We have HP Elitebooks, and they’re very cool!


Product Specifications and Review for: HP Elitebook 8530w Mobile Workstation

Author: Dan Atchley, Velocity Tech Solutions – Technician

Specifications:

There are variations on how these can come configured, but the devices we tested and reviewed were configured as follows.

Basics:            15.4”(16:10)WUXGA+ Anti-Glare Screen, 4 USB, HDMI, eSATA, RJ-45+ RJ-11, VGA, 1394, RICOH Smart Card Reader, Bio-metric Fingerprint Reader, Keyboard Light, TouchStyk, Webcam, 1.1″ x 14.0″ x 10.4″ form-factor.
Processor:      Intel Core 2 Extreme Q9300 @4×2.53GHz/2x6M(2×12-Way(24))/1066FSB
Memory:        4GB DDR2, 2x 2GB PC2-6400(400MHz, 666-18 Timing)
Graphics:       NVIDIA Quadro FX770M – PCI-Express x16, GDDR3 512MB Memory, 128 Bit. 500MHz Core Clock, 800MHz Memory Clock, 1250MHz Shader Clock, w/ OpenCL and CUDA Support Drives:            2.5” Seagate Momentus –  120GB, 7200RPM, 16MB Cache, SATA II (3-GBPS), DVD/CD-RW w/ LightScribe

Initial Thoughts:

This HP Elitebook is just that, elite.  Debuting in 2008 and running a TDP of <130W, delivering a big punch (without punching your bank account), making it one of the best laptops on the market.  Originally sold anywhere between $1400-$2800 based on configuration, it featured a range of Intel Core2 Processors and a dedicated Mobile GPU, putting it ahead of its time and ready to meet the demands of the new decade.

Today, it still stands as a solid piece of modern computing. With minor optimization it can hold even with Dell Latitudes running i5’s, and surpassing others.  Keeping the 8530W ahead of the curve is mostly due to its dedicated Quadro GPU, giving you prioritized 3D computing power that many APU’s promise but don’t deliver. The sophisticated GPU allows this laptop, which is designed as a mobile workstation, to run many current high demand applications such as Netflix, YouTube, and even aspects of the gaming world.  Although it may struggle with fresh releases such as Assassin’s Creed: Unity and Shadow of Mordor, for the common user or casual gamer it will run everything from Skype and Netflix to the surge of MOBA games, all with a crystal clear image at great frame rates.

 Testing and Benchmarks:

When we received our first one, I cracked the lid and was delighted to see a C2Extreme Label and a NVidia Quadro with CUDA Support.  A clean layout, easy access to RAM DIMMs, HP’s DriveGuard Caddy for our HDD, touch interface for quick-launch buttons, volume control and WIFI on/off are all things to be excited about.  Removal of the keyboard panel yielded even more; dedicated heatsinks for both CPU and GPU, the GPU’s heatsink was bigger than the CPU’s!

We started with a base optimization of these by pulling the heatsink and fan apparatus and giving it a good solid dusting, general cleaning, and removal and reapplication of thermal paste.  Surprise of the day: the Intel Core2Extreme Q9300 is actually two DI smashed together into one standard form-factor and socket for a laptop, giving you a true quad-core, and 24-way (YES, 24!) 2x6MB L2 Cache.  The CPU and GPU shared a common rail made of solid copper, with dedicated aluminum base heatsinks for each, and a third heat sink for our bridge functionality to keep everything nice and crispy as we push this laptop to it’s namesake, extremes.

OS Installation was a breeze, moving relatively fast for a 7200RPM HDD, taking about 15-20 min to do a fresh optical disc install of Windows 7 Pro x64.  The WIFI and LAN port keep up with modern data rates, patching 500MB+ of Windows Updates within 15-20 min, and the installation of said updates in less than 10. Complete with restarts and human interaction, total time for installation and deployment took under an hour.

Initial running yielded standard laptop temps, between 40C-50C for both CPU and GPU.  Running Prime95 for our CPU stress-test took the CPU’s Cores to a max of 80-85CC, with temps cooling and stabilizing quickly upon test completion to a quiet 45C-50C.  All of us here at VTS were happy to see such amazing performance by not one, but realistically two proc’s working in conjunction in such a small space.

Running Furmark for our GPU stress-test, at 1280×720, full screen, with 4x anti-aliasing yielded great results as well, giving us a max FPS of between 5-7 and great thermals, hovering stable at just about 80C sharp, and cooling to under 60C within minutes.  You’d be hard pressed to pull any new laptop from the shelf and get the same performance.

 Final Word:

Looking for a used laptop that gives modern day performance without costing an arm and a leg (and your savings)? Then look no further. Comparable modern laptops with true quad cores (not hyperthreaded i5’s) and dedicated GPU’s can cost $1500+, and they may not even hit the same baselines that this finely aged beauty can reach.  More modernization can be obtained by replacing the HDD with a SSD, giving you lightning fast boot times with the L2 Cache and quick FSB, real time functionality from within the OS, and great multitasking due to allocation of resources with 4 true cores and a beastly GPU.  Other upgrades can be done by increasing the total memory to 8GB with 4GB DIMM’s, and for the advanced user, bringing the memory clocks up through some overclocking, and a clean and optimized OS installation and maintenance.

Even in its current configuration, the 8530 Elitebook delivers a great every-day use experience and is up to almost any task you could send its way. HP sets the standard for long-term market share with clean design and smart engineering with this laptop; And the one thing I am NOT surprised about is that these laptops are still in circulation today.

For Velocity Tech Solutions,
Dan Atchley

Technician and Gaming Enthusiast

 

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