Notebookcheck

Review HP EliteBook 8770w DreamColor Notebook

Tobias Winkler (translated by Vinay Pradhan), 02/17/2013

A Blaze of Colors. This 17-inch HP workstation has some interesting components: the DreamColor display being the most interesting of all. First-class values paired with great color space coverage - a rare combination. We extensively tested the laptop to see if the other hardware components met high standards set by the display.

For the original German review, see here.

The workstation portfolio of Hewlett Packard is extensive. The offering ranges from 15- to 17-inch models (even a few mobile 14-inch models are included). The two smaller workstations, HP EliteBook 8470w and HP EliteBook 8570w, have proven their worth in past reviews. Now, we take a look at the HP EliteBook 8770w. The large top model offers a few unique features: the strongest hardware and most extensive configuration options. The large case offers a lot of space and good cooling. Our test model will have to compete with models from HP and other manufacturers. For example, the Dell Precision M6700, the Fujitsu Celsius H920 and Bullman's E-class are very powerful, 17-inch workstations with many appealing features.

The HP EliteBook 8770W offers 12 different configurations. The prices start at 1,650 Euros (~$2,202) and end at 5,000 Euros (~$6,674). The variety of available components is as large as the price span. A multitude of Intel Core i5 and Intel Core i7 processors cover the CPU section. Four different professional graphic cards and three different displays make up the graphics section. Next, the configuration lists a variety of RAM modules and storage devices. The OS is Windows 7 Professional, as Windows 8 is currently only available here and there.

Our test model uses an Intel Core i7-3610QM CPU, an Nvidia Quadro K4000M graphics card, 8 GB RAM, a 750 GB HDD, 24 GB SLC cache module, Windows 7 Professional and the infamous DreamColor display with RGB LEDs. The price lies at 4,300 Euros (~$5,739).

Case

The heavy case is made of different shades of metal which creates an intriguing green-grey color scheme. The tapered sides give the model a slimmer look. The test model weighs 3.92 kg (according to HP - minimum is 3.47 kg with SSD and empty modules). Combined with the 1 kg power adapter, bag and accessories, the set will weigh up to 6 kg.

The high weight translates to high stability, as the various tests of the MIL-STD810G standard will attest. The entire work area, including the hand-rest regions and the keyboard, is sturdy. Only the area around the "Enter" key is prone to bend a little. The hinges do a good job of keeping the screen in position, while allowing the user to open the laptop with a single hand. The laptop base does not rise when it is opened. The display border can be bent a little, but in comparison to the competition, it is very sturdy.

The bottom of the laptop is a mix of synthetic material and metal. The battery is placed at the rear, secured by a slide mechanism. A second slider unlocks the large bottom flap which hides most of the hardware. Thankfully, the user will not have to remove any screws. The rubber feet are placed directly onto the case.

Connectivity

The connectivity lives up to the high workstation standard: the model includes almost everything a professional user would wish for. Just exotic interfaces, such as Thunderbolt or a 6-pin FireWire interface, are not included. However, the latter can be added by using the ExpressCard slot. External displays can be connected using the DisplayPort or analogue VGA. The rear boasts an opening for an analogue modem and the card reader is accessible at the front.

The number and variety of interfaces is impressive, but their positioning and distribution is not optimal. At the front left side, the most important ports are grouped tightly together. The network, DisplayPort, eSATA, 2 x USB 3.0 and FireWire interfaces will inconvenience users when occupied. On the right side, the VGA is placed in the back, but the standard USB 2.0 port is too far in front. Users who require a lot of peripheral devices in stationary use should consider purchasing a docking port.

Front: Card reader, Display lock mechanism
Front: Card reader, Display lock mechanism
Left: Kensington Lock, LAN, DisplayPort, eSATA/USB 2.0, 2 x USB 3.0, FireWire
Left: Kensington Lock, LAN, DisplayPort, eSATA/USB 2.0, 2 x USB 3.0, FireWire
Back: Modem interface, Power outlet
Back: Modem interface, Power outlet
Right: Audio out/in, 2 x USB 2.0, Optical drive, VGA
Right: Audio out/in, 2 x USB 2.0, Optical drive, VGA

Communication

The EliteBook 8770w is equipped with everything the heart desires. Sadly, the selection is slightly limited for the test model with the DreamColor display - no HSPA  or LTE modem can be combined with our model. The WLAN connectivity is provided by Intel's Centrino Advanced-N 6205 module. This module has two antennas and operates at the 2.4 and 5 GHz frequencies (theoretically up to 300 Mbit/s). Although this module supports Intel's Wireless Display technology, HP does not seem to have activated this function. Bluetooth 4.0, a 720p webcam and Gigabit LAN round off the interesting package.

Security

HP includes an extensive security packet for the EliteBook. Trusted Platform Module 1.2, fingerprint sensor, BIOS password, facial recognition, Smart Card reader and Computrace Anti Theft secure the laptop. These various features are controlled using HP's Security Manager ProtectTools, which can be found in the Control Panel. Additional information about notebook security can be found in our FAQ.

