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Advice on choosing a Mobile Workstation

Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
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March 30, 2009 8:55:10 PM


I was considering 2 HP laptops for 3d work, specifically for maya use. It seems that out of the name brands, HP has the best prices. I use a HP xw8400 at work and like it well enough. I have listed all the specs and price points below. The main thing I am trying to wrap my head around is why Hp's workstation and their 18inch entertainment computer have such wildly different price points, when the specs are pretty much the same. Other than the graphics card, are there any other major differences I am missing? Is the workstation really worth an extra $1800

Also I was recommended a company called Sager which i had never heard of. I have listed my choice specs for this below. The price point falls between the two HPs but It has a 2nd HD and a better graphics card than both. Also the chipset is different but I dont know if it is better or worse. Is this the way to go?

Any other recommendations are welcome.

Thanks to anyone for taking the time to review this. It's much appreciated as a laptop is a necessary buy for me right now.


HP EliteBook 8730w Mobile Workstation - 4,808.00

Genuine Windows Vista® Business 64
Intel® Quad Extreme Processor QX9300* (2.53 GHz, 1066 MHz FSB, 12 MB L2 cache)
Mobile Intel® PM45 Express Chipset ICH9M-Enhanced
17-inch diagonal WUXGA (1920x1200)
Integrated Camera
NVIDIA Quadro FX 2700M 48-core CUDA parallel computing processor 512MB (dedicated)
8192MB (800-MHz, DDR2, 2DIMM)
250-GB SATA Hard Drive (7200 RPM)
DVD+/-RW SuperMulti with Double Layer LightScribe Drive
Full- sized keyboard with numeric keypad and dual pointing devices (touchpad and pointstick) with scroll zone
Intel 802.11a/b/g/draft n I3 (non IAMT/vPro) wireless
HP Integrated Module with Bluetooth® Wireless Technology
56K v.92 high speed modem
HW Kit 150W
Integrated Fingerprint Reader


HDX18t series - $3029

Windows Vista Ultimate with Service Pack 1 (64-bit)
Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Quad Processor QX9300 (2.53Hz)
Mobile Intel® PM45 Express chipset
8GB DDR3 System Memory (2 Dimm)
250GB 5400RPM SATA Hard Drive with HP ProtectSmart Hard Drive Protection
1GB Nvidia GeForce GT 130M - For DDR3 Memory
18.4" diagonal High Definition HP Ultra BrightView Infinity Display (1920x1080p)
Lightscribe Blu-Ray ROM with SuperMulti DVD+/-R/RW Double Layer
Webcam + Fingerprint Reader with HP Imprint Finish (Fluid)
Intel Next-Gen Wireless-N Mini-card with Bluetooth
Full Size Backlit Keyboard


Sager NP9262 - $3724

17" Wide Viewing Angles WUXGA LCD with Super Glossy Surface (1920 x 1200)
- Intel® Core™ 2 Quad Processor Q9650 / 12MB L2 Cache, 3.0GHz, 1333MHz FSB
Intel® P965 Chipset + ICH8M
- Graphics Card: Nvidia Quadro FX 3700M Graphics with 1GB DDR3 Video Memory
- Genuine MS Windows® VISTA Home Premium 32/64-Bit Edition
- Memory: 8GB Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM at 667MHz - 2 X 4096MB
- Primary Hard Disk Drive: 250GB 5400rpm SATA 300 Hard Drive
- 2nd Hard Disk Drive: 250GB 5400rpm SATA 300 Secondary Hard Disk Drive
- Optical Drive: 8X DVD±R/RW/4X +DL Super-Multi Drive & Software
- Wireless Card: Intel Wi-Fi Link 5300AGN - 802.11A/B/G/N Wireless LAN Module
- Bluetooth: Internal Bluetooth Module
- Primary Battery: Smart Li-ION Battery Pack
a b D Laptop
March 30, 2009 9:27:40 PM

Your price difference is coming from the "Professional" series graphics card. They are coded specifically for OpenGL programs and thus will perform better than a gaming card in those applications. And yes, they are in almost all cases ridiculously expensive.

Having owned a Sager, I really like them. Just be aware that with that system, you are using desktop processors, your battery life will be pretty low. You are however, also getting a stronger "Pro" GPU in that Sager for a lower price than the HP.
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March 30, 2009 10:04:31 PM

Yeah I was seriously considering the the lenovo w700ds. That screen and the built in screen calibration is huge for me considering I will be doing a lot of cgi. But with the specs I want the price of the lenovo is well over 5k. Im really hoping to stay within 3-4k.


Thanks for pointing out that the sager uses desktop processors which will reduce battery life. Will this in turn give me a better processing power in some way? The battery life does not concern me much as I will only be away from an outlet for onsite client sessions etc.
a b D Laptop
March 30, 2009 10:39:59 PM

ruddiger52 said:
Thanks for pointing out that the sager uses desktop processors which will reduce battery life. Will this in turn give me a better processing power in some way? The battery life does not concern me much as I will only be away from an outlet for onsite client sessions etc.


Yes, the Q9650 is 3.00ghz compare to the 2.53 of the QX9300. Now the QX9300 can be overclocked, but I am not sure if I would do that in a laptop anyway. Nor am I sure that HP will allow you to OC it anyway, unlocked multiplier or not.
March 30, 2009 11:10:59 PM

Ah, well that was going to be my next question. I noticed that the sager model does not have an option for the Quad Processor QX9300 (2.53Hz).

So I was wondering the difference between that and the Q9650
a b D Laptop
March 31, 2009 12:44:01 AM

ruddiger52 said:
Ah, well that was going to be my next question. I noticed that the sager model does not have an option for the Quad Processor QX9300 (2.53Hz).

So I was wondering the difference between that and the Q9650


The biggest difference is going to be the clock speed. Other than that, the QX9300 is going to produce less heat and use less power since it was designed for a mobile platform. The D901C chasis (9262) was designed to handle the desktop chips though, so cooling is pretty decent.
March 31, 2009 12:52:46 AM

Well I have found some really good reviews for the sager NP9262. Supposedly its a beast at 11 pounds. But super light mobility and long battery life are not a priority for me...... a desktop replacement is definitely what I need. Id like an hdmi port but again not super important. Thanks for the advice I think this is the way to go!
a b D Laptop
March 31, 2009 1:38:28 AM

Just a heads up, there are several companies that sell this system; digitalstorm.com, XoticPC.com and sagernotebook.com. Their prices are usually pretty close, but if you go to place an order, I'd call and see if you can haggle a lower price out of one of them. ;) 
March 31, 2009 5:03:41 PM

Awesome Ill check them out.

Thanks!
!