HP's business-centric EliteBooks have been around since 2008 in name, but in reality, EliteBook is just a new name for the old HP Compaq business notebook line. With HP releasing a flood of popular entry level and mainstream consumer notebooks with both HP and Compaq labels, this understandably created a marketing issue for the costlier and higher end business and workstation class machines. Since the HP Compaq brand didn't have the name cachet of the iconic IBM/Lenovo ThinkPads or even Dell's Latitude business notebooks, HP's marketing team decided to scrap the confusing "HP Compaq" tag entirely and rebrand their business notebooks as EliteBooks.

We have one of the newest EliteBooks here today, the EliteBook 8440w mobile workstation. For a 14" notebook, it's quite the powerhouse, with a Core i7-620M processor and Nvidia's Quadro FX 380M discrete graphics chip to go along with 4GB of memory, a 320GB SATA hard drive, integrated DVD burner, and a high resolution 14" 1600x900 screen—it's even got a matte finish! But for the $1649 pricetag, the 8440w could have used a bit more power on either the CPU or GPU side, with a quad-core Core i7 (which is an optional extra) or faster Quadro graphics card at the top of our wishlist.

HP EliteBook 8440w Specifications
Processor Intel Core i7-620M
(2.66GHz, 32nm, 4MB L3, 35W)
Chipset Intel QM57 Express
Memory 2x2048MB DDR3-1333
Max 2x4GB DDR3-1333
Graphics NVIDIA Quadro FX 380M (512MB GDDR3 VRAM)
Display 14.0" LED Backlit Matte WXGA+ (1600x900)
Hard Drive 2.5" 320GB 7200RPM SATA (Seagate ST9320423AS)
Networking Intel 82577LM PCI-E Gigabit Ethernet
Intel Centrino Ultimate-N 6300 (3x3) 802.11a/b/g/n
Audio Realtek AL269 2-Channel HD Audio
(2.0 Speakers with headphone/microphone jacks)
Battery 9-cell Li-Ion, 100 Wh
Front Side SD/MMC card reader
Left Side 3 x USB 2.0
1 x Firewire 1394a
Right Side RJ-11
Gigabit Ethernet
eSATA/USB combination
Back Side VGA
DisplayPort
AC Power Connection
Kensington Lock
Operating System Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
Dimensions 13.21" x 9.30" x 1.23" (WxDxH)
Weight Starting at 4.9 lbs (with 6-cell battery)
Extras Bluetooth 2.0
2.0MP Webcam
Integrated TrackPoint
Multitouch Touchpad
SD/MMC/MS Pro Flash reader
Warranty 3-year warranty, onsite repairs
1-year battery warranty
Pricing 8440w-FN093UT for $1649 from HP Business

But even without a quad-core or a high end GPU, the 8440w is a pretty formidable beast, boasting enough computing horsepower to acquit itself well for mobile CAD work and most reasonable tasks. Obviously, it won't replace the power of a workstation-class desktop or anything like that, but is it good enough for on-the-go design work? Let's find out.

HP EliteBook 8440w - In and Around
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  • fire400 - Sunday, August 15, 2010 - link

    I don't like it though. It doesn't seem to compare to the older HP Compaq generation of notebooks. Business class LCD's should have the best displays of any laptops available, in my opinion. You're already paying a premium, you should get premium quality on one of the most important things you're looking at most of the time... the LCD? Reply
  • saifikhan - Sunday, August 15, 2010 - link

    It is sad to see that there is not even one AMD processor based Elitebook. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Sunday, August 15, 2010 - link

    Sad maybe, but hardly surprising. EliteBook is a mobile workstation product, and mobile workstations tend to focus more on performance. My testing of an AMD Phenom II P920 shows it to be about on par with an i3-330M in terms of performance in heavily threaded scenarios (i.e. video encoding and 3D rendering), and in less multi-core friendly tests it's not even close (like 50% advantage to the i3-330M). In other words, a 1.6GHz quad-core AMD chip using their latest mobile architecture matches Intel's slowest dual-core + Hyper-Threading mobile part.