Accessories

As is typical, HP does not include accessories for the EliteBook 8770w. However, the manufacturer does offer a multitude of accessories for the workstation. Various optical drives, hard drives, SSDs and an empty module are offered for the Upgrade Bay. The HP Upgrade module includes a 750 GB hard drive (H2P66AA - 224 Euros, ~$299). A battery can not be installed in the slot like in the Dell Latitude E6530. HP's docking solution is also interesting. The HP Advanced docking station (2 x DVI and 2 x DisplayPort) can run up to 5 displays (AMD Eyefinity). Our test model can control up to 4 displays thanks to the Nvidia Quadro K4000M.

Maintenance

The large maintenance flap uses no screws. Thanks to the slide mechanism, it can easily and quickly be removed. This grants the user access to the most important hardware components. Although the cooler fan is half-covered, it is possible to clean it. The two RAM slots on the bottom are empty and offer room for upgrades. Two additional slots under the keyboard require more effort to find, but are important if the user plans to install more than 16 GB of RAM. Two regular slots and the Upgrade Bay are available for the storage devices. Although the second slot is empty in our test model, we did not receive a disk frame or screws in the delivery.

Warranty

The HP EliteBook 8770w has a 3 year warranty. Various extensions are available: for example, a 3 year "On-Site" service on the next workday worldwide will cost 180 Euros (~$240) in the HP Store.

Input Devices

Keyboard

The keyboard has normal-sized 19 mm keys and offers an additional numeric pad. Four different keys for WLAN, Mute, Browser and Calculator are also included. The cursor keys and the Enter key are a little small and are placed close to each other, leading to mistakes during a heated typing session. The key caption is clearly legible and the keyboard has backlighting.

The key lighting only has two brightness levels. The entire keyboard is seated securely and only gives way around the Enter key. The medium stroke distance combined with the soft, yet precise impact is pleasant. The noise is very conservative and does not distract the user.

Touchpad/ Pointstick

The Synaptics touchpad measures 111 x 51 mm - quite large. It offers sufficient space for the large multi-touch gestures. The standard settings include switching on/off of different gestures. The input surface has great slide properties, but only recognizes taps on the left two-thirds of the touchpad. We could not change this in the settings. The touchpad has the standard 3 keys and the pointstick adds to these with its own. All keys are well-accessible, responsive and offer a nice grip thanks to the rubber coating.

The pointstick
 presents a good alternative to a mouse or touchpad. The orange "stub" is slightly taller than the surrounding keys and the user will not have any trouble using it. The pointstick cannot be used to tap, but it does include keys, which offer similar quality to those of the touchpad.

Keyboard
Keyboard
Pointstick
Pointstick
Touchpad
Touchpad
Numeric pad
Numeric pad
Cursor keys
Cursor keys
Keyboard backlight
Keyboard backlight

Display

EliteBook 8770w with RGB LED display
EliteBook 8770w with RGB LED display

The HP EliteBook 8770w is available with 3 different matte displays. The standard screen has a resolution of 1600x900 pixels (106 dpi) and wide viewing angles. The "normal" Full HD display has 1920x1080 pixels (127 dpi) and also offers wide viewing angles. Both TN panels use backlight, which is made up of white LEDs. The DreamColor display of our test model has the Full HD resolution, an IPS panel and is lit up by RGB LEDs. This ensures great viewing angles and great color spectrum coverage.

The available resolutions are not limited. Standard resolutions, such as 1366x768 or 1600x900 pixels are supported as well as exotic variations like 1152x864 or 1600x1024 pixels.

292
cd/m²
299
cd/m²
286
cd/m²
330
cd/m²
333
cd/m²
326
cd/m²
318
cd/m²
304
cd/m²
324
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
Information
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 333 cd/m²
Average: 312.4 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 86 %
Center on Battery: 333 cd/m²
Black: 0.389 cd/m²
Contrast: 856:1

We measured a maximum brightness of 286 cd/m² (top right) - 333 cd/m² (center) at our nine measurement points. This results in an average of 312 cd/m². The brightness distribution is good: 86%. Single-color content will allow the user to recognize some brightness differences but this hardly affects use. The brightness can be regulated (20 levels). At level 15, the user has 159 cd/m², which will suffice for indoors.

Outdoors, the matte panel, high contrast, high brightness and great viewing angles ensure great legibility. On battery, the entire brightness is available.

The measured contrast of 856:1 grants the display satisfying colors and a deep black. This greatly benefits pictures, videos and games, which look more lifelike on our test model than on standard displays.

