Introducing the HP EliteBook 8760w

Just over ten months ago, we had a chance to take a look at a very big, reasonably impressive mobile workstation: HP's EliteBook 8740w. It sported HP's DreamColor IPS screen at a glorious 1920x1200 resolution and had fairly beefy hardware under the hood, including the at-the-time fastest mobile workstation GPU, the NVIDIA Quadro 5000M. But since HP unveiled the dramatic redesign of their enterprise notebooks earlier this year, we've been anxiously anticipating the 8740w's refresh. Today we have it, specced to kill with a shiny new DreamColor IPS screen, Sandy Bridge quad-core processor, and an even faster NVIDIA Quadro GPU.

I'll go ahead and get this out of the way right now before we even get into the nitty gritty: the chassis on the 8760w is a massive improvement on the 8740w's schizophrenic aesthetic, but there's a cost that some of you aren't going to be willing to pay, and I'm not talking a monetary one. You may have noticed that all of HP's new business-class notebooks feature 16:9-aspect panels instead of the old standby 16:10, and the 8760w hasn't been spared. I personally don't have a huge problem with it, but it's hard to deny something's been lost here. Where consumer notebooks have potentially benefitted from the move to 16:9 (1280x800 to 1366x768 is basically a wash, while 17" notebooks got a boost from 1440x900 to 1600x900), the change from a 1920x1200 panel to a 1920x1080 panel is a loss; end of conversation.

With all that said, hopefully the move to Sandy Bridge and access to the new GF110-based Quadro will make the transition a little less painful.

HP EliteBook 8760w Specifications
Processor Intel Core i7-2820QM
(4x2.3GHz, 32nm, 8MB L3, Turbo to 3.4GHz, 45W)
Chipset Intel QM67
Memory 4x4GB Samsung DDR3-1333 (Max 4x8GB)
Graphics NVIDIA Quadro 5010M 4GB GDDR5
(384 CUDA cores, 450MHz/900MHz/2.6GHz core/shader/memory clocks, 256-bit memory bus)
Display 17.3" LED Matte IPS 16:9 1920x1080
(LGD02FC Panel)
Hard Drive(s) Micron C300 256GB SATA 3Gbps SSD
Optical Drive HP BD-ROM/DVD+-RW Combo Drive
Networking Intel 82579LM Gigabit Ethernet
Intel Centrino Ultimate-N 6300 802.11a/b/g/n
Bluetooth v3.0
Audio IDT 92HD81B1X HD Audio
Stereo speakers
Mic and headphone jacks
Battery 8-Cell, 14.3V, 83Wh battery
Front Side SD/MMC Reader
Left Side Kensington lock
Exhaust vent
eSATA/USB Combo port
2x USB 3.0
4-pin FireWire
Right Side Headphone and mic jacks
USB 2.0 (charging)
USB 2.0
Smart Card Reader
Optical drive
Back Side Modem
Exhaust vent
AC adaptor
Operating System Windows 7 Professional 64-bit SP1
Dimensions 16.4" x 10.7" x 1.47" (WxDxH)
Weight 7.8 lbs
Extras Webcam
DreamColor IPS display
Flash reader (MMC, SD/Mini SD, MS/Duo/Pro/Pro Duo)
USB charging
HP Performance Advisor
Backlit keyboard with 10-key
Warranty 3-year limited warranty
Pricing Starting at $1,899
Priced as configured: $6,497

Thus far we've only really seen the i7-2820QM in the Sandy Bridge review notebook we received way back when Sandy Bridge was first launched, so the EliteBook 8760w is at least going to be our first experience with it "in the field" so to speak. It's a pretty beefy CPU, too, with a 2.3GHz nominal clock speed that turbos up to 3.1GHz on all four cores or a very healthy 3.4GHz on just one. That actually puts it within spitting distance of desktop Sandy Bridge quads, and it's a testament to the power efficiency of Intel's architecture. HP has also seen fit to grant it access to four memory slots and our review unit is specced with 16GB of non-ECC DDR3-1333.

