ENVY 15-kXXX / ENVY 15-qXXX / ENVY 17-kXXX Notebooks (2014)

Discussion in 'HP' started by T2050, Apr 21, 2014.

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  1. T2050

    T2050 Notebook Deity

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    Sadly today I will confirm that the new 15-Q with BGA mounted i7-4710HQ has the mSATA connector removed from the motherboard. Bad news for all that are wanting to add an mSATA drive :(

    However the mounting area for the mSATA cache is present, and the terminals on the motherboard exisit, even has mSATA printed on the circuit board, although without the physical soldered on connector, there is no way to put in a mSATA drive.

    I would think that the port could very well be active, all the soldering joints are there, so it might be possible to solder on a $2 connector from eBay. Doing so will require the removal of the entire motherboard to get at, and some experienced soldering skill beyond your normal everyday abilities of most.

    More specially this is what it missing, and what you will need to buy and solder onto the motherboard if there is a chance of getting this to work.

    Micro SATA msata MINI PCI-E mPCIE Connector for DIY Soldering add-on

    Micro SATA mSATA Mini PCI E Mpcie Connector for DIY Soldering Add on SSD H4 | eBay


    For me there is only one pre-built model available and cost a lot, although was fully loaded with a large 1.5TB mechanical hard drive. There is no way I wanted to lose this amount for space (steam library and the likes), as the need to have the mSATA connector present to enable Intel RST or SSD cache acceleration.
    I found the 1.5TB mechanical hard drive to be terribly slow (boot up, OS, program, and general responds time) way to slow to put up with, as mSATA SSD caching fixes speed related issue very significantly, however shame the connector has been stripped by HP.
    I could of brought a 2.5" SSD drive, although best I could do would be 512GB and at this stage I don't have the money, also I have a spare mSATA cache drive just waiting to put into this but cannot :(
     
  2. plasmos

    plasmos Notebook Enthusiast

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    Oh that sucks. I hope it's still there on the 15t k000
     
  3. T2050

    T2050 Notebook Deity

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    I seriously doubt it, there is only access to the RAM and nothing else without removing the entire bottom, therefore chances are hugely slim that there is anything mSATA, the form factor has been reduced and simply wouldn't be any room for it.

    mSATA connector present and active:

    15-J = YES

    15-Q = NO

    15-K = more than likely NO (not confirmed, although I am 95% sure there will be none)
     
  4. AntonioDB

    AntonioDB Notebook Geek

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    HP is making terrible choices: before has changed the good IPS screen of the DV series with a bad quality TN panel and now has removed the mSATA connector.
    I have bought a 15-Jxxx because of the mSATA connector (I've a 480 SSD in there and the system is terribly fast) and replaced the screen with a beautiful IPS (the original TN was terribly bad).
    If these will be the HP choices in the future, next time I will buy a DELL again as I've done in the last 12 years.
    Sent by Tapatalk
     
  5. T2050

    T2050 Notebook Deity

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    Yeah agreed.

    I can also confirm the panel used in the 15-Q touch screen is the exact same TN panel from last years 15-J model which has the poor viewing angles and vertical banding.

    I have actual purchased the 15-Q today, but took it back to the store within an hour. I got it at a reasonable price and was prepared to keep it, but the moment I seen the mSATA connector stripped from the motherboard, this was the deal breaker for me.
    Even though I don't really need to force the mSATA as boot, I do need SSD caching in which makes a huge difference, and with a 1.5TB drive it would have been a nice combo.

    I had small suspicion HP might of removed mSATA connector, but figured that with the small changes this year that it would still be there, thus why I brought it expecting the connector to be present.
    Now that I seen this first hand, the removal of the mSATA connector is because HP are not offering the mSATA cache with the i7-4710HQ and 850M motherboard, hence why they have removed the connector. This may not be the case on other motherboards with BGA chips, but with what I have just experienced today don't bank on it being there, I don't see HP listing the option at all with any model that used the same 15-Q chassis.

    HP have not removed the housing for the mSATA under the back plate, both the plastic rest post and screw hole for bolting down a mSATA drive is present. There is writing on the motherboard in this area actually marked mSATA right next to the physical terminals on the motherboard, however no connector. This really doesn't save HP much, hardly anything at all, but stops the end user have the chance of choice, which is what they are doing with their BIOS, as they don't want the end user being able to do anything else that may make the machine better without HP getting the last laugh of the almighty dollar.

    Point out the silver keyboard while looking good from distance is actually pretty hard to see the white letters on the keys, as silver and while are pretty close colours. The backlight if switch on when there is some light actual obscures the letters even more. Seemed ok if the room is almost dark. Like on some of Samsung's ultra book a couple of years ago, silver keys on a silver machine with a white backlight are not a good combo.

    Wish I had taken a photo of the unit with the removed mSATA connector, but was in a hurry to get my money back before the brick and mortar store closed for the weekend.

    If anyone is think about soldering on a $2 mSATA connector you will have to remove bunch of 2-3 wires that run right over the top of the terminals. There is also a rubber wire holder that HP have glued on right smack bang in the centre of where the terminals are, plus some kind of thick black tape (~7mm wide) that wraps around the wire cluster and the edge of the motherboard over the top of the terminals too.
    Consider that HP may have pulled any support for the mSATA slot (or SATA port assignment) from their BIOS, therefore soldering on a connector might do nothing!