Dell Precision M4700 RGB-LED vs. DreamColor (t)
Dell Precision M4700 RGB-LED vs. DreamColor (t)
DreamColor vs. AdobeRGB (t)
DreamColor vs. AdobeRGB (t)
DreamColor AdobeRGB pre-setting vs. AdobeRGB (t)
DreamColor AdobeRGB pre-setting vs. AdobeRGB (t)
DreamColor vs. Wide Gamut (t)
DreamColor vs. Wide Gamut (t)
DreamColor vs. sRGB (t)
DreamColor vs. sRGB (t)
DreamColor sRGB pre-setting vs. sRGB (t)
DreamColor sRGB pre-setting vs. sRGB (t)
Preconfigured color space selection
Preconfigured color space selection

One of the strengths of the DreamColor display is the large color spectrum coverage. sRGB and AdobeRGB color spaces are completely covered. Only the Wide Gamut color space causes the RGB LED display problems and reveals gaps in all areas. At the moment, only RGB LED displays can offer such large coverage (Dell Precisions M6700 or M4700 - display no longer on sale). HP's mobile Display Assistant allows the user to pick out pre-set color spaces as easily as with Dell's Premiercolor tool. AdobeRGB and sRGB are also included in the selection field and will delight photographers and graphic editors. We tested the offered color spaces and detected minor deviations to the norm. Adobe RGB lacks a little of the Green-Blue region and sRGB has gaps in the Orange-Magenta region.

The display earns a great score in the viewing angle test. The user is greeted by very stable viewing angles which only permit minor color and brightness changes. HP keeps its promise and the viewing angles remain great both vertically and horizontally. However, with dark content, the user will be able to recognize (from directly above or below) a violet shade. This is not visible in everyday use and typical seating positions and is thus irrelevant to practical use.

A small flaw of the DreamColor display is found on the top right display edge. Here, a small, blue strip extends (5 mm wide). This is only visible when the display presents bright content. We did not detect any pixel errors or other issues.

Viewing Angles - HP EliteBook 8770w DreamColor
Viewing Angles - HP EliteBook 8770w DreamColor

Performance

The performance of the HP EliteBook 8770w is at the typical workstation level. The CPU is a quad-core Intel Core i7-3610QM, which offers enough performance for many different scenarios. The Intel HD Graphics 4000 IGP (Integrated Graphics Processor) cannot be used. The manufacturer compensates by providing the Nvidia Quadro K4000M-GPU, which has good performance and scores well in all areas.

The RAM amounts to 2 x 4 GB (entry-level), but it can be quickly upgraded to 16 or 24 GB using the two empty slots. The models with the quad-core CPU can support up to 32 GB. The dual-core CPUs are limited to two slots (16 GB). The storage device is a combination of a 750 GB HDD in RAID 0 with an Intel 24 GB cache module. This hardware may appear to be quite meager given the price tag of 4,300 Euros (~$5,739), but as HP asks for an additional 955 Euros (~$1,274) just for the DreamColor display, the price seems to be appropriate.

Systeminfo CPUZ CPU
Systeminfo CPUZ Cache
Systeminfo CPUZ Mainboard
Systeminfo CPUZ RAM
Systeminfo CPUZ RAM SPD
Systeminfo GPUZ
Systeminfo HDTune
DPC Latency Times
System Information - HP EliteBook 8770w DreamColor

Processor

The Intel Core i7-3610QM-CPU is used in different notebook classes and can be described as the "bread and butter" CPU. Hyperthreading and TurboBoost technologies allow the CPU to offer the maximum possible performance at any time. In Cinebench R10 64 bit, the processor scores 5,559 (Single) and 21,357 (Multi) points. Additional numbers can be found in our CPU benchmark list.

In the practical test, the CPU achieves 47.1x speed in the iTunes audio conversion (typical single-thread task). Pure CPU video conversion using Cyberlink MediaEspresso places the Intel Core i7-3610QM near the top of the benchmark list. However, a few faster processors manage to beat it to the throne.

On battery, a 30% performance drop is to be expected. Cinebench R11.5 (Multi) was run by the CPU at 2.3 GHz instead of 3.1 GHz. Thus, the result drops from 6.2 to 4.5 points.

CPU throttling did not crop up even after multiple hours of high load on the CPU and GPU. The CPU ran at a constant 3.1 GHz (multi-core load).

Comparison - iTunes audio conversion.
Comparison - iTunes audio conversion.
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single 32Bit
4420
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
17496
Cinebench R10 Shading 32Bit
6804
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single CPUs 64Bit
5559 Points
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 64Bit
21357 Points
Cinebench R10 Shading 64Bit
6803 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
1.36 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
6.2 Points
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
70.87 fps
Help

System Performance

The system performance takes all hardware into account. This section reveals that the workstation is very balanced. Only the storage devices, despite the Intel cache module, slow down the system slightly. The cache module enables quicker start of programs and the OS, thus making the daily work more fluid. Of course, this module cannot hope to reach the speeds of a full-sized SSD, but it serves as a slower alternative. PC Mark Vantage records 11,265 points on the HP EliteBook 8770w, while PC Mark 7 offers 4,360 points. These are very good results and indicate no limitations while using any program.

