HP Night Light illuminates Elitebook 8440p playing Left4Dead 2

HP Night Light in action on Elitebook 8440p running Left4Dead 2

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).

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10 Comments

  1. Bill January 29, 2010 Reply

    So, how does one purchase a 8440p/w? The HP website has them listed as “Coming Soon!” Is there a third party to buy them from? Thanks for the reviews!

    –Bill

    • Brad January 29, 2010 Reply

      Hi Bill, excellent question indeed =). Some enterprise (bulk order) clients seem to have gotten their shipment early. Unless you plan to go for the ‘build your own’ option, expect pre-built models to be delivered quickly once they start taking orders since the notebooks are already in production, just not up for order in public yet.

  2. Artur Pericles January 29, 2010 Reply

    Hey, Brad! Nice post, I was actually trying to figure out the same thing, if the p model would be nearly as good as the w model when it comes to gaming. Your post seems to answer this with a big no.
    Anyway, seems the game was still very playable in those settings, at least. I’d love to hear about *real* battery life (announced at 24h) and any other things you might have noticed different from the 8440w.
    Again, great job! =)

    • Brad January 30, 2010 Reply

      Hi Artur, thank you for your comment.
      Of course the 8440w wins, easily, compared to the 8440p – thanks to the quad core Core i7 processor and very slightly better (if not similar) graphics card. I would’ve been surprised if it didn’t 😉
      So far battery life seems good, I’m getting about 5 hours of light work using the 6 cell battery and another 7 hours with the extended 8 cell secondary battery.

      This isn’t the “24 hour” 8440p model, because the catch for getting 24 hours of battery life is you MUST get a very specific configuration which you need to be willing to use – lowest Core i5 processor (I think), Intel integrated graphics (no Nvidia Quadro, means you can’t play modern game titles or render graphics as quickly), solid state drive (expensive) and 6 cell + 12 cell batteries (heavy), among other things. This is not different from the picky requirements of the Elitebook 6930p for 24 hours of battery life.

  3. Bill January 29, 2010 Reply

    Interesting. Has there been any announced date? Most of the reviews make is sound like it is available and never mention a date. One CES blogger said “end of January”. That is the only thing I’ve seen. I’m getting the laptop for work and my boss budgeted for January… I really don’t want to get a Thinkpad T410, but they are available.

    • Brad January 30, 2010 Reply

      Hi Bill, we’re just 48-72 hours away from “February” and I’ve heard word that HP will make the new Elitebooks available for order very, very soon. Not sure who exactly mentioned “end of January” but I’ve been hearing “February” since the start.

  4. Artur January 31, 2010 Reply

    Hello, Brad!
    I’m sorry, you’re commenting on battery life for the 8440p or the 8440w? Somehow my original comment disappeared and I can’t remember which one I asked about. I see your point for the 24-hour 8440p.
    Anyway, I’m considering the 8440w and the 8540p. Unfortunately, other reviews I’ve seen for these models use completely diverse methods and — what’s even more important — specs. I guess the 8540p would be my choice, for its USB3 ports and faster GPU, and the option of strong Core i7 processors, but I still need to hear about battery life using those specs.
    I’ll keep following your blog for more info. Hopefully by launch time you’ll have reviewed — or bought one for yourself and reviewed — similar specs. Keep you the good work =)
    PS: aah! Which one you think you’ll be getting?

  5. Artur Pericles February 1, 2010 Reply

    Ok, my original comment appeared back. I must say I’m somewhat disappointed at 7 hours with 8-cell for the 8440p. Figured it’d hang on a bit more.

  6. Artur Pericles February 1, 2010 Reply

    Ok, my original comment appeared back. I must say I’m somewhat disappointed at 7 hours with 8-cell for the 8440p. Figured it’d hang on a bit more. Still look forward to hearing about your choice among these Elitebooks.

  7. Bill February 1, 2010 Reply

    It looks like a few “buy-now” configurations just became available. Oddly, the only configurations I would want come with Windows XP. Definitely going after the IT departments there… Guess I have to wait some more 😐

    Also, the 8440p is available (or I should say “will be available) with a quad-core i7. If you look at the specs page, it shows that the 720QM is an option. Just my opinion here, but for a laptop, the i7-620M makes a lot of sense. Sure, only dual core, but it has turbo mode that will take it up in the 3GHz range where it beats the 720QM in almost all metrics, and only dissipates 35 watts vs. the Clarksfield-based chips that burn 45 watts. The magic of 32nm process… More stats here:

    http://www.notebookcheck.net/Mobile-Processors-Benchmarklist.2436.0.html

    –Bill

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