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Compaq Presario R4000 Review (pics, specs)

Discussion in 'Notebook News and Reviews' started by NathanSmith, Jun 28, 2005.

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  1. NathanSmith

    NathanSmith Notebook Enthusiast NBR Reviewer

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    by Nathan Smith, Kentucky USA

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    Background

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    R4000 Above view (larger image)

    I am a seminary grad student and work in graphics &amp; web development for my school. I also do a good bit of freelance web work on the side. So, when looking for a laptop, I wanted something that would be suitably powerful for creative projects, while also being portable to go meet with clients. Initially, I had considered an Apple Powerbook, but eventually settled on the Presario R4000 because for the price you can get much better hardware than offered in the Apple models. Additionally, much of our educational Bible software used at my&nbsp;school is for Windows only.

    What initially appealed to me about the R4000 is the AMD Athlon 64 bit processor. I have always preferred AMD to Intel, admiring them as a company that simply makes good products that sell themselves, without having to bombard the general public with advertising. I also liked that the R4000 comes with Bluetooth and Firewire, as this makes it more competitive with a Mac.

    I had also considered the HP zv6000 version of this laptop, but liked the look of the Compaq better. It certainly looks and feels more solid than the HP, having compared the two up close in CompUSA. I like that when it is closed, there are no easy places for it to snag, unlike the HP's that tend to have a slight curve outward near the speakers / latch. In general, the R4000 is more low-profile than the HP. With its black casing it looks more professional, whereas the HP looks a little flashier. The latch is also very sturdy, with a metal bar rather than the typical plastic sliding clips.

    System Specs

    So, I went ahead and ordered my R4000 from HP Shopping, configured as follows:

    • Windows XP Professional
    • AMD Athlon 64 4000+ (2.4GHz/1MB L2 Cache)
    • 15.4" WXGA BrightView Widescreen (1280x800)
    • 128MB ATI Radeon Xpress 200M w/Hypermemory
    • 256MB DDR SDRAM
    • 60GB 5400 RPM Hard Drive
    • DVD+/-RW/R &amp; CD-RW Combo w/Double Layer Support
    • 54g Integ. Broadcom 802.11b/g WLAN &amp; Bluetooth
    • 12 Cell Lithium Ion Battery

    The reason for the meager 256MB of memory is that most manufacturers tend to over-charge you for memory. It was actually $40 cheaper for me to order it with 256MB and buy a 1GB stick from NewEgg.com than it was to simply order an even 1GB (2x512MB) from HPShopping. So, after some dealing with the NewEgg customer service department over KingMax RAM (terrible, by the way), I ended up going with Kingston and have had no problems since.

    The expansion memory slot is easily accessible on the underside of the laptop, and the memory was fairly simple to install. It just took a screwdriver and about 2 minutes of&nbsp;time. The other memory slot&nbsp;one is a bit more difficult to access, requiring you to disassemble the main laptop case. So for now, my 1.25GB of ram is fine, and I really don't want to change out the 256 for anything else just yet.

    Initial Impressions

    I have been very happy so far after about two weeks working with the Presario&nbsp;R4000. The screen is simply amazing, providing CRT quality sharpness, with only a slight decrease in viewing angle. I also like that there is an on-off button for the wireless connection. I could see this being useful in an airport or Internet cafe where one might be worried about security issues. It sure beats having to go to your network properties and disable then re-enable things via software.

    I also love that there is an on-off button for the touchpad, as I have never been a big fan of these and use them only when absolutely necessary. That being said, when it is on, my right thumb tends to brush up against it. This is due to the fact that it is centered on the width of the laptop case, rather than being aligned with the spacebar. So, if one is using the home-row for typing, the touchpad seems like it is slightly in the way. This is not really much of an issue though, as I got a nice Kensington micro Bluetooth mouse.

    The JBL speakers integrated into the R4000 sound very clear, and are situated at the front of the laptop, as opposed to near the screen like so many laptop designs. I have found that a 50% volume is plenty loud enough for playing most music and video games. The screen resolution can also be adjusted in gaming mode to either stretch to fit or to allow for black-edges. I did not realize this at first, and thought I would simply have to deal with extra-wide games.