5.9
Windows 7 Experience Index
Processor
Calculations per second
7.6
Memory (RAM)
Memory operations per second
7.6
Graphics
Desktop performance for Windows Aero
7.6
Gaming graphics
3D business and gaming graphics
7.6
Primary hard disk
Disk data transfer rate
5.9
PC Mark
PCMark Vantage11265 points
PCMark 74360 points
Help

Storage Solution

HP offers a variety of possible combinations of storage devices for the EliteBook 8770w. Theoretically, up to four drives can be installed as the laptop has an mSATA slot, two regular slots and the modular slot. We have a regular 750 GB hard drive from Seagate in the test model. The HDD operates at 7200 rpm and is combined with an Intel SSD cache module. This duo is set in the RAID 0 connection. The cache memory is made of single-level chips and can be found in the mSATA slot.

The test results are sobering. The maximum transfer rate of 116 MB/s and an access time of 15 ms is only a good result when compared to traditional HDDs. However, the programs and the OS start faster. Other supported RAID configurations (depending on the number of drives) are RAID 1 and RAID 5 (minimum of 3 drives required). The combination of an SSD (for OS and programs) and the traditional HDD (for data storage) is possible with the EliteBook 8770w thanks to the two regular drive slots.

Seagate Momentus 7200.5 ST9750420AS
Transfer Rate Minimum: 61.3 MB/s
Transfer Rate Maximum: 116.6 MB/s
Transfer Rate Average: 92.8 MB/s
Access Time: 15.3 ms
Burst Rate: 51.5 MB/s
CPU Usage: 1 %

Graphics Card

The professional Nvidia Quadro K4000M GPU is one of the most powerful graphics processors available for professionals. It is only topped by the Nvidia Quadro K5000M. The GPU has a 256 bit memory interface, 4 GB of dedicated GDDR5 graphics memory and operates at 600 MHz. In comparison to consumer graphic cards, the GPU offers performance at the level of an Nvidia GeForce GTX 670MX. The Intel HD Graphics 4000 IGP of the processor is not used. This means that the user cannot make use of features like Intel's Quick Sync technology for conversion. Additional information about the IGP can be found here.

The traditional graphic benchmarks like 3D Mark Vantage, 3D Mark 11 and Cinebench 11.5 OpenGL Shading deliver 15,362, 3,673 and 70.87 points. These are high results and indicate high performance for regular 3D tasks.

3D Mark
3DMark 06
 1280x1024
20518 points
3DMark Vantage15362 points
3DMark 113673 points
3DMark Ice Storm94195 points
3DMark Cloud Gate12751 points
3DMark Fire Strike2192 points
Help
Test results with updated Quadro driver.
Test results with updated Quadro driver.

The strength of the Quadro GPUs is the special BIOS and the Quadro graphics driver, which is optimized for professional applications. This allows the GPU to score high scores with professional applications, especially CAD programs, unlike conventional GPUs of the GeForce series. A strong competitor of the Quadro GPUs is the AMD FirePro series which have the same purpose. We used the SPECViewperf.11 benchmark to record the performance of the professional GPUs. This benchmark runs a selection of CAD programs in different modes at a resolution of 1920x1080 pixels. Although the Quadro K4000M has higher performance on paper, there are few sections of the benchmark where it could show it. For Lightwave, Maya and Solidworks especially, the supposedly weaker AMD FirePro M6000 is a better choice.

The results (especially in the professional tests) depend heavily on the driver used. A new driver can change the score considerably. We used the standard graphics driver installed by the manufacturer and the latest update of November 2012 (306.96) posted by HP. The SPECViewPerf.11 results are nigh identical. With Lightwave  and Siemens NX,  small improvements are noticeable, but the Pro Engineer ends slightly lower.

