2 Duo processor T5500 (1.66 GHz)
  • Display – 17.0" WSXGA+ BrightView Widescreen (1680×1050)
  • Graphics Card – 256MB NVIDIA(R) GeForce(R) Go 7600
  • Personalization – HP Imprint Finish + Microphone + Webcam
  • Memory – 1024MB DDR2 System Memory (2 Dimm)
  • Hard Drive – 160GB 5400RPM SATA Dual Hard Drive (80GB x 2)
  • Primary CD/DVD Drive – LightScribe DVD+/-RW w/Double Layer
  • Networking – Intel(R) PRO/Wireless 3945ABG Network w/Bluetooth
  • Primary Battery – 8 Cell Lithium Ion Battery
  • OS and Recovery Media – System Recovery DVD w/Windows XP Media Center
  • Accessories – HP Mobile Remote Control
  • Price – $1,467.98 after rebate


HP dv9000t front view (view large image)

Reasons for Buying:

I had been in the market for a new laptop for quite some time. I do alot of digital design work including web design and photo retouching, as well as making art in my spare time. I needed something with a bright, large screen and ample resolution to work with. I also needed enough power to play the latest PC games. I had my eye on the HP dv8000, but soon after the dv9000 came out and I knew it was the one for me.


Everything you get with the dv9000t in the box (view large image)

Where and How Purchased:

I purchased my dv9000t straight from the HP.com site. At the time they had the best deal, and it gave me peace of mind going through the company itself in terms of warranty and tech support backing.

Build and Design:

The design of the dv9000 is excellent. It is much thinner and lighter than I had anticipated. The chassis is a very strong plastic, there is no flex anywhere on the body of the notebook. The screen will twist if ample force is applied, but is very sturdy for a 17" screen. When I push on the lid, no ripples are produced on the LCD.


HP dv9000t top view (view large image)


HP dv9000t under side view (view large image)

The most attractive part about the design of the notebook is HP’s Imprint Finish. It is a swirled pattern on the outside and inside of the notebook, right under the keyboard. It definitely adds flare and personal taste to the normally bland world of mobile computing.


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Screen:

The screen is one of the biggest things that attracted me to this notebook. As someone who relies on their screen for contrast and color accuracy, this screen has been nothing short of amazing. There are three options for customization regarding the screen: WXGA+ BrightView Widescreen (1440×900); WSXGA+ BrightView Widescreen (1680×1050) (which is the option I chose); and WXGA+ Ultra BrightView Widescreen (1440×900). The resolution differences are straightforward enough, but the Ultra BrightView does confuse some people. The difference between Brightview and UltraBrightview is the number of lamps lighting your LCD. Typical screens only have one lamp, while UltraBrightview contains two that light your screen. The outcome is a much brighter, and sometimes crisper screen. I would have chosen this option, but I value a higher resolution, and most screens are bright enough for me as it is.

Speakers:

The speakers on this laptop are some of the best I have heard and are made by Altec Lansing. In typical notebook fashion however, they do come up short. The sound quality is crisp and clear all the way up to max volume. There is no "tinny" sound from the speakers that many have. The only complaint I have about these speakers is that they don’t get loud enough for my tastes. Not a big deal to me, as they get plenty loud for sitting around and listening to your MP3′s, but for gaming and audiophile tastes, a set of external speakers or headphones may be a good option.

Processor and Performance:

The processor I have is the Intel Core 2 Duo T5500 (1.66ghz). The Core 2 processors are currently the best mobile processors on the market. The T5500 is the middle to low-end of the Core 2 models, but doesn’t even break a sweat with everything I have thrown at it.

Benchmarks

The Intel Core 2 Duo offered with this notebook is the "low end" 1.66GHz version, but still offers very good performance, I got a Super Pi calculation time to 2 million digits of 1m 18s. That’s slower than the under 1 minute results that 2.33GHz Core 2 Duo processors get, but still demonstrates the processor can chug through calculations fast.

Super Pi

Notebook Time
HP Pavilion dv9000t (1.66GHz Core 2 Duo) 1m 18s
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
Dell XPS M140 (1.86 GHz Pentium M) 1m 41s
Sony VAIO FS680 (1.86 GHz Pentium M) 1m 53s
IBM ThinkPad T43 (1.86 GHz Pentium M) 1m 45s

 

3DMark05 Results and comparison:

3DMark05 tests the graphics processing capabilities of a system:

Notebook 3DMark05 Score
HP Pavilion dv9000t (1.66GHz Core 2 Duo, Nvidia Go 7600 256MB) 3,517 3DMarks
Samsung X60plus (2.0GHz Core 2 Duo T7200, ATI X1700 256MB) 4,150 3DMarks
Acer TravelMate 8204WLMi (2.0GHz Core Duo, ATI X1600 256MB) 4,236 3DMarks
Asus V6J (2.16GHz Core 2 Duo, nVidia GeForce Go 7400) 2,918 3DMarks
Samsung X60 (1.66GHz Core Duo, ATI X1400) 2,264 3DMarks
ThinkPad T60 (2.0GHz Core Duo, ATI X1400) 2,092 3DMarks
HP dv6000t (2.16 GHz Intel T7400, nVidia GeForce Go 7400) 2,013 3DMarks

 

3DMark06 Comparison Results:

3DMark06 tests the graphics capabilities of a system, it is more demanding than 3DMark05.

