HP Pavilion dv9074ea – The review…

Written by AboKevin on . Posted in HP dv9074ea, Personal

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I bought myself a new notebook computer the other day. I had been pondering what to buy for quite a while. What I wanted was a notebook that could be a desktop replacement, although still being ‘light’ enough to carry around for shorter business trips. It should also have the computing power to run mainstream games, videoediting software and maintain my digital music collection. Of course the machine should also be capable of running Windows Vista…

I looked at products from Dell, Asus and Acer as well, but it was the HP dv9074ea that I decided for. To me the specs looked to be the perfect blend of computer power and price.

Specifications

  •  Processor: AMD 64 x 2 (Dual Core) TL 56
  • Bus: Max 1600MHz in AC/DC 35 Watt
  • Cache: L2-cache  x 512kB
  • Memory: 1024 MB DDR2 SDRAM (667 Mhz) (2 x 512 MB)
  • GPU: Nvidia Go7600 Graphics Card with 256 MB RAM
  • Hard discs:2 x 80 GB (5400RPM)
  • Optical drive: Lightscribe Super Multi DVD (+/- R +/- RW)
  • Memory card reader: 5 in 1 Card Reader
  • Screen: 17’’ WXGA+ High Definition  (1440-900)
  • Speakers: Altec Lansing speakers
  • Webcam: Built in 1.3 MB Web Camera w/microphone
  • Networking: 802.11 a/b/g, Bluetooth, 10/100 LAN Ethernet.
  • Ports: 4 USB 2.0, Firewire, 1 VGA, 1 RJ11, 1 RJ45, S-video TV-out, Infrared, 2 speaker jacks (1 SPDIF),1 microphone
  • Expansioncard: Expresscard/54
  • Weight: 3.6 kg
  • Extras: Remote control
  • OS: Windows XP Home Edition

I have configured the machine with 3 partitions on the first hard drive; C: Win XP Home (33 GB), D: Windows Vista RC 1 (33 GB), F: Backup/Quick Restore partition (8 GB). The second hard drive is dedicated for My Documents.

Out of the box

First impressions when unpacking the box is of a very stylish and sleek machine. The lid is held in a shiny black color with a very distinctive pattern embedded in it. The pattern is repeated on the silver colored ‘inside’ of the machine. Very nice first impressions. I actually think my wife is going to like this one (!).

Here you can see the exterior with the distinctive stylish pattern

The pattern repeats itself in the silver colored interior.

It is quite big, but hey – I like it 🙂

A full size keyboard with a numeric pad. 

In the upper right of the picture you can see the webcam.

Right side view: Power, 2 USB 2.0, Expresscard and Optical drive

Front side view: Wireless on/off switch, Microphone and 2 speaker plugs.

Left side view: TV out, Monitor, Expansion port, RJ11, RJ45,  2 USB 2.0, Firewire and 5in1 Card Reader

Rear side view: No ports! Only the vent for the fan. Great!

The shiny, cool looking surfaces have a downside though; Just by touching it you get smudgemarks all over. HP is obviously aware of this, since they have supplied a small felt-cloth for cleaning the surfaces.

The machine is quite big, with a full size keyboard with a numeric pad. The Altec Lansing speakers are placed above the keyboard, and all ports are either on the left, right or front. There are no ports on the rear of the machine. I am not sure whether everyone will like this, but I think it is great.

The second thing I noticed was the weight. Or rather – the lack of it. I have been dragging around on a DELL Inspiron 9100 from my workplace, and compared to that one the HP is ‘light’. I will have no problem dragging this machine around, that’s for sure.

After having set up the machine, installed some of my need to have applications and some benchmarking tools I still have a very good feeling about this machine. It is fast, responsive and although I have seen some posts in some user forums complain about the screen, I am quite satisfied with it. The only nag I have with the screen, is the fact that I have either a dead or a ‘sleeping’ pixel in the upper right half of it. I have tried ‘massaging’ it, but to no help.

Performance

Well, lets get down to the numbers; How did the machine perform in the benchmarks?

I have compared my results with some results found in the Norwegian internetsite dinside.no/data’s reviews of some notebook computers;  

Toshiba Qosmio G30 (27000 kr – $ 4090)

Elitegroup G610 (9995 kr – $ 1515)

Acer 5671AWLMi (9995 kr – $ 1515)

HP dv9074ea (10950 kr – $ 1660)

3DMark03

(Higher is better)

Toshiba Qosmio G30: 9298

HP dv9074ea: 8265

Elitegroup G610: 3448

Acer 5671AWLMi: 4725

A pretty decent result. My desktop, a Fujitsu Siemens P4 3,2 GHz with a ATI RADEON 9800 Pro card only gets around 5500!

3DMark05

(Higher is better)

Toshiba Qosmio G30: 4046

HP dv9074ea: 3584

Elitegroup G610: 1646

Acer 5671AWLMi: 2758

This test also show that the HP is a decent enough machine for games and multimedia.

PCMark04

(Higher is better)

Toshiba Qosmio G30: 5896

Acer 5671AWLMI: 4877

HP dv9074ea: 4776

Elitegroup G610: 4721

To sum it all up, the HP performs well, rather very well, and holds all the computer power I need for my computing experience. The Toshiba Qosmio obviously comes out on top, but given the fact that it costs triple the price of my computer, I would not expect anything less. I tried running PCMark05, but had problems with one of the system suit tests that would not run due to some installed videocodecs. If I can sort out that problem i will update this review later.

Battery life

It is quite obvious that all this computing power demands electrical power, and so far the weakest link in this machine is the battery. I have not yet conducted a formal test with a benchmarking tool. But after adjusting the power configuration for maximum battery life and turning off the wireless antennae’s I am already down to 28 % after roughly an hour. Admittedly, I have run some CPU intensive task during this hour, but this is not good enough. Looks like I have to purchase an additional longer life battery (if available). Normally it should not be a problem for me, as I am using either at home or at work, connected to the powergrid. But I do occasionally travel on business and would have been nice to watch a DVD, or do some work while in the air, or on the train. But, not yet obviously.

This might be a good thing – the machine runs very hot (it has an AMD processor), so keeping it on my lap for a longer time would be uncomfortable. Bearable, but… 🙂

Games?

First a disclaimer; I am no hard core gamer. I do play a computer game occasionally, but not regularly. I still find spider solitaire a welcome respite for a few minutes. That said I like to (when I play) play Call of Duty, Battlefield 2, Far Cry and similar games. So I installed Battlefield 2, Far Cry and MS Flight Simulator X, to try them out on this machine.

My impressions after having run the games a couple of times? They run just great. And contrary to some bloggers out there I think the screen performs great. I like the bright colors it displays, and yes there are some minor lagging, but it doesn’t pose a problem for me. So for my gaming needs this is more than enough – and then some… 🙂

Conclusion

The HP dv9074ea entertainment notebook is exactly that. It is as far as I am concerned excellent value for your (in this case mine) money. I have no problems with recommending this machine for someone looking for good desktop replacement that won’t cost an arm and a leg.

It performs quite well and should cover your computing needs for the foreseeable future. Higly recommended!

9/10

PS. I will do a follow up after I have spent some more time on the machine. The tests I have run so far are all synthetic, and I want to see what I think after actually having used the machine for some days. So stay tuned…

The pictures are all (c) HP 2006.

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