SPECviewperf 11
1920x1080 Catia AA:0x AF:0x (sort by value)
HP EliteBook 8770w DreamColor
45.63 fps ∼66%
Fujitsu Celsius H920
40.65 fps ∼59% -11%
HP EliteBook 8570w B9D05AW-ABD
22.79 fps ∼33% -50%
Dell Precision M6700
14.86 fps ∼21% -67%
HP EliteBook 8470w B5W63AW-ABD
14.62 fps ∼21% -68%
Lenovo ThinkPad W530-N1K43GE
33.53 fps ∼48% -27%
1920x1080 Ensight AA:0x AF:0x (sort by value)
HP EliteBook 8770w DreamColor
40.54 fps ∼50%
Fujitsu Celsius H920
24.33 fps ∼30% -40%
HP EliteBook 8570w B9D05AW-ABD
13.77 fps ∼17% -66%
Dell Precision M6700
24.98 fps ∼31% -38%
HP EliteBook 8470w B5W63AW-ABD
12.23 fps ∼15% -70%
Lenovo ThinkPad W530-N1K43GE
18.21 fps ∼23% -55%
1920x1080 Lightwave AA:0x AF:0x (sort by value)
HP EliteBook 8770w DreamColor
42.84 fps ∼53%
Fujitsu Celsius H920
48.11 fps ∼60% +12%
HP EliteBook 8570w B9D05AW-ABD
41.3 fps ∼51% -4%
Dell Precision M6700
44 fps ∼55% +3%
HP EliteBook 8470w B5W63AW-ABD
42.25 fps ∼52% -1%
Lenovo ThinkPad W530-N1K43GE
45.69 fps ∼57% +7%
1920x1080 Maya AA:0x AF:0x (sort by value)
HP EliteBook 8770w DreamColor
51.35 fps ∼46%
Fujitsu Celsius H920
50.82 fps ∼45% -1%
HP EliteBook 8570w B9D05AW-ABD
37.39 fps ∼33% -27%
Dell Precision M6700
51.34 fps ∼46% 0%
HP EliteBook 8470w B5W63AW-ABD
36.89 fps ∼33% -28%
Lenovo ThinkPad W530-N1K43GE
46.94 fps ∼42% -9%
1920x1080 Pro/ENGINEER AA:0x AF:0x (sort by value)
HP EliteBook 8770w DreamColor
12.23 fps ∼64%
Fujitsu Celsius H920
15.32 fps ∼81% +25%
HP EliteBook 8570w B9D05AW-ABD
10.36 fps ∼55% -15%
Dell Precision M6700
2.62 fps ∼14% -79%
HP EliteBook 8470w B5W63AW-ABD
4.83 fps ∼25% -61%
Lenovo ThinkPad W530-N1K43GE
14.98 fps ∼79% +22%
1920x1080 SolidWorks AA:0x AF:0x (sort by value)
HP EliteBook 8770w DreamColor
39.66 fps ∼61%
Fujitsu Celsius H920
40.03 fps ∼62% +1%
HP EliteBook 8570w B9D05AW-ABD
28.89 fps ∼45% -27%
Dell Precision M6700
43.13 fps ∼67% +9%
HP EliteBook 8470w B5W63AW-ABD
33.19 fps ∼51% -16%
Lenovo ThinkPad W530-N1K43GE
35.59 fps ∼55% -10%
1920x1080 Tcvis AA:0x AF:0x (sort by value)
HP EliteBook 8770w DreamColor
40.33 fps ∼68%
Fujitsu Celsius H920
35.47 fps ∼59% -12%
HP EliteBook 8570w B9D05AW-ABD
21.17 fps ∼35% -48%
Dell Precision M6700
9.24 fps ∼15% -77%
HP EliteBook 8470w B5W63AW-ABD
10.99 fps ∼18% -73%
Lenovo ThinkPad W530-N1K43GE
29.26 fps ∼49% -27%
1920x1080 Siemens NX AA:0x AF:0x (sort by value)
HP EliteBook 8770w DreamColor
34.67 fps ∼55%
Fujitsu Celsius H920
31.44 fps ∼50% -9%
HP EliteBook 8570w B9D05AW-ABD
18.34 fps ∼29% -47%
Dell Precision M6700
25.38 fps ∼40% -27%
HP EliteBook 8470w B5W63AW-ABD
14.19 fps ∼22% -59%
Lenovo ThinkPad W530-N1K43GE
24.67 fps ∼39% -29%

Legend

 
HP EliteBook 8770w DreamColor Intel Core i7-3610QM, NVIDIA Quadro K4000M, Seagate Momentus 7200.5 ST9750420AS
 
Fujitsu Celsius H920 Intel Core i7-3720QM, NVIDIA Quadro K3000M, Micron RealSSD C400-MTFDDAC256MAM
 
HP EliteBook 8570w B9D05AW-ABD Intel Core i5-3360M, NVIDIA Quadro K1000M, Hitachi Travelstar 7K500 HTS727550A9E
 
Dell Precision M6700 Intel Core i7-3920XM, AMD FirePro M6000, Samsung SSD PM830 (512 GB)
 
HP EliteBook 8470w B5W63AW-ABD Intel Core i5-3360M, AMD FirePro M2000, Hitachi Travelstar 7K500 HTS727550A9E
 
Lenovo ThinkPad W530-N1K43GE Intel Core i7-3820QM, NVIDIA Quadro K2000M, Hitachi Travelstar Z7K500 HTS725050A7E630
LuxMark v2.0 64Bit
Sala Scene, OpenCL GPUs-only (sort by value)
HP EliteBook 8770w DreamColor
221 Samples/s ∼9%
Schenker XMG P502
1218 Samples/s ∼49% +451%
Toshiba Satellite L875D-10E
274 Samples/s ∼11% +24%
Room Scene, OpenCL GPUs-only (sort by value)
HP EliteBook 8770w DreamColor
101 Samples/s ∼7%
Schenker XMG P502
698 Samples/s ∼46% +591%
Toshiba Satellite L875D-10E
116 Samples/s ∼8% +15%

Legend

 
HP EliteBook 8770w DreamColor Intel Core i7-3610QM, NVIDIA Quadro K4000M, Seagate Momentus 7200.5 ST9750420AS
 
Schenker XMG P502 Intel Core i7-3610QM, AMD Radeon HD 7970M,
 
Toshiba Satellite L875D-10E AMD A8-4500M, AMD Radeon HD 7640G + HD 7610M Dual Graphics, Hitachi Travelstar 5K750 HTS547575A9E384

We use the Luxmark 2.0 benchmark to check the OpenCL performance. The benchmark checks the ray tracing properties of the GPU (light/shadow processing of 3D objects). In the Sala test, we record 221 points and 101 points in the Room test. It is quite hard to place the GPU on a ranking list as we currently have few results for comparison. Still, in comparison to an AMD GPU, a significantly weaker ray tracing performance is noticeable.

