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  1. #1
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    Default HP dv8000z Review (pics, specs)

    by Joe H., New York, USA

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    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 dv8000z is 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: http://reviews.cnet.com/4520-10166_7-6359821.html among 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 may 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

    The screen

    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.

    Video

    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.

    Audio

    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.

    Benchmarks

    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:

    Notebook Time
    HP dv8000z (2.0GHz AMD Turion 64 ML-37  1m 49s
     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
     Asus Z70A (1.6GHz Pentium M)  1m 53s
     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
     HP DV4170us (Pentium M 1.73 GHz)  1m 53s
     Sony 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 Scores
      Dell XPS M140 (1.86GHz Penitum M, Intel graphics) HP dv8000z (2.0GHz AMD,  ATI Radeon 200m)
     Multithreaded Test 1 / File Compression 3.32 MB/s 2.77 MB/s
     Multithreaded Test 1 / File Encryption 26.66 MB/s 20.89 MB/s
     Multithreaded Test 2 / File Decompression 23.46 MB/s 24.54 MB/s
     Multithreaded Test 2 / Image Processing 10.87 MPixels/s 12.07 MPixels/s
     Multithreaded Test 3 / Virus Scanning 1866.81 MB/s 1751.0 MB/s
     Multithreaded Test 3 / Grammar Check 2.85 KB/s 3.07 KB/s
     File Decryption 53.74 MB/s 61.12 MB/s
     Audio Conversion 2478.85 KB/s 2624.93 KB/s
     Web Page Rendering 5.53 Pages/s 4.69 Pages/s
     DivX Video Compression 50.35 FPS 53.04 FPS
     Physics Calculation and 3D 98.57 FPS 108.52 FPS
     Graphics Memory - 64 Lines 479.95 FPS 976.41 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.

    Customer Support

    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.

    Keyboard

    HP dv8000z keyboard and touchpad

    The dv8000z comes 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?

    Conclusion

    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 dv8000z seems 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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  2. #2
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    Default Re: HP dv8000z Review (pics, specs)

    Spectacular review! Your writing style is very fluid and enjoyable to read.

    I have yet to see the dv8000z in a retail store yet, but after your review + pictures, I have a lofty opinion of it. The only issue which bugs me about it is the weak graphics card, but for what you are doing, it doesn't look like that makes a difference. At least it helps future proof the notebook.

    While I still think 64-bit is irrelevant and unimportant, I do agree that software specifically coded in x64 will be faster for encoding and rendering. Now the only question is getting drivers for x64...

    I have a question - can you use the hard drives in a RAID configuration, or is one just your primary drive and the other is recognized as storage?

    Cheers,
    Lead Moderator for TechnologyGuide Communities
    Brighthand | NotebookReview | TabletPCReview
    hp EliteBook 8740w - 17" DreamColor 2, Win 7 Pro, Core i5, 4GB RAM, ATI FirePro M7820, Intel SSD

  3. #3
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    Default Re: HP dv8000z Review (pics, specs)

    Great Review animas3D! - Job well done and a pat on the back
    -nickspohn
    Dell XPS M1710 (Review) | iPhone 3G (Review) | iPhone (Review)
    www.nickspohn.net

  4. #4
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    Default Re: HP dv8000z Review (pics, specs)

    Wow! Machine looks really good. Excellent review. I think this absolute Multimedia Machine for verygood price with 64Bit processor.

    I remember in one of DivX press, they said their 64Bit encoding is 4 times faster than 32bit version in similar hardware setup. IMHO investing in 64Bit laptop is a good idea if we want to keep for more than 2 years.
    LAPTOP: Compaq V2000z ML-37 1GB Corsair DDR400 40GB 5400RPM HDD.
    Desktop: DIY MSI K8NGM2-FID AMD X2 3800@2.4Ghz 1GB Corsair DDR400 Dual Channel, Aopen 19" LCD DVI

    MY V2000z Review

  5. #5
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    Default Re: HP dv8000z Review (pics, specs)

    Nice, informative review! The DV8000Z looks like a MUCH better machine than the ZD7000/ZD8000. Congrats!!!

  6. #6
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    Default Excellent Review

    Great review, thanks for your efforts.

    Would you consider posting rear and bottom photos. Curious about connections and adding RAM. On my Dell, I added RAM by a small plate on the bottom.

    You're right on about 64 bit. It only takes one application for 64 bit to be worth every penny you paid. Particularily if you can go from days to overnight.

    I'm hoping that HP puts Yonah [Core Duo] in that same chassis. The 2 HD's and the numeric keypad at the surprisingly budget price make it strong contender in the 17" DTR market.

    Hermit

  7. #7
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    Default Re: HP dv8000z Review (pics, specs)

    Excellant review, great looking machine. Good work!

  8. #8
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    Default Re: HP dv8000z Review (pics, specs)

    Great review. I didn't even know that HP makes a 17" notebook, atleast I haden't seen it in stores. Surprised it only comes with integrated graphics though.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: HP dv8000z Review (pics, specs)

    I liked this review, the reviewer must have put alot of effort into it. I appreciate that. I'm not too interested in 64 bit chips yet however. When vista forces me to go 64 bit then maybe. I saw this machine in real life once. It's a nice machine the silk screens need some work, but the sound, for a little lap top is superior. Thanks Joe

  10. #10
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    Default Re: HP dv8000z Review (pics, specs)

    I, too, have no need for 64-bit computing power, yet. I figure I'll make the move to a 64-bit machine in another 1-2 years when applications that really benefit from this technology are in the mainstream. By then, I'll be ready to upgrade to the next level of graphics cards, as well.
    Last edited by JackBauer; 22nd December 2005 at 06:49 PM.

 

 
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