The NVIDIA Quadro 5010M is a much more incremental update to its predecessor than the GeForce GTX 485M was to the 480M, though I suspect NVIDIA opted to continue using GF1x0 for their top shelf mobile workstation GPU due to its superior HPC capabilities. With the move to GF110, the 5010M now benefits from 384 CUDA cores instead of the 320 found on the previous generation Quadro 5000M, as well as bumps in clock speed to 450MHz on the core, 900MHz on the shaders, and 2.6GHz on the GDDR5. Gamers will undoubtedly be disappointed at the low clocks across the board, but the 5010M isn't really for them. While GF1x4 is more friendly for high-end mobile gaming hardware, GF1x0 likely remains the better choice for workstation tasks.

Our review unit is also bolstered by Intel's QM67 chipset, allowing for RAID 0/1/5 support as the EliteBook 8760w can support two 2.5" drives natively and a third if the user chooses to swap out the optical drive for another drive bay. As befitting a workstation notebook of this caliber, there's also virtually every type of connectivity the end user could ask for: eSATA, USB 2.0, USB 3.0, FireWire, Bluetooth, and even ExpressCard/54 are all present.

If Only Your HP Pavilion Looked This Good
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  • slb14 - Friday, August 26, 2011 - link

    Crack. It's what one would have to smoke to spend over $6k on a laptop.
    I don't care if it's fast, light, and washes my cats. That's just hilarious.
  • sjprg2 - Friday, August 26, 2011 - link

    Its a business tool. 4 sales of my landscapes and its paid for.
  • digitalzombie - Friday, August 26, 2011 - link

    Yeah, i think 14-14.5 is the sweet spot for me. Gimme one with IPS and I'll be happy. Is HP build quality getting better? Cause they bought compaq and compaq was horrible at least for me.
  • JarredWalton - Friday, August 26, 2011 - link

    Sorry Jecs... you replied to a spammer post (the web address in the link was one of those stupid fashion-related spamming sites we've had lately). I've removed the account (only4customer) but here's you response to his post:
    Desktop monitors are on another class of color accuracy, color depth, screen uniformity, gamut, black or white levels, grays, contrast, almost everything. But I can't remember right now where I read the review. It is directly related to the stronger backlighting technology or possibilities on desktop monitors. Desktop monitors even include very powerful graphic cards and circuits with dedicated chips and memory for internal 16 bit per channel signal processing. This is very difficult to solve inside the limited space laptops provides.

    To my experience the best laptop monitors are clearly inferior to the best desktops if you have both screens directly available in the same room with the same source side by side.

    However this Dreamcolor HP screen may be the best mobile screen in the market right now and I guess it could even give some cheaper IPS desktop monitors a circle or 2.
  • jecs - Saturday, August 27, 2011 - link

    Ok, Thanks
  • cbass64 - Saturday, August 27, 2011 - link

    Isn't the C300 6Gbps?
  • SteveLord - Saturday, August 27, 2011 - link

    You can customize these for less than half of that $6k tag............
  • SteveLord - Saturday, August 27, 2011 - link

    I actually bought one of these at work, with the Dreamcolor screen too. It is the best looking laptop screen I've seen and maintains the top quality that their Dreamcolor monitors have (I have one of those too.)

    Unlike probably most of the people here, I've also had the 2 previous generations of these Elitebooks and this is a huge improvement.
  • extremepcs - Monday, August 29, 2011 - link

    $6,500 for a laptop? There isn't enough crack on the planet...
  • yorty - Tuesday, August 30, 2011 - link

    so cool!
    Processor Intel Core i7-2820QM
    (4x2.3GHz, 32nm, 8MB L3, Turbo to 3.4GHz, 45W)
    Chipset Intel QM67
    Memory 4x4GB Samsung DDR3-1333 (Max 4x8GB)
    Graphics NVIDIA Quadro 5010M 4GB GDDR5
    (384 CUDA cores, 450MHz/900MHz/2.6GHz core/shader/memory clocks, 256-bit memory bus)

    It's very cool. if the graphics is GTX will be a powerful notebook.
    play games, listen music,have a nice browse internet, it........just amazing!`

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