An additional use of the GPU is the video conversion using the CUDA engine. For this test, we will employ the media converter, MediaEspresso from Cyberlink. Our two test videos were processed relatively quickly with a CPU load of 12-16%: 98 and 134 seconds. Thanks to the transfer of the processing to the GPU, the system has enough processing power left over for other tasks.

On battery, the performance is reduced by around 40%. The GPU runs at a much lower 270 MHz. In Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL Shading, the laptop scores 42 instead of 70 points.

Comparison - video conversion
Comparison - video conversion

Gaming Performance

The gaming performance of the Quadro GPU is similar to that of equivalent GeForce GPUs. We did not notice any performance drops, graphic errors or other issues using the special Quadro driver. All-in-all, the performance is enough for high to max settings, which allows the user to enjoy a full gaming experience. Only in Total War: Shogun 2, Anno 2070 and Battlefield 3 does the workstation struggle with the FullHD resolution and max settings.

low med.high ultra
World of Warcraft (2005) 10210598fps
Half Life 2 - Lost Coast Benchmark (2005) 233fps
Anno 1404 (2009) 24792fps
StarCraft 2 (2010) 2481156948fps
Total War: Shogun 2 (2011) 2287124fps
Battlefield 3 (2011) 98725124fps
Anno 2070 (2011) 181905429fps
Diablo III (2012) 24718315883fps
Dirt Showdown (2012) 89817834fps
Torchlight 2 (2012) 989386fps
World of Tanks v8 (2012) 102736236fps
Dead Space 3 (2013) 3371299857fps

Emissions

Noise Emissions

While idle, the noise emissions are dominated by the HDD: relatively loud at 32.7 dB(A). However, the HDD is only audible when the user switches off the "Fan always on" option in the BIOS. Otherwise, the cooling system drones out the storage device with its constant 34.4 dB(A) (even the HDD clatters during data access - 33.5 dB(A)).

At medium load, the emissions rise to 40.9 dB(A) and at full load, the user has to bear an annoying 50.6 dB(A). At this level, the workstation is fully occupied and cannot be used for any other task. In everyday life, full load like this (we used Furmark and Prime95 simultaneously) is hard to find. While running SPECViewperf.11, we recorded 41.2 dB(A) and during the CUDA video conversion, the emissions were a comfortable 37.9 dB(A). High-frequency noises or an uncomfortable fan operation were not issues which popped up in our test.

Noise Level

Idle 32.7 / 32.7 / 32.7 dB(A)
HDD 33.5 dB(A)
DVD 36.4 / dB(A)
Load 40.9 / 50.6 dB(A)
 
    30 dB
silent
40 dB
audible
50 dB
loud
 
min: , med: , max:    Voltcraft sl-320 (15 cm distance)

Temperatures

HP keeps the surface temperatures under grip. Even at full load, we did not measure more than 45.1 °C on the bottom. This would not be comfortable for use on the lap, but that is not a desired operating mode for the 8770w. However, on the table, this is an acceptable temperature level and indicates a well-working cooling system. The HP EliteBook 8770w uses a single fan, unlike the Dell Precision M6700. We did not notice any negative aspects of this choice. The hand-rest regions stay under 30 °C - comfortably cool. None of the other work areas reach high temperatures. At low load, the temperature emissions range from 30 to 34.2 °C. If the "Fan always on" option is turned on, the system stays at 25 - 29.3 °C. The interior of the laptop does not hit any critical levels. Throttling? None.

Max. Load
 42 °C39.6 °C33.1 °C 
 36.6 °C36.8 °C33 °C 
 28.8 °C28.2 °C29.5 °C 
Maximum: 42 °C
Average: 34.2 °C
31.6 °C45.1 °C43.6 °C
31 °C42 °C37.5 °C
30.5 °C33 °C33.6 °C
Maximum: 45.1 °C
Average: 36.4 °C
Power Supply (max.)  45.1 °C | Room Temperature 23 °C | Voltcraft IR-360

Speakers

The sound output is dominated by high notes and offers few middle notes and little bass. A small presentation is possible with these speakers, but we recommend the use of external speakers as these will provide much better sound.

Energy Management

Power Consumption

The power consumption is a minimum of 24.7 W - a large disadvantage of the HP EliteBook 8770w. As only the Nvidia Quadro K4000M can be used, there is no way to lower the idle or low load power consumption (by using the Intel HD Graphics 4000 and turning the dedicated GPU off). The power consumption rises up to 40.7 - 149 W (max) depending on the load and power profile. The display brightness itself contributes 10 W (difference between minimum and max brightness). CUDA video conversion requires around 83 W. The power adapter has a 230 W rating and we did not notice throttling of the power adapter.

