Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Good news and bad news on the laptop front

So, about a week ago I wrote that due to a customer service issue with my last laptop repair; I would be getting a new laptop from HP.

Unfortunately this has taken some time (4 weeks since I first raised the issue); because there is a legal consideration involved (no big deal, but you know lawyers). I don't fault HP for going slow here, because they needed lawyers and execs etc... to agree to stuff; but it was dragging on some.


Good news and bad news.

So, the good news is, my new laptop was finally ordered for me this morning.

The bad news, is that it isn't the one I thought I was going to get, and preferred: The EliteBook 8730

Apparently, my case is being handled by the small and home office division, and the EliteBook is handled by the enterprise division; and for some reason the two customer service organizations can't order replacement equipment from each others catalogs (I know we had the same problem that horrible six months I worked at Dell in Ireland. Corporate bureaucracy is what it is).

However, there is more good news related to that.

Since they are the small or home office division, I can get any laptop I want within that division, so long as it is the updated equivalent to what is being replaced, or one degree better.

Now the laptop being replaced was their former top of the line 17" media notebook, with a 2ghz dual core processor, 4 gigs of ddr2, Nvidia 8600m GT discrete graphics with 512m of gddr2 video ram, a blu-ray reader witth dual lay lightscribe DVD burner, a 320gb 5400 rpm hard drive, an express card TV tuner, and discrete wireless g.

As it happens, their top end 17" notebook no longer has Nvidia discrete graphics (they swiotched to Intel), a discrete wireless chipset, or a TV tuner; so instead, I'm getting this:

If by any chance you're thinking "My god, that looks like a HUGE laptop", or "That's not a laptop, that's 'the thing that ate Cleveland", that's because it is in fact a ginormous laptop.

Specifically, it's the newly updated HP Pavillion HDX 18t premium series media laptop.

The most salient point there is the 18.4" 1920x1080 edge to edge glass fronted screen; along with which comes a full size keyboard, dual hard drive bays, every connector on the planet, and a just under 9lb weight.

... which is pretty hefty, but considering the size of the thing, isn't bad.

Did I mention lots of ports?

So that's 4 usb ports total (two on each side), one of which is shared with an eSata port; a firewire port; vga, hdmi/dvi, and docking station ports; a gigabit ethernet port; an express card slot with a portable multimedia remote control inside it, to control the integrated HDTV tuner, whose antenna port is on the right side, along with two headphone jacks and a mic jack. Oh and theres a media card reader on the front.

That's a lot of connectivity.

Ok so the exact specs of what I'm getting are as follows:
  • Processor: Core 2 duo T9550 (2.66ghz, 6mb cache)

  • Memory: 4gb DDR3

  • Video card: Nvidia GT130m with 1gb GDDR3

  • Screen: 1920x1080 true 16:9 (most laptops are 16:10)

  • Hard drive: 320gb 7200 rpm in bay one (there is a second HDD bay available)

  • Optical drive: SuperMulti BluRay burner

  • Networking: Intel discrete 802.11 A/B/G/N with bluetooth

  • Battery: 8 cell, approximately 2:45 minute to 3:15 life under normal use, 2 hours to 2:15 with BluRay or under heavy use (According to reviews)

  • Other features: Web cam, stereo mikes, card reader, integrated HDTV tuner, two remotes (one in the card slot, one for desktop use)
I'm also getting a spare battery, two spare AC adapters, and a new docking station; to replace the accessories I had for my old laptop, which are now no longer of any use to me.

Oh and to top it all off, a free upgrade to a 3 year hp total care onsite service; and three year accident damage or theft replacement warranty. Basically thats full replacement, at my home (no shipping it off somewhere), no questions asked full hardware replacement.

So although I'm not thrilled it took us a month to get there, I am entirely satisfied by HPs solution to the problem.

This thing is going to be interesting to benchmark; especially since the Nvidia GT130 is entirely new (though its similar to the 9650M GT it replaced), and it has 1gb of GDDR3 video ram, and 4gigs of DDR3 ram...

Hell, it's specced higher than most of the desktops I own (none of which are on DDR3 yet and only two of which are faster than 2.66ghz, and that's only because they're both overclocked).

At 8.8lbs, it's actually only about a pound heavier than my current 17"; which again given the increase in screen area (130sq in vs. 144sq in) is not bad... but it's still damn huge, at almost 11.5" x 17.5".

Oh and there is one other bit of bad news.

Because it's a newly updated model and is only manufactured and distributed out of one location; the thing wont ship until the 19th, but they will fedex it overnight.

So in 9-12 days (it may miss the overnight deadline on Thursday the 19th, and I don't think they'll spring for Saturday delivery), I'll have a new... (seems silly calling something that big a laptop doesn't it?) machine to play with.

In the mean time, I'm going to see if I can get the old box being replaced to load the newest iDeneb hackintosh release.