HP 8440w Laptop – Built like tank, and speed like we need.

We were asked recently to take a look at the HP 8440w workstation and, although we are MAC users, figured we have to check out what 93% of the world is using.
Not sure what the norm may be, but this workstation laptop, the HP 8440w, is a huge step up from what we thought we’d be working with, in both build, speed and processing power.
It’s high end, military grade laptop that is so packed, it qualifies being called a workstation.
Preloaded with some Adobe software, we set about using this as we would any other computer for our photo needs.

On the road, we are doing some heavy duty image processing and video editing nightly, and external drives are part of the package and enough outlets for peripherals are a must.
Our fave traveling hard drive today is the LaCie little big disk, Quadra 1T with eSATA. Basically a non-bus powered FAST data transfer, 7200rpm, speed demon of a media drive.
Never got a chance to use it on the MAC laptop in eSATA mode. No eSATA port.
This 8440w has one built in. Still have to plug it in to AC, but it’s got the speed we need on the road for moving big files about.
Using the laptop for a load/edit/tweak of images from a CF card was incredibly fast. Forgot we was on a laptop.

The finger manipulated little nub for navigating the screen, instead of a mouse, nestled among the keys, was very accurate and had a good feel to the glide, right outta the box. Of course you can adjust the sensitivity. Didn’t miss an external mouse at all.

There is a pretty tight software module called the power assistant, which give you a great update with some depth on your power usage and time remaining. By the way, the battery was great in real heavy usage at about 4 hours, and you can get extended life batteries giving you over 15 hours of work time.

The most important parts are under the hood, of course, with some features that are made for a road warrior.
First of all, the case is magnesium alloy inner shell strengthened by a brushed aluminum outer shell, and can handle up to a 300 lb weight. OK, you can stand on it, but we didn’t want to.

There is a HP 3D DriveGuard, which essentially parks the heads of the hard drive in case of a violent move. You drop it, the hard drive is safe. Good feature on a laptop.

The 16:9 LED screen was a thing of beauty as we edited images and made appropriate corrections. Add in a solid NVIDIA Quadro FX graphics card, and you’ll feel like you never left your desktop.

There was an interesting LED worklight on the top of the screen pointing down for the keyboard, used for working in dark places, and we found that the light could be used to read or look at other things, although a couple of more LED bulbs would have been a great help
Still prefer a lit keyboard, and using the screen for light.

If security is an issue, this unit comes with a fingerprint reader. Yep, use it like a barcode scanner the the grocery store.
Like we said, military grade.
One thing that was also included was a software called SkyRoom where you can video conference AND share HD video or files over the web. Needed another laptop elsewhere to test it out, and that wasn’t available.

There were plenty of ports, of course the eSATA port we mentioned, and a mini firewire 1394 port. Most of our card readers are Firewire 800 or 400, but the Lexar Dual came to the rescue with the USB 2.0 output.
Plus you get an express card slot to add in what ever you may need, and a blu-ray player for your entertainment needs.

Here’s what it had in the configuration we looked at:

•Intel Core i7 620M Processor 2.66GHz (turbo mode up to 3.33GHz, 4MB L3 cache)
•Microsoft Genuine Windows 7 Professional (64-bit)
•14-inch LED-backlit HD+ display (1600 x 900)
•NVIDIA Quadro FX 380M (512MB)
•4GB DDR3 1333MHz RAM
•320GB 7200RPM HDD
•Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n), Ethernet, Modem, and Bluetooth Connectivity
•9-Cell Battery (10.8V)
•Dimensions: 13.2 x 9.2 x 1.5 inches (including feet)
•Weight: 5.89lbs
Price as configured: $1,649 (starting at $1,499)

So what you have just gotten was a look at a heavy duty workstation laptop PC from a MAC user.

We were duly impressed, and could easily jump onto this machine and feel 100% comfortable getting our work done.
Once you are in software programs that are cross platform, like CS5, Lightroom, or Office, the mindset is an easy transition and honestly, better than we thought it would be.

It does become a bit like the Canon v. Nikon deal though: with so much of our other software on MAC, to switch now would be expensive and time consuming.
For those of you already on a PC, this is one solid unit that has the speed you need, and the tank-like build for travel.

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