by Peter Basta, California USA
The PowerPro 8:14 laptop is based on the Compal HGL-30 notebook and is very similar, if not the same, as the Sager NP2030. The purpose of buying this laptop was to have a powerful PC based system that could be used on the go for school work, engineering simulations and gaming, without being a brick weight in my bag. After about a month of searching I decided to give the PowerPro 8:14 laptop by PowerNotebooks.com a try. I wasn’t disappointed.
- Intel Core 2 Duo T7200 2.0GHz Processor w/4M L2 On-die cache – 667MHz FSB
- Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound
- Built-in Intel PRO/Wireless 3945 802.11a/b/g
- Built-in Bluetooth Wireless
- 100GB SATA/150 Hard Drive at 7,200 RPM
- 2,048MB (2 SODIMMS) * CORSAIR * DDR2/667 Dual Channel Memory
- Combo Dual Layer SuperMulti DVDRW Drive w/ Nero
- Smart Li-ion Battery (9-Cell)
- Full Range Auto Switching AC Adapter
- 14.1″ WXGA (1280 x 800) “Glossy” LCD w/PCI-e nVIDIA GeForce Go 7600 w/256MB
- Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium – 32-Bit
- PowerPro 3-year Warranty – Next Business Day Shipping – Lifetime 24/7
Build Quality & Design
The notebook is sturdy enough to feel comfortable lifting it by one corner. The top cover is a tough plastic that is teal in color. The teal cover isn’t at all what the pictures online depict. The color is a bit deeper and darker in person and is very decent. The buttons on the mouse are perfect and very responsive. The power button at times doesn’t respond after the first click and must be held in for a second for the unit to power on, a minor inconvenience. The screen hinges appear to be very strong and well built. The hinges are so strong that the base of the laptop has to be held down when opening the screen or the whole thing wants to move with the screen. Overall the laptop has a very rigid and rugged feel to it.
PowerPro 8:14 notebook (view large image)
Screen and Graphics
The screen is described as a 14.1″ WXGA (1280×800) “Glossy” widescreen LCD Display. The screen is very bright and sharp. The glossy screen has a bit of glare given certain angles with light, but it isn’t bad at all during regular indoor lighting. My screen happened to have one stuck pixel on the left edge but it wasn’t a big deal. The graphics though are simply stunning; I never imagined a machine so small, would be able to produce such amazing graphics. I played a few games such as Age Of Empires 3, Halo and Medieval II,with most of the graphical settings to medium-high and it ran them without even hiccupping. Take a look at the screenshots below.
Age Of Empires III Screenshots:
Super Pi Comparison Results
Super Pi forces the processor to calculate Pi to 2 million digits of accuracy and gives an idea of the processor speed and performance:
NotebookTimePowerPro 8:14 (2.0GHz Core 2 Duo)1m 04sHP dv6000t (2.16 GHz Intel T2400)59sAsus W3H760DD (2.0 GHz Pentium M)1m 33sDell Inspiron e1505 (2.0GHz Core Duo)1m 16sLenovo ThinkPad T60 (2.0GHz Core Duo)1m 18sToshiba Satellite M100 (2.00GHz Core Duo)1m 18sSamsung X60 (1.66GHz Core Duo)1m 29sDell 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 45s
As you can see the Core 2 Duo processor performs very admirably amongst others in the super pi calculation test.
3DMark06 Benchmark Results
3DMark06 tests the overall graphic capabilities of a notebook, below is how the PowerPro 8:14 did compared to other notebooks:
Notebook 3DMark 06 ResultsPowerPro 8:14 (2.0GHz Core 2 Duo, nVidia Go 7600 256MB)1,820 3DMarksHP dv6000t (2.16 GHz Intel T7400, NVIDA GeForce Go 7400)827 3DMarksApple MacBook Pro (2.0GHz Core Duo, ATI X1600 128MB)1,528 3DMarksDell Precison M90 (2.16GHz Core Duo, nVidia Quadro FX 1500M)3,926 3DMarksAlienware M7700 (AMD Athlon FX-60 Nvidia GeForce Go7800GTX)4,085 3DMarksCompal HEL80 (2.0GHz Core Duo, nVidia Go 7600 256MB)1,654 3DMarksDell XPS M1710 (2.16 GHz Core Duo, nVidia 7900 GTX 512MB)4,744 3DMarks
One comment I would like to make is regarding the drive temperature. As seen in the screenshot above, the drive ran up to 56C during the test which is very hot. During games the laptop’s palm rest area does get extremely hot and is exasperated if the laptop is charging and plugged in at the same time.