Power Consumption

Off / Standby 0.2 / 0.4 Watt
Idle 24.7 / 38.7 / 40.7 Watt
Load 103.8 / 149.3 Watt
 
Key: min: , med: , max:         Voltcraft VC 940

Battery Life

Readers Test
Maximum battery life (Readers Test)
Classic Test
Minimum run time (Classic Test)

The 75 Wh battery offers standard capacity for a business notebook. However, this will not suffice for the power-hungry workstation and results in short runtimes. The battery life would have been far shorter had the performance not been reduced on battery mode. Theoretically, a max of 3 hours and a minimum of 30 minutes would be possible.

The actual results reached by Battery Eater Reader's test ("Power Saver" profile), minimum brightness, modules off) are 4 hours and the Battery Eater Classic test ("High Performance" mode, max brightness, everything on) records 1:30 hours. The realistic WLAN test (159 cd/m², "Power Saver" profile, wireless modules on) and DVD playback test (max brightness, wireless modules off, "Power Saver" profile) record around 2 hours of battery use.

The battery life can be extended a little, by purchasing a stronger 83 or 100 Wh battery from HP. Together with the standard battery this will extend the run time to 4 - 5 hours.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
3h 45min
WiFi Surfing
2h 15min
DVD
1h 55min
Blu-ray
1h 42min
Load (maximum brightness)
1h 28min

Verdict

HP EliteBook 8770w with DreamColor display.
HP EliteBook 8770w with DreamColor display.

The HP EliteBook 8770w impresses us in all workstation ratings. CPU and GPU performance are top class and will suffice for almost any possible scenario.

The connectivity is extensive and offers a flexible use of the interfaces. The positioning of the ports is not so good, as most of the important interfaces are placed up front, right in the middle of the work area.

The possible upgrades are many. The bottom flap does not use screws and is easy to remove. Once removed, it grants the user access to a variety of empty slots which can be used to upgrade the workstation in many ways.

The undisputed highlight of this workstation is the DreamColor display. Except for the tiny blue strip at a remote location, we have nothing to complain about. The color space coverage, contrast, brightness and viewing angles of our test model are hard to beat.

In short, the HP EliteBook 8770w offers high performance and connectivity, but the user has to accept severely limited mobility. The battery life is around the 2 hour mark and the relatively high weight and case size further limit mobility. Noise emissions of a high-performance workstation, such as this one, are expected to be quite high. However, our test model operates at an unnecessarily high level, which can be changed in the BIOS.

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In Review: HP EliteBook 8770w DreamColor, provided by:
In Review:  HP EliteBook 8770w DreamColor

Specifications

HP EliteBook 8770w DreamColor

:: Processor
:: Mainboard
Intel QM77 (Panther Point)
:: Memory
8192 MB, Elpida DDR3-1600, 2x 4GB, 2 free slots
:: Graphics adapter
NVIDIA Quadro K4000M - 4096 MB, Core: 601 MHz, Memory: 700 MHz, GDDR5, 8.17.12.9703 - nVIDIA ForceWare 297.03
:: Display
17.3 inch 16:9, 1920x1080 pixel, LGD02FC, IPS, DreamColor RGB-LED, 100% AdobeRGB, glossy: no
:: Harddisk
Seagate Momentus 7200.5 ST9750420AS, 750 GB 7200 rpm INTEL SSDMAEXC024G3H 24 GB SLC Cache-Modul
:: Soundcard
Intel Panther Point PCH - High Definition Audio Controller
:: Connections
1 Express Card 54mm, 3 USB 2.0, 2 USB 3.0, 1 Firewire, 1 VGA, 1 DisplayPort, 1 Kensington Lock, 1 eSata, 1 Docking Station Port, Audio Connections: separate audio in/out, Card Reader: SD, SDHC, SDXC, MMC, MMC+, 1 SmartCard, 1 Fingerprint Reader,
:: Networking
Intel 82579LM Gigabit Network Connection (10/100/1000MBit), Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6205 (a b g n ), Broadcom 4.0 Bluetooth
:: Optical drive
HP BD CMB UJ160
:: Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 46 x 420 x 275
:: Weight
3.92 kg Power Supply: 0.99 kg
:: Battery
75 Wh Lithium-Ion, 14.4V, 5050 mAh
:: Price
4300 Euro
:: Operating System
Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64 Bit
:: Additional features
Webcam: 720p, Speakers: 2 Front, Keyboard: Full-sized spill-resistant keyboard with numeric keypad, Keyboard Light: yes, 36 Months Warranty, MIL-STD-810, ISV certified

 