Notebook  3DMark 06 Results
HP Pavilion dv9000t (1.66GHz Core 2 Duo, Nvidia Go 7600 256MB) 1,930 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

 

Some screenshots from games being played on the dv9000t


F.E.A.R. (view large image)


World of Warcraft (view large image)


Half Life 2 (view large image)

Heat and Noise:

The dv9000t has quite a bit of power under the hood, but you would never be able to tell from the way it handles it. The fans rarely come on, only during heavy gaming do I notice them, and even then they can barely be heard. The notebook is very quiet, nothing that will bother your classmates during a lecture. The only time I have ever felt the notebook get even mildly warm was after a long session of playing F.E.A.R. After quite a bit of stress on all the components used during the game, it was still very comfortable to have on my lap.

Keyboard and Touchpad:

The dv9000 is one of the few notebooks on the market to offer a full-size keyboard along with a numpad. The numpad is a welcome, but rarely seen addition to the mobile world. The keys are all very responsive and offer a satisfying clicky noise when typing. The only complaint that I have is that the right shift key is scrunched due to constraints from fitting in the numpad. This isn’t a big complaint for me however, as it is fairly easy to adapt to the smaller shift key, and is more than worth it as a trade-off for the numpad that is included.

The touchpad on the other hand doesn’t get as much praise from me. It is average at best. I almost always use an external mouse, but when I do have to use the touchpad, I don’t look forward to it. It tracks well enough, but is made of a strange material that is rather hard to slide your finger on in comparison to a standard touchpad. The mouse buttons underneath it are great however, and I wouldn’t trade those for anything. The touchpad is aligned under the main part of the keyboard, so it is off center from the whole notebook. The reason for this however is so that it is center from where you are typing. The coolest feature about the touchpad, and one I greatly appreciate, is the ability to turn it on/off. No more accidently brushing the touchpad, causing you to type in the wrong place.

Input and Output Ports:

The notebook has a fair mix of everything and even has an HDMI port. All included ports are as followed:

  • 4 Universal Serial Bus (USB 2.0)
  • 1 IEEE 1394 Firewire Port
  • 1 Expansion Port 3
  • TV-Out (S-video)
  • Integrated Consumer IR (remote control receiver)
  • Microphone in
  • 1 RJ-11 (modem)
  • 1 RJ -45 (LAN)
  • 1 VGA
  • 1 HDMI


Left side view (view large image)


Right side view (view large image)


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Wireless:

The pavilion dv9000t has two options for wireless. Both come with the Intel(R) PRO/Wireless 3945ABG card, but one is with Bluetooth and the other is without. I chose the option with Bluetooth so that I could connect with my phone and pda. The card offers a strong connection to any network remotely close to me. I can pick up signals from neighbors 2-3 houses away from me. This is definitely a card to have when looking for a notebook with reliable wireless.

Battery:

The battery that comes with the dv9000 is an 8-cell Lithium-Ion battery. The laptop averages about 3 hours of battery life with low performance usage and a dim screen, an amazing number for a notebook this big. With more demanding usage however, it gets around 2 hours.

Operating System and Software:

The operating system I chose for my system was Windows Media Center Edition. In essence, it is Windows Home with more multimedia options. I have no need for pro and the features included on MCE are pretty neat, especially for a media fanatic like myself. There is a Recovery Partition that is located on your primary hard drive for any recovery woes. When you first boot up it asks you to burn this partition onto CD/DVD. I opted for the Recovery Discs however, just in case. The system was loaded up with Bloatware when I received it, and among the bountiful programs, none of them were useful to me. After cleaning up all of the unwanted programs and cleaning my registry however, I had a near clean install.

Customer Support:

I haven’t yet had the need to test out HP’s customer service, and hope that I will never have to (knock on wood). There are many options for warranties however, and I have heard from others that HP is one of the better companies out there in terms of customer support.

Conclusion:

The dv9000 is a gorgeous desktop replacement machine with enough power and features for nearly any user. It is definitely one of the best buys on the market for the money, and I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a 17" notebook.

Pros:

  • Extremely affordable
  • Beautiful Imprint Finish
  • Built-in Mic/Webcam
  • Unrivaled screen
  • Nearly silent operation
  • Thin and light for a notebook of its size

Cons:

  • Not enough choices for resolution
  • Middle of the road GPU
  • Dissapointing touchpad
  • Fingerprint magnet!

 


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