Input & Output Ports
Left Side (view large image)
Right Side (view large image)
Front Side (view large image)
Back Side (view large image)
On the left hand side, starting from the front of the computer there is a PCMCIA card slot and an ExpressCard slot stacked upon each other. Behind that there is an Ethernet cable followed by a USB port. All the way at the back of the notebook there is a notebook lock port. On the back from right to left, there is a power plug, modem port, and S-video port. On the left side from the front, there is a headphone and microphone port followed by two USB ports. Following the USB port there is the optical drive and finally a VGA port. On the front of the notebook on the left side there is a 3-in-1 memory card reader.
There is one notable port missing and that is the omission of a firewire port, also known as the IEEE 1394 port.
Keyboard & Touchpad
The touchpad on this laptop is superb in every way. It is smooth and very sensitive to slight movements without being too touchy. The touchpad buttons are a bit louder than most laptops out there, but I believe that will go away as they broken in a bit. The keyboard by itself is a great device on this laptop, but one thing that makes it a bit annoying is the fact that right half of the keyboard likes to sink in a bit when the keys are pressed on it. I have read many solutions online from installing double sided tape to using a thin metal bar for support. It hasn’t become that annoying for me to do any of these things yet, but nevertheless it’s another minor negative.
This laptop came with the extended battery (9-cell), and therefore extends about inches outwards from the rear. It doesn’t get in the way very much, though it made looking for a small case a bit harder .The battery life seems to vary given Vistas operating mode and what I’m doing. The battery lasts approximately 3 to 3.5 hours if I am just browsing the net or typing and in power saving mode. If I game or play compressed music, the battery time decreases to 2 to 2.5 hours.
Heat and Noise
This laptop gets moderately hot (especially the palm rest) when I play games and play media. It gets as hot as any other laptop for the most part, except when the battery is empty and I am using it heavily. Noise is not a big problem, it is very quiet and the only noise that is heard comes from the hard drive and CD Rom drive. The fan is so quiet that I can’t hear it, even though it cycles on and off a lot.
The Bluetooth and wireless devices came setup and pretty much worked from the get go. The wireless 802.11b/g WLAN access card easily connected to my house and school WLAN and has provided me with a solid connection with no drops so far. The Bluetooth card has been used for my external Logitech mouse and that also has been working flawlessly.
The sound, in my opinion, is one of the major flaws of this laptop. The speakers are very tinny and lack any bass response. The system volume doesn’t get very loud and is in fact about the same level as my PDA. If I plug in headphones, the sound is great and all of the problems I experience with the speakers go away. I should mention that the sound quality with headphones is outstanding.
Service and Support
I purchased this laptop from Powernotebooks.com and was very pleased when I spoke to Ron B. to order the notebook. In addition to getting the laptop as awesome as this, he was able to include Arctic Silver paste for free, this helps in cooling the processor. The purchase also included tech support and a replacement program for 3-years which seems like a good deal. I should say the few times I had to call tech support for the minor issues I had (all Windows Vista driver related) tech support was very honest when they didn’t know something and called back to follow up regarding the status. Over all, support has been great, above and beyond what I expected.
- Extremely Powerful CPU
- Great Graphics GPU
- Corsair Ram is a plus
- Light weight
- Gets a bit hot
- Keyboard is a bit unstable
- Very low volume
- Screen is hard to keep clean
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