by Joe H., New York, USA
Recently, I purchased the HP Pavilion dv8000z notebook computer. I am a professional artist, animator and website designer and had several criteria in choosing a computer. I wanted a very fast computer that had a really big screen. A machine that could handle high-end graphics work such as 3D modeling, animation, compositing, video editing, music creation as well as other design work.
HP dv8000z Specs:
- Processor: AMD Turion 64 ML-37 (2.0GHz/1MB L2 Cache)
- Screen: 17″ WSXGA BrightView Widescreen (1680 x 1050)
- Graphics: ATI Express Radeon 200M 128MB
- RAM: 1.0GB DDR SDRAM (2 x 512MB)
- Hard Drive: 160GB (2 x 80GB @ 5400RPM)
- Optical Drive: DVD+/-RW/R & CD-RW Combo w/Double Layer Support
- OS: Microsoft Windows XP Professional
- Battery: 8-cell lithium ion
- Weight: 8.1lbs
- Wireless54g(TM) 802.11b/g WLAN w/125HSM/SpeedBooster(TM)
- Dimensions: 11.1″(L) x 15.62″(W) x 1.48″(min)/1.82″(max)
- Ports: 1 ExpressCard/54 Slot (also supports ExpressCard/34), 1 Type I/II 32-bit card bus (also support 16-bit), 1 IEEE-1394(Firewire), 4 Universal Serial Bus (USB 2.0), TV-Out (S-video), Integrated Consumer IR (remote control receiver), Headphone out w/ SPDIF Digital Audio, Microphone in, 1 RJ-11 (modem), 1 Expansion Port 2 Connector, 1 RJ -45 (LAN)
Reasons for Buying
The dv8000zis a new and powerful desktop replacement by Hewlett Packard. It has a very high resolution 17″ monitor (1680 x 1050), and the option of installing two separate 80 Gigabyte drives for a total of 160 Gigs, which I went for. This seemed to me like a great deal of storage for a laptop, and two separate drives are traditionally recommended for things like video editing or photo-retouching where it is best to keep the disk that contains the OS separate from the disk with your media on it.
What most attracted me to the machine, however, was the 64 bit Turion chip. I’ve never owned a machine with an AMD chip, and generally didn’t pay much attention to 64 bit computing. A few weeks ago, however, I read a press release that SoftImage, a leading manufacturer of 3D animation software, announced a 64 bit version of their program. This started me thinking more seriously about 64 bit.
As many people know, Windows Vista will be a 64 bit operating system and 64 bit software will allow serious performance increases, especially in my field. For example, a job that takes 3 days to render on a 32 bit system might finish overnight on 64 bit. If one’s primary application is a word processing, this is not an issue, but in my business, speed is important and could shave days off of a project.
Many have said that it is premature to worry about 64 bit right now, that it is a long way off. However, it seems to me that 64 bit is a lot closer than people think. Several companies either have 64 bit versions of their software or are in the process of working on them. Microsoft currently has a 64 bit version of Windows XP, and has released 64 bit versions of such programs as Windows Media Encoder. I’ve also been noticing the availability of 64 bit drivers such as for an Epson printer that I own.
After watching a speech by Bill Gates and reading some documents on the Microsoft website where AMD chips are endorsed, I had a feeling that they were subtly endorsing the purchase of 64 bit computers.
Therefore, 64 bit computing and Vista compatibility became a primary concern and the just-released dv8000z seemed like it was designed with it in mind. Vista is already in Beta and this machine seems expressly built according to its guidelines (see the Microsoft Website). We think that attention to Vista-compatibility was a major design factor with this machine. My decision was also influenced by reading this article: reviews.cnet.com/4520-10166_7-6359821.htmlamong other articles.
While it is true that by the time Vista goes really mainstream, there might be more advanced chips on the market than the Turion, the point is that those who buy a 32 bit computer today and decide they want to get into 64 bit computing tomorrow must buy a new computer. However, those who buy a computer today with a 64 bit chip such as the Turion have the option of buying a computer with a better chip in the future or not. I wanted that option. Of course the Turion runs favorably with 32 bit Pentium chips today (see benchmarks).
Top view of HP dv8000z with an Andrew Jackson $20 bill for size comparison
Look and feel
When the machine finally got here, I was impressed by its appearance. It is a big yet well designed (perhaps you say elegant) laptop, and you get a sense that it is a serious machine by looking at it. There is a lot of machine here. The build feels quite solid and the computer seems built to last.
Ports and connectors
The computer is well appointed with many ports including the regulars such as an external monitor port, RJ-45 for Ethernet, Expansion port 2 for docking, 4 USB ports, one 1394 (firewire) port, a PC card slot, a digital media slot reader, Head phone jack, ExpressCard Slot, and a microphone port. On the rear is a RJ-11 modem jack and on the front is a consumer infrared lens.
