HP Pavilion dv6548ea Review

Overall Score

So as the title says this is a review of Intel’s Santa Rosa platform notebook HP Pavilion dv6548ea. In this review I’ll be specifically looking at its purpose and the intended market segment. The specification are as follows:

 

Specifications:

Found on the HP site here.

The processor is the fastest available for this model and is sufficient for my needs. It runs my simulation software and other developing IDEs very well. There is nothing new on the processor side except for the increased FSB to 800MHz. The multiplier varies from 6x (minimum when idle) to 10x (maximum under load) while speed stepping is enabled.

It has 2 SO-DIMM slots and comes with 2 X 512MB standard but I upgraded the RAM to 2 X 1GB DDR2-667MHz (PC5300) to better support my simulation software. It supports a maximum of 4GB (2 X 2GB) but obviously that’d require a 64-bit operating system to utilize it. One thing to note is that while Intel’s 965 chipset support DDR2-800MHz modules, there is no official support for the mobile segment of this chipset.

It has an upgraded version of integrated graphics processor (X3100) found in the desktop variant to Intel G965 chipset (X3000). As the integrated graphics suggests, it’s not intended for the gaming segment. So if you are looking for gaming on this notebook I’d suggest go for the upgrade (discrete graphics card). It runs windows vista aero without a problem and also completes all the tests of 3DMark05 and 3DMark06 but obviously with a very poor frame rate. I think that there is a driver issue to which most of the people would agree. According to some websites Intel will be releasing a new driver for its IGP in Q1 2008, which will enable Intel GMA X3100 and the upcoming Intel GMA X3500 to officially support DirectX10, and maybe then it will be able to run a few games at low-resolutions with minimum/medium detail level.

Coming to the storage, this model comes with a 120GB 5400RPM HDD standard. Other options are from 80GB up to 200GB. The HDD size was not a concern for me because 120GB is sufficient for my needs. This model also comes with a LightScribe DVD burner standard. I have yet to test it, as the light scribe media is rare over here. 

It has a RealTek Ethernet 10/100 and 56K Fax/Modem card, 3 USB 2.0 ports, a Mini PCI Express slot, SD.MS/Pro.MMC.XD card slot, an expansion port, and a firewire port. It has Intel 3945a/b/g wireless adapter, which is the standard choice, but later it can be upgraded to Intel’s 4965a/g/n adapter. 

There are no upgrade options on the LCD side, so there is just the standard 1280×800 resolution widescreen, which comes with the optional webcam and mic as standard in this model. The webcam has a resolution of 640×480 and the image quality is good. It also has the optional fingerprint reader which also comes standard in this model. It is very useful as I use it every time I have to logon to windows or any other website. 

Design & Appearance:

The design is pretty neat and sleek. This model comes with the radiance finish, which is basically a design of circles on it. This design is found on the palm rest and on the LCD cover. Nothing really stylish or eye catching but that doesn’t bothers me as I didn’t buy this notebook to compete in a fashion show.

All right time now for the benchmarks. The test setup is as follows:

 

Processor: Intel T7300 2.0GHz 4MB L2 Cache 800MHz FSB

Chipset: Intel GM965

Memory: 2 X 1GB DDR2-667MHz 5-5-5-15 (Corsair ValueSelect)

Graphics: Intel GMA X3100

Display: 15.4” WXGA (1280×800)

Hard Drive: 120GB 4200 (WesternDigital)

Optical Drive: 8X DVD+/-RW LightScribe

Networking: Intel 3945a/b/g

Audio: Realtek HAD

Battery: 6-Cell 47WHr

Operating System: Windows Vista Home Premium 32-bit

 

The notebook came with Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium, HP QuickPlay, Adobe Reader 8, Roxio, Microsoft Works and a 60-day trial of Norton Internet security.

 

Futuremark PCMark05:

http://service.futuremark.com/orb/resultanalyzer.jsp?projectType=13&XLID=0&UID=9790466

(link currently broken, results below)

 

PCMark05 Performance Breakdown:

 

System Test Suite:

                HDD – XP Startup = 5.561MB/sec

                Physics and 3D = 62 FPS

                2D – Transparent Windows = 1706 Windows/sec

                3D – Pixel Shader = 22.8 FPS

                Web Page Rendering = 1.348 Pages/Sec

                File Decryption = 57.009 MB/sec

                Graphics Memory – 64 lines = 507.910 FPS

                HDD – General Usage = 3.929 MB/Sec

                Multithreaded Test 1

                                Audio Compression = 1932.883 KB/Sec

                                Video Encoding = 358.146 KB/Sec

                Multithreaded Test 2

                                Text Edit = 114.744 Pages/Sec

                                Image Decompression = 26.510 MPixels/Sec

                Multithreaded Test 3

                                File Compression = 4.520 MB/Sec

                                File Encryption = 23.556 MB/Sec

                                HDD – Virus Scan = 24.054 MB/Sec

                                Memory Latency – Random 16 MB = 8.573 MAccess/Sec

CPU Test Suite:

                File Compression = 9.244 MB/Sec

                File Decompression = 137.012 MB/Sec

                File Encryption = 56.302 MB/Sec

                File Decryption = 56.566 MB/Sec

                Image Decompression = 29.413 MPixels/Sec

                Audio Compression = 2641.116 KB/Sec

                Multithreaded Test 1

                                File Compression = 8.580 MB/Sec

                                File Encryption = 51.400 MB/Sec

                Multithreaded Test 2

                                File Decompression = 61.699 MB/Sec

                                File Decryption = 26.560 MB/Sec

                                Audio Decompression = 989.414 KB/Sec

                                Image Decompression = 13.766 MPixels/Sec

 

Memory Test Suite: Total Score = 4269

                Memory Read – 16MB = 4807.356 MB/Sec

                Memory Read – 8MB = 5592.717 MB/Sec

                Memory Read – 192KB = 13140.891 MB/Sec

                Memory Read – 4KB = 30856.025 MB/Sec

                Memory Write – 16MB = 3379.127 MB/Sec

                Memory Write – 8MB = 3368.538 MB/Sec

                Memory Write – 192KB = 12934.480 MB/Sec

                Memory Write – 4KB = 30091.412 MB/Sec

                Memory Copy – 16MB = 3651.408 MB/Sec

                Memory Copy – 8MB = 3783.371 MB/Sec

                Memory Copy – 192KB = 12368.266 MB/Sec

                Memory Copy – 4KB = 30764.682 MB/Sec

                Memory Latency – Random 16MB = 8.797 MAccess/Sec

                Memory Latency – Random 8MB = 10.898 MAccess/Sec

                Memory Latency – Random 192KB = 140.831 MAccess/Sec

                Memory Latency – Random 4KB = 730.276 MAccess/Sec

 

 

Graphics Test Suite: Total Score = 1642

                2D – Transparent Windows = 2383.125 Windows/Sec

                2D – Graphics Memory – 64 Lines = 507.949 FPS

                2D – Graphics Memory – 128 Lines = 405.811 FPS

                2D – Video Playback = 25.213 FPS

                3D – Fill Rate Multi-Texturing = 1138.434 MTexels/Sec

                3D – Polygon Throughput Multiple Lights = 3.372 MTriangles/Sec

                3D – Pixel Shader = 22.621 FPS

                3D – Vertex Shader = 6.447 MVertices/Sec

 

HDD Test Suite: Total Score = 3578

                HDD – XP Startup = 5.814 MB/Sec

                HDD – Application Loading = 4.772 MB/Sec

                HDD – General Usage = 4.015 MB/Sec

                HDD – Virus Scan = 52.951 MB/Sec

                HDD – File Write = 40.929 MB/Sec

 

General Performance – 3D Rendering (Cinebench 9.5)

***************************************************

 

Tester           : CINEBENCH 9.5

 

Processor        : Intel Core2Duo T7300

MHz              : 2000

Number of CPUs   : 2

Operating System : Windows Vista Home Premium

 

Graphics Card    : X3100

Resolution       : 1280×800

Color Depth      : 32-bit

 

****************************************************

 

Rendering (Single   CPU): 222 CB-CPU

Rendering (Multiple CPU): 388 CB-CPU

 

Multiprocessor Speedup: 1.75

 

Shading (CINEMA 4D)                : 268 CB-GFX

Shading (OpenGL Software Lighting) : 436 CB-GFX

Shading (OpenGL Hardware Lighting) : 587 CB-GFX

 

OpenGL Speedup: 2.19

 

The next test we ran was SuperPI which, for a laptop, had an excellent time for 1M digits of PI at 25.877s. Below are some screenshots showing several time results.

[img]SuperPI.jpg[/img]

 

[img]SuperPI2.jpg[/img]

 

Laptops are not known for having speedy Hard Drives, however, we HDTach to see how this laptop performs, and, as expected it performs roughly the same as most other laptops do with a 5400RPM drive.

 

[img]HDTach.jpg[/img]

 

[img]HDTach2.jpg[/img]

The maximum temperature reached 59C, sometime 60C on core#1 but came back to 59C moments after. The minimum temperature was 58C under load and so the average was 59C. At idle sitting in desktop and doing nothing the idle temperature was 44C ~ 46C.

 

[img]Prime95.jpg[/img]

 

Battery life is not very impressive, just above 2 hrs is the maximum while under general use i.e. windows media player, web-browsing, downloading etc.

 

This laptop performs admirably no doubt, and for anyone that is ok with plugging in the A/C adapter most of the time you will be quite happy, however, since it is a laptop, which is meant to be mobile, the 2hr battery life makes this laptop difficult to suggest as a good choice for most people.

 

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