    On the plus side, the touch pad on the 15-Q which is I believe glass coated is way better than the shocking bad 15-J piece of like plastic. I had a look at HP entire refresh, including the cheaper non Envy model and all of them have a revised glass surface. Keep in mind that without any driver support the 15-Q touchpad acted very erratically under scenarios like using the factory restore from pressing ESC at boot (not windows) and under Linux bootable tools. Basically from what I see the driver for the touchpad is essential for its operation, otherwise it is very difficult to control just normal movement of the mouse cursor.

    Comment on the keyboard two different 15-Q that I had the chance to observe, the flex is really bad (especially WASD area) and easily worse than the 15-J, or in other words the flex is very pronounced. On both of the 15-Q models I tested/notice the underlying keyboard support is actually raising (pushing up) the keyboard, and even when one key is pressed e.g. D key, the key in a full circle of keys around the D key consisting of RFCXSE travel downwards even if pressing very lightly. Flex is so bad that it actually affects keys far away as V, Q, 4, as a secondary circle, you get the picture. There is a reasonable amount of flex over near the Enter key and left side of the number pad. The only place where that was near little of no flex was around the JKL keys. I know that HP are using a new keyboard support part, as it is listed as a different part from the 15-J, but they haven't improved it obviously, seems HP just made a new part to fit around the components and haven't worried about keyboard functionally.
    Generally physical plastic of the keys appeared to be of poor quality and not well moulded, for example the right shift key was warped and not flat, as like someone had attempted to bend it slightly. I noticed a few other keys similar to this but the smaller keys were really no so much as issue. Appears that across the 2014 range I had a look at today, the keys on all the machine appeared to all have the same poor quality. However is more concerning on a machine that cost twice as much such as the Envy.

    I didn't get time to test out the 850M unfortunately, but I did verify it is a 850M and has 4GB of DDR3 with 28GB/s bandwidth.

    Like to point out that I might be a bit nit picky, but I demand quality when I am paying this much for what is meant to be a premium product. Including the fact I pay near twice as much here, but even considering at the US price, the things I have mentioned shouldn't be an issue.
    Would believe it is only those people that have ever brought rubbish, or have little or no real knowledge, are the ones that will know no better and will not complain, likely be trilled with what they have received.
     
  6. matermark

    matermark Notebook Enthusiast

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    Thanks for the update. I'm interested in getting a 17.3 TS, maybe not the latest version, reading this... Are these problems/changes across the entire line, 15 AND 17? Anybody know?

    I see very little info on 17's in a thread titled Re: ENVY 15-kXXX / ENVY 15-qXXX / ENVY 17-kXXX Notebooks (2014)

    Do all you guys go with the 15's because of portability and battery life? I'm more interested in POWER & screen SIZE... bigger IS better! The only reason I have any interest in an HP is because they had the most options in i7-quad core models with touchscreen. When I started powerful processors (4900MQ) were offered, that's not the case right now. You CAN, however, get refurbs w/1080p and 4700MQ processors, with Touchscreens, as low as $669.

    I'm looking for a desktop replacement more so than portability. If battery life is so important, go with a different model with an i5 or a crippled i7; to me, a dual core i7 is the Celeron of the Core-i7 family! Unless it's a big wattage difference like a ULV processor, to me, it's a trade-off. Of course, I've lived through the evolution of the Intel processor as far back as the 8088/XT/etc, the 286, 386SX, Pentium/Pentium II/III/4M/etc, as well as the competition--Cyrix, AMD, etc.

    If someone finds a great 17 Touchscreen thread, please point me to it! Thanks.
     
  7. pizzasogood

    pizzasogood Notebook Consultant

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    Just for clarification, which model is the newest slight if at all "refresh" of the Envy 15t? Is it j?

    And on second thought, I might just cancel the laptop after reading some reviews and impressions. It just sounds generally bad. And I love my 2012 Pavilion dv6t so far. Solid construction compared to the Envy from the sounds of it. Very unfortunate that it's a disappointment.
     
  8. AntonioDB

    AntonioDB Notebook Geek

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    Leave HP for a better manufacturer. In my opinion during the last years HP is making a lot of marketing errors.

    Sent by Tapatalk
     
  9. T2050

    T2050 Notebook Deity

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    The 15-Q model is the refresh of the 15-J model. The newer 15-Q motherboard is different in some aspects, but still uses the same chipset as the 15-J model, both are HM87.
    However the newer 15-Q model does not feature a mSATA slot. The 2 speakers from underneath the front of the unit have been removed, therefore only has the 2 speakers across the top near the screen, no more quad speakers like the 15-J

    2012 Pavilion dv6t was the last of the decent builds from HP, before they rebranded the Pavilion line to Envy in which a lot of corner cutting started. Marketing as Envy fools people into thinking they are getting top of the line, but actually end up with a Pavilion class laptop instead. HP stripped down features or quality of parts, therefore the Envy of today I would believe is sitting little bit under the old Pavilion. The only thing the new Envy has going for it, is that the hardware is newer. Build quality and quality control have seem to suffered greatly over the last couple of years.

    Not sure who is to blame, but I would point finger at the new CEO.
     
  10. plasmos

    plasmos Notebook Enthusiast

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    Hmm that's odd. On the 15t, you can't elect for the 256 GB SSD without opting into the dedicated gpu (and the duo core i7). Can anyone reason why that is?
     
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