Wondering how effective the HP Night Light is in HP’s Elitebook models? How about the gaming performance of the HP Elitebook 8440p when it comes to the sequel to everyone’s favorite zombie-horror game? Well, everyone, I’ve got a treat for you today: you get the answers to both questions in this single article! I just happened to be playing Left4Dead 2 on a friend’s newly acquired Elitebook 8440p (don’t forget to plug in the charger for maximum performance!) and come on, what’s a survival horror/zombie game without playing in the dark for ambience? So last weekend, I switched off all the lights in the room, whipped out the HP Elitebook 8440p and started up Left4Dead 2 for a little “Dark Carnival” multiplayer LAN fun!
As you can see, the HP Night Light (the little light above the notebook’s display) illuminates the entire keyboard pretty well and even the area around it (you can spot my travel mouse to the right if you look hard enough). What’s great about HP’s implementation of their Night Light is that it isn’t annoying or too bright; and there’s no light leakage, so the illumination is focused solely on the keyboard area.
As for gaming performance, I ran Left4Dead 2 (yes, with my newly installed Zoey skin/voice mod!) on a HP Elitebook 8440p configured with 2.53 GHz dual core Intel Core i5 540M, 8 GB DDR3 RAM, 320 GB 7200 RPM hard disk drive and 512 MB Nvidia Quadro NVS 3100M graphics with the following settings in Left4Dead 2:
- 1600 x 900 resolution
- No film grain
- 2X MSAA anti-aliasing
- 2X anisotropic filtering
- Vertical sync disabled
- Multicore rendering enabled
- Shader – Low (GPU dependent)
- Effects – High (CPU dependent)
- Model/texture – Medium
- Available memory – High
Turns out that the Elitebook 8440p performed pretty well with the settings above, with frame rates hovering around 24 to 40 frames per second: enough for navigating through all the action from saferoom to saferoom. I have one big tip for gaming on notebooks running the latest Intel Core i5 and Core i7 mobile processors: Always plug in the notebook to a nearby power outlet. This new generation of processors are even more picky and sensitive than their old Core 2 Duo counterparts – bringing performance down to minimal levels to stinge on power when running off the battery. Only when plugged in do these new processors run at full tilt, even letting Intel’s Turbo Boost kick in whenever possible, for maximum performance.
Oh, in case anyone is wondering, I tested the Elitebook 8440p with the uncut, butt-kicking version of Left4Dead 2. There’s word that the cut/censored version of Left4Dead 2 brings a noticeable frame rate increase thanks to reduced levels of in-game blood and gore (among other things).