[+] compare
The HP EliteBook 8770w is a high performance workstation.
The HP EliteBook 8770w is high performance workstation.
A ramshorn hook secures the panel to the base.
A ramshorn hook secures the panel to the base.
The keyboard is very good and will please typists.
The keyboard is very good and will please typists.
The bottom flap is secured without screws and grants access to the important hardware components.
The bottom flap is secured without screws and grants access to the important hardware components.
A 75 Wh battery runs the laptop.
A 75 Wh battery runs the laptop.
Due to the relatively low capacity and high power consumption, the battery life is short.
Due to the relatively low capacity and high power consumption, the battery life is short.
A WWAN module cannot be combined with the DreamColor display.
A WWAN module cannot be combined with the DreamColor display.
Two RAM slots on the bottom are free.
Two RAM slots on the bottom are free.
A drive slot is also free.
A drive slot is also free.
The Intel cache module and the storage drive ensure good reaction times.
The Intel cache module and the storage drive offer good reaction times.
The cooler fan is very efficient.
The cooler fan is very efficient.
A speaker placed on the front serves for basic playback.
A speaker placed on the front serves for basic playback.
A full-sized free slot.
A full-size free slot.
The battery slot hides the SIM slot which cannot be used in our test model.
The battery slot hides the SIM slot which cannot be used in our test model.
The power adapter is large and heavy ...
The power adapter is large and heavy ...
... and has a power output of 230 W.
... and has a power output of 230 W.
The DreamColor display uses RGB LEDs and covers a large color spectrum.
The DreamColor display uses RGB LEDs and covers a large color spectrum.
A 720p webcam graces the laptop.
A 720p webcam graces the laptop.
The optical drive is modular and can be swapped out for a different drive.
The optical drive is modular and can be swapped out for a different drive.
The large 17-inch case offers sufficient space for hardware and a powerful cooling system.
The large 17-inch case offers sufficient space for hardware and a powerful cooling system.
The case is very sturdy and passes various tests of the US military standard Mil-STD-810G.
The case is very sturdy and passes various tests of the US military standard Mil-STD-810G.
The weight of 4 kg makes the test model best-suited for stationary use.
The weight of 4 kg makes the test model best-suited for stationary use.
The materials used are high-quality, sturdy and stylish.
The materials used are high-quality, sturdy and stylish.
The workmanship is flawless.
The workmanship is flawless.
A brushed, metallic finish ensures appeal for professionals.
The metallic finish in the brushed look will appeal to professionals.
Ports are positioned too far in front and, if multiple interfaces are in use simultaneously, they can block the neighboring ports off.
Ports are positioned too far in front and, if multiple interfaces are in use simultaneously, they can block the neighboring ports off.
The ventilation opening is very large and, coupled with the fan, provides good cooling for the laptop.
The ventilation opening is very large and, coupled with the fan, provides good cooling for the laptop.
A well-placed card reader.
The card reader is accessible.
The massive display lock mechanism works well.
A massive display lock mechanism serves its purpose well.
43.6 °C - the max temperature reached at the ventilation opening.
43.6 °C - the max temperature reached at the ventilation opening.
The tightly grouped interfaces can block each other when in use.
The interfaces are tightly grouped and can block each other when in use.
Placing the power outlet on the back is a good decision.
Placing the power outlet on the back is a good decision.
The stiff cable can limit the movement of the workstation.
The stiff cable can limit the movement of the workstation.
Our test model lacks a modem but one can be added.
Our test model lacks a modem but one can be added.
The VGA interface is placed far back on the right side.
The VGA interface is placed far back on the right side.
USB 2.0 and audio jacks are found further up front.
USB 2.0 and audio jacks are found further up front.

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Links

Price Comparison

Amazon.com

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Pro

+Great display
+Good performance
+Nice graphics performance
+Fine workmanship
+Extensive connectivity
+Room for upgrades
+Optional accessories
+Long warranty
 

Cons

-Poor positioning of the interfaces
-High noise emissions
-Low mobility

Shortcut

What we like

The powerful workstation with the DreamColor display, which is very good in all areas.

What we miss

A quieter storage device and a display free of issues.

What surprises us

Few manufacturers offer RGB LED displays with IPS technology for their notebooks.

The competition

Dell Precision M6700, Fujitsu Celsius H920 and the Clevo derivatives, like Bullman E-class with Nvidia Quadro GPU. Depending on the required performance, the 15-inch workstation may also be a valid choice: Dell Precision M4700, Fujitsu Celsius H720, Lenovo ThinkPad W530, HP EliteBook 8570w or MSI GT60WS.

Rating

HP EliteBook 8770w DreamColor
02/09/2013 v3
Tobias Winkler

Chassis
91%
Keyboard
92%
Pointing Device
86%
Connectivity
85%
Weight
58%
Battery
73%
Display
92%
Games Performance
92%
Application Performance
94%
Temperature
83%
Noise
77%
Add Points
91%
Average
85%
88%
Workstation *
Weighted Average

> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > Review HP EliteBook 8770w DreamColor Notebook
Author: Tobias Winkler, 2013-02-17 (Update: 2013-06- 6)