Wednesday, July 27, 2011

HP Pavilion dv7-6101eg

Inexpensive entertainer. HP's dv7-6101eg is a powerful 17-inch notebook, which will appeal to multimedia fans and also occasional gamers, thanks to its Blu-Ray drive and decent graphics card. We put it to the test, to see whether HP has produced a well-rounded package or whether it has tried to save money in the wrong places.

There are masses of 17-inch entertainment notebooks to be found in the great expanse of the internet. But if you sift through them looking for the best possible performance for a reasonable price, you will quickly find yourself looking at the HP dv7-6100 series. For less than €1,000 you can get a graphics card from the top of the mid range. The models that come with the Radeon HD 6770M are definitely preferable in terms of performance to the ones with the HD 6755G2 or HD 6490M.

The processor is either a dual-core (Core i5-2410M) or a quad-core (Core i7-2630QM or A6-3410MX). The DDR3 RAM ranges from 4 GB up to a maximum of 8 GB, while the hard drive capacity ranges from 500 to 2000 GB. Film fans should definitely choose a version with a Blu-Ray drive, or they will have to put up with a conventional DVD burner. The buyer has no choice when it comes to the operating system; Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit is pre-installed, which is standard for notebooks.

Specifications HP Pavilion dv7-6101eg :
  • Processor : Intel Core i5 2410M 2.3 GHz
  • Mainboard : Intel HM65
  • Memory : 6144 MB, 2048 + 4096 MB DDR3-RAM (1333 MHz), max. 8 GB, 2 slots
  • Graphics adapter : AMD Radeon HD 6770M - 2048 MB, Core: 725 MHz, Memory: 1600 MHz, GDDR5-VRAM, 8.830.6.1000
  • Display : 17.3 inch 16:9, 1600x900 pixel, Samsung 173KT01-K01 (SEC3354), HD+, LED backlighting, glossy: yes
  • Harddisk : Toshiba MK6465GSX, 640GB 5400rpm
  • Soundcard : IDT 92HD81B1X @ Intel Cougar Point PCH - High Definition Audio Controller
  • Connections : 2 USB 2.0, 2 USB 3.0, 1 VGA, 1 HDMI, 1 Kensington Lock, Audio Connections: 2x headphone output, 1x microphone input, Card Reader: SD, MMC, 1 Fingerprint Reader,
  • Networking : Realtek PCIe GBE Family Controller (10/100/1000MBit), Broadcom 4313 802.11b/g/n (bgn)
  • Optical drive : HP DVDWBD TS-LB23L
  • Size : height x width x depth (in mm): 40 x 416 x 275
  • Weight : 3.122 kg Power Supply: 0.63 kg
  • Battery : 62 Wh Lithium-Ion, 11.1 V, 0.328 kg, 6 cells
  • Price : 799 Euro
  • Operating System : Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit
  • Additional features : Webcam: TrueVision HD, Mains adaptor: 120 Watts, quick start guide, CyberLink PowerDVD 10, 24 Months Warranty.
We think the dv7-6101eg has a great look. The steel-grey metal surfaces are scratch resistant and give the laptop a high-quality appearance. The build quality of our review model was convincing, apart from the hard bottom edge of the keyboard, and the screen edging which sticks out slightly. The laptop’s shape and overall design are fresh and yet classy at the same time; the notebook looks smart from every angle.

The very robust base unit is another point in the notebook’s favour. Only under strong pressure do the keyboard (particularly the number block) and the area around the HP logo start to flex a little. However, the lid can be flexed noticeably - a typical notebook shortcoming. The hinges come in for a lot of criticism; the display can wobble heavily when the base unit is shaken, and you need two hands to open the lid.

Overall HP have got almost everything right, with the case feeling like a cross between the Dell XPS 17 and the HP Envy 17. The size and weight are acceptable for a notebook; at 3.1 kg it can be readily transported.

At work inside the dv7-6101eg is a dual-core processor, one of Intel’s powerful Sandy Bridge generation. The Core i5-2410M is an incredibly popular mid-range model which has more than 624 transistors as well as a 3 MB L3 cache. Like all the Sandy Bridge CPUs, it is made using the latest 32 nm process. Thanks to Hyperthreading technology the processor can handle up to four threads simultaneously; this is achieved by simulating two virtual cores.

But for gamers, the processor’s Turbo Mode is more important. Depending on the temperature and system load, the speed of each core is made to vary between the standard 2.30 GHz and a maximum of 2.90 GHz. We briefly tested Turbo Mode using the Cinebench R10 tool. While the speed in the single-core rendering varied between 2.80 and 2.90 GHz, in the multi-core rendering the processor settled at 2.7 GHz. The thermal design power of 35 Watts is not exactly low, but on the other hand the Core i5-2410M does also contain a HD Graphics 3000 graphics chip.

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