Left side view of HP dv8000z
Right side view of HP dv8000z
Front side view of HP dv8000z
Bottom side view of HP dv8000z
As mentioned before, the display is a large 17″ 1650 X 1080 Brightview screen. The colors look very good without any hue shifts. White looks like white and skin tone looks like skin tone. A high resolution monitor such as this one is nice to have when using complex programs and lessens the clutter of palettes on the screen which often happens on smaller monitors. Web browsing is a pleasure thanks to the excellent anti-aliasing and bright view monitor.
The included video chipset in this machine is the integrated 128MB ATI Radeon Xpress 200M with Hypermemory. It has 128 MB of memory, but can borrow another 128 MB from the main memory for a total of 256. According to Microsoft’s website, they recommend a video system with 128 MB of memory for Vista. ATI’s website says that the 200M supports the Windows Vista Display Driver Model. So, in addition to the Turion, this seems to be a workable combination for Vista when it comes out.
So far the 200M seems snappy and responsive to the work I have been doing such as photo retouching, compositing, video and design.
The Altec Lansing built-in speakers deliver remarkable audio quality, which was noticed by my best friend during a visit paid to me recently. Certainly, it’s the best we’ve ever heard in a laptop.
Of course, as we’ve mentioned, we expect the processor to demonstrate it’s real capabilities in the coming 64 bit era but here is how it stands in today’s 32 bit world:
NotebookTimeHP dv8000z (2.0GHz AMD Turion 64 ML-371m 49sDell XPS M140 (1.86 GHz Pentium M)1m 41sSony VAIO FS680 (1.86 GHz Pentium M)1m 53sIBM ThinkPad T43 (1.86 GHz Pentium M)1m 45sAsus Z70A (1.6GHz Pentium M)1m 53sFujitsu LifeBook N3510 (1.73 GHz Pentium M)1m 48sDell Inspiron 6000D (1.6 GHz Pentium M)1m 52sDell Inspiron 600M (1.6 GHz Pentium M)2m 10sHP Pavilion dv4000 (1.86 GHz Pentium M)1m 39sHP DV4170us (Pentium M 1.73 GHz)1m 53sSony VAIO S380 (1.86 GHz Pentium M)1m 45s
Below are the results gained from running PCMark04 on the dv8000z and results are compared to the Dell XPS M140 with a 1.86GHz Pentium M processor:
Futuremark PCMark04 ScoresDell XPS M140 (1.86GHz Penitum M, Intel graphics)HP dv8000z (2.0GHz AMD, ATI Radeon 200m)Multithreaded Test 1 / File Compression3.32 MB/s2.77 MB/sMultithreaded Test 1 / File Encryption26.66 MB/s20.89 MB/sMultithreaded Test 2 / File Decompression23.46 MB/s24.54 MB/sMultithreaded Test 2 / Image Processing10.87 MPixels/s12.07 MPixels/sMultithreaded Test 3 / Virus Scanning1866.81 MB/s1751.0 MB/sMultithreaded Test 3 / Grammar Check2.85 KB/s3.07 KB/sFile Decryption53.74 MB/s61.12 MB/sAudio Conversion2478.85 KB/s2624.93 KB/sWeb Page Rendering5.53 Pages/s4.69 Pages/sDivX Video Compression50.35 FPS53.04 FPSPhysics Calculation and 3D98.57 FPS108.52 FPSGraphics Memory – 64 Lines479.95 FPS976.41 FPS
General Performance and Battery Life
The system performs quite well. Websites load in a jiffy. Working on high resolution images in Photoshop and manipulation of 3D layers and effects in After Effects all seem as good or better than my one year old ultra high-end desktop machine. Renders happen fast, obviously taking advantage of the Turion. I was able to use the battery for around 3 hours.
I found HP customer support to be very good. I called them several times with various questions and each time there was very little or no wait time. I got through to a live human right away who was generally knowledgeable, professional and courteous.
HP dv8000z keyboard and touchpad
The dv8000zcomes with a separate numeric keypad. This is a nice feature that is not commonly found on other laptops. The keyboard looks nice with a reflective border around it. In addition it has Quickplay function keys that allow you to play DVDs and CDs without booting up the system, basically allowing the unit to perform as a high resolution DVD player with less drain on the battery. There is also a button in the upper right corner that pops up the calculator for easy access. Hey, why not?
If you are a digital content creator such as a video editor, animator, compositor, illustrator or photo-retoucher, and you are looking for a desktop replacement to do your work, you should seriously consider getting this machine with its 17″ high resolution screen, Turion processor and dual hard drives. In addition the newly released HP dv8000zseems consciously designed to anticipate Windows Vista and the future migration to 64 bit computing.
If you are concerned about future proofing your investment for the next four to five years without being obligated to buy a 64 bit machine next year, I think you should definitely consider this machine over a 32 bit unit.
Pricing and Availability:HP dv8000z Pricing
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