    The locations of the ports are very well thought out. On the left there are 2 USB ports, optical drive, universal media card reader, and a PC card slot. On the right are S-Video, Ethernet, expansion slot (for HP base), 1 USB port, Firewire, microphone and headphones. On the back are modem, VGA, power, and another USB port.

    The only thing I would change about the layout is to put the right-side fan on the left, and have the optical drive on the right side instead. The reason being, when you fire up 3D applications and ones that are processor intensive, the fan blows right on your hand (assuming you're using a mouse). I suppose this could actually be good if you're a lefty.

    I have found the battery life to be fairly decent, around 3 to 4 hours if only using basic productivity software with the screen dimmed. For playing games, it is of course better to have it plugged in, but this is true for any laptop.

    Photos (Click to Enlarge)

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    R4000 Above view (larger image)

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    R4000 with AC adapter (larger image)

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    R4000 Front view (larger image)

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    R4000 Back view (larger image)

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    R4000 Left view (larger image)

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    R4000 right view (larger image)

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    Benchmarks

    For those of you who crave raw data, here are some of the various benchmarks, comparable to another review of the R4000 on NotebookReview.com, the only difference being&nbsp;my R4000 config has&nbsp;1.25GB&nbsp;while the other reviewers had 2GB of ram. As far as benchmarking for calculations goes,&nbsp;the extra RAM&nbsp;does not seem to have made much of a difference.

    <TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width="100%" align=center border=1> <TBODY> <TR> <TD>&nbsp;Notebook</TD> <TD>Time to Calculate Pi to 2 Million Digits </TD></TR> <TR> <TD>Compaq R4000 (AMD 2.4GHz)</TD> <TD>1m 36s</TD></TR> <TR> <TD>Gateway 7422GX&nbsp;(AMD 2.4GHz)</TD> <TD>2m 12s</TD></TR> <TR> <TD>Dell Latitude D410 (2.00 GHz&nbsp;Alviso Pentium M)</TD> <TD>1m 36s</TD></TR> <TR> <TD>IBM ThinkPad T43&nbsp;(1.86 GHz&nbsp;Alviso Pentium M)</TD> <TD>1m 45s</TD></TR> <TR> <TD>Fujitsu LifeBook N3510 (1.73 GHz Alviso Pentium M)</TD> <TD>1m 48s</TD></TR> <TR> <TD>IBM ThinkPad T41 (1.6GHz Banias Pentium M)</TD> <TD>2m 23s</TD></TR> <TR> <TD>Compaq R3000T (Celeron 2.8GHz)</TD> <TD>3m 3s</TD></TR> <TR> <TD>Dell Inspiron 600m&nbsp;(1.6 GHz Dothan Pentium M)</TD> <TD>2m 10s</TD></TR> <TR> <TD>Dell Inspiron 8600 (1.7GHz Banias Pentium M)</TD> <TD>2m 28s</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>

    <TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width="100%" align=left border=1> <TBODY> <TR> <TD>&nbsp;Battery Eater Pro</TD> <TD>&nbsp;</TD></TR> <TR> <TD>&nbsp;CPU</TD> <TD>&nbsp;5290</TD></TR> <TR> <TD>&nbsp;GPU</TD> <TD>&nbsp;2909669</TD></TR> <TR> <TD>&nbsp;RAM</TD> <TD>&nbsp;5504</TD></TR> <TR> <TD>&nbsp;HDD</TD> <TD>&nbsp;4183</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>

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    <BR>Overall PCMark '04 rating: 4040

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    Conclusion:

    All in all, the Presario R4000&nbsp;is a very good laptop, especially for the price. Even if this laptop were more expensive, I would still recommend it. Being that it is so affordably priced, I would say that getting one is a no-brainer. Even with the new Compaq M2000Z Turion model that is being offered, the R4000 still has a better configuration. The main difference is that the Turion only has a native resolution of 1024x768 vs. 1280x800, and the Turion only comes with a 4200 RPM hard drive. That being said, here is my final summary:

    Pros:

    • Screen looks great
    • Powerful hardware / graphics
    • Feels very sturdy
    • Affordable

    Cons:

    • Short battery life
    • A bit heavy (7.85 lbs), big charger
    • Touchpad could be better situated

    Bottom line is, if you want a desktop replacement, look no further, but if you just want mobility and don't care about power, perhaps a Pentium M would better suit you. If you found this review to be helpful, stop by my site and let me know: www.sonspring.com

    Other Compaq R4000 Reviews

    Pricing and Availability

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    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 6, 2015
  2. Andrew Baxter

    Andrew Baxter - Super Moderator

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    That 1m 36s time is most impressive from the AMD processor for calculating Pi to 2M digits, it matches what Ryan got when running it too.