    The fastest AMD mobile quad-core is the X920 BE clocked at 2.3GHz. Going by the same figures I see with the P920, it would probably win some tests against the dual-core i7-620M, but overall it would be at best a wash. And then you can throw in the quad-core Intel chips and it's not even close anymore.

    Now, AMD does provide better power figures if you compare their quad-core to Intel's mobile quad-core, but that's hardly the primary consideration in a mobile workstation. In fact, our biggest complaint with the 8440w is precisely that it doesn't offer more power, specifically in the graphics department where the 16 core FX 380M lets it down. There are some interesting AMD-based laptops coming out now, particularly with Nile and Danube platforms, but for mobile workstations the current stuff can't make a good case.

    We've got a couple reviews coming soon--yes, I know I've said that before. The P920 Toshiba system review got delayed for two faulty laptops, but it was pre-production hardware. I should have a final production sample next week so I can post the full write-up. The other is perhaps the best AMD-based laptop I've ever used, a Toshiba T235D. Packing a 1.5GHz Turion II K625 and a 61Wh battery, I've actually managed to get into the 6+ battery life range. Performance is respectable as well, and the HD 4200 is still better than any current Intel IGP. It's 13.3" and costs $600, but it's the first AMD "ultraportable" (thin and light) that I can really recommend. It's a viable alternative to the old CULV, and even holds its own against Arrandale ULV.
    Reply
  • sapiens74 - Sunday, August 15, 2010 - link

    Its sturdy and made for work.

    Not nearly as quick as my MAC, takes almost 3 times to boot Windows 7 Ultimate, but for a Windows machine it does the job
    Reply
  • seanleeforever - Monday, August 16, 2010 - link

    so.. your definition of 'quick' is booting OS.
    you can vastly improve that by using ssd. booting speed has almost nothing to do with CPU/GPU. my T7400 with SSD can boot up windows 7 ult in less than 20 seconds.
    Reply
  • jaydee - Monday, August 16, 2010 - link

    whether you're a developer compiling OS builds, a CAD junkie like me, or into engineering simulation. So while I can say, having run SolidWorks and done some CAD on the 8440w, that it's adequate for such things, at the same time it's difficult to say great things about the performance when some similarly priced workstations are specced so much better.


    AT has a CAD junkie on staff?!?! Can we please get a CAD workstation videocard roundup? Pretty please?
    Reply
  • jea508 - Monday, August 16, 2010 - link

    Anandtech is amazing Reply
  • oshogg - Tuesday, August 17, 2010 - link

    I have been using business class notebooks for over 10 years - first 7 years, I was using IBM Thinkpad lines of notebooks and the last 3 "HP Compaq" and EliteBook. Both lines are fairly comparable and each one has its unique advantages over the other. One key disadvantage of HP that I find is lack of bay battery. With IBM thinkpads, the bay battery was a god-send. I could easily go over 5 hours with real heavy workload with 2 batteries. With the 3-year newer technology of HP's business notebooks, 2.5 to 3 hours is a max.

    I wonder why more business-class notebooks do not come with a bay battery option. I hardly ever need a CD/DVD Rom drive in my work. In fact, I can count on one hand how many times I have used the CD/DVD drive in last 2 years.

    Osho
    Reply
  • kenyee - Wednesday, August 18, 2010 - link

    HP has ridiculous sized ones compared to thinkpads. I also don't think the keyboards are as good as the older T series thinkpads.
    And I'm looking forward to your Envy 14/15 comparison. This seems like it's a business version of the Envy. Too bad the screen is crap :-P
    I just want a relatively light 14-15" laptop I can stick 8GB or more into to run VMs :-P
    Reply
  • kfjg - Sunday, August 22, 2010 - link

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