    If you don't mind my asking, how much was the final cost on this config when ordered?
     
  3. NathanSmith

    NathanSmith Notebook Enthusiast NBR Reviewer

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    After rebate, it was $1,267.00 from HP, plus the cost of the Kingston 1GB memory I got from NewEgg...

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16820172105

    So, all in all, about $1380 ~ $1390 for a combined 1.25GB memory, as opposed to $1417 with only 512x2 memory directly from Compaq.

    I think what made the difference in the Pi benchmark even with less hardware was probably that I got rid of all the excess factory-default programs such as HP Help & Compaq-specific programs, as well as nixing the auto-launch at startup programs like Quicktime, iTunes, etc. I like my bootup to be fairly lean.
     
  4. AMDemon

    AMDemon Notebook Evangelist

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    I couldn't agree more!! Great review :cool:

     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 2, 2015
  5. AMDemon

    AMDemon Notebook Evangelist

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    How long does yours take?...Mine is currently @ 62 seconds!! :mad:
     
  6. lowlymarine

    lowlymarine Notebook Deity

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    I have to ask where the heck you got that SuperPI time for the Gateway 7422GX. 2:12?! That's obscene. Mine can do it in 1:43. And the 7422GX has a 2.2GHz core clock processor, not 2.4GHz, as you noted, so I think you mean the 7426GX, which makes that time even more unbelievable. The 7426GX should get about 1:39.
     
  7. NathanSmith

    NathanSmith Notebook Enthusiast NBR Reviewer

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    I'm not sure what my bootup time is. I'll have to check when I'm at home (I probably shouldn't be posting here from work). :)
     
  8. admoore

    admoore Notebook Enthusiast

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    Thank you Nathan and Ryan for those in-depth reviews of the R4000. I have been looking for awhile now ..and I have to say that the R4000 has alot of technology to offer for the price and certainly does have a quality build. I am looking @ the R4010CA (Canadian version of R4010 US - Both having the AMD Sempron 1.8 Ghz)


    Windows XP Home
    AMD Sempron 3200+ (256KB L2 Cache)
    15.4" WXGA BrightView Widescreen (1280x800)
    128MB ATI Radeon Xpress 200M w/Hypermemory
    512MB DDR SDRAM
    60GB 5400 RPM Hard Drive
    DVD+/-RW/R & CD-RW Combo w/Double Layer Support


    Here's links to a couple of Sempron reviews left to me from miner. I was impressed with Sempron ratings. Have a look.

    http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipset...aspx?i=2139&p=6
    http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipset...doc.aspx?i=2395
    http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/cp...mpron-2600.html
    http://techreport.com/reviews/2004q...on/index.x?pg=1
    __________________


    D
     
  9. admoore

    admoore Notebook Enthusiast

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  10. EvilCheeseWedge

    EvilCheeseWedge Notebook Enthusiast

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    Excellent review. I can't wait for my R4000 to come. It's estimated build date is July 25 :(
     
  11. thefisher

    thefisher Newbie

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    Well, the question is... everytime I plug in my ac adapter to my r4000, the screen becomes very dim, but when I unplugg it, it is bright just the way it was. Well, i constantly plug in my notebook to an ac adapter considering the fact that i bought it as a DTR(desktop replacement notebook). Can you tell me how to solve this problem? Oh and one more thing... Before, it was viceversa. The screen was very dim until I plugged it into an ac adapter, but I rather have it be dim when it is plugged in rather than it being dim while it is charging.
     
  12. efatos

    efatos Newbie

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    to NathanSmith

    how do you know that the laptop has JBL speakers?
    There's no mention of JBL on my R4000 laptop.

    It will be great if it can confirmed.
     
  13. clarkdog15

    clarkdog15 Newbie

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    I had the same problem with the stupid screen. Heres how to solve it jsut hold FN and click F8 to change the brightness higher or F7 to lower. FN is in bottom left and u know where F8 is.
     
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