Totally excited about the upcoming 17 inch HP Elitebook 8740w? Then there’s even more exciting news! It’s obvious now that, not only does the Core i7 Quad, 4 DIMM RAM slot sporting Elitebook 8740w want your attention before you drop several grand on a MacBook Pro 17 “for graphics design”… it also wants to be an Asus G73 (a gaming notebook, the only one in the market at the moment with ATI Mobility Radeon 5870 graphics) fighter as well. A reliable source who only wishes to be known as “HP Fan” has posted findings on their recent hands-on with the ATI FirePro M7820 equipped Elitebook 8740w, that the FirePro M7820 is based off the consumer top-of-the-line (for mobile graphics) ATI Mobility Radeon 5870! Like its consumer counterpart, the workstation-class FirePro M7820 supports DirectX 11, has a huge 1 GB of memory and sips a humble 50W at max (compared to 100W of the top Nvidia Quadro FX3800M card).
Want proof? HP Fan has discovered that CPU-Z lists the Elitebook 8740w’s FirePro M7820 to have GPU and memory clock listings of 700 Mhz and 1000 Mhz respectively (which is in-line with the listings detected by CPU-Z in various reviews of the Asus G73 + ATI Mobility Radeon 5870, and also specifications on AMD’s official website). Even better yet, the ATI FirePro M7820 in the Elitebook 8740w has apparently the more powerful GDDR5 memory (because weaker GDDR3 and DDR3 variations of the Mobility Radeon 5870 exist) and it scores 12,249 points in 3D Mark 06 (even when unfortunately paired with a comparatively, lowly Core i5 520M dual core processor); ORB even lists the card as “ATI Mobility Radeon 5870” (!!!).
The sad part to all this good news? If you’re looking to go for the color-precise DreamColor display option HP offers, you can only pick a Nvidia card to go with it. However, if you’re not some photographer, hardcore graphics designer, or work at DreamWorks… just someone who wants a computer for “regular” CAD and design work, which can also double as a very nice gaming notebook, then the HP Elitebook 8740w with ATI graphics is probably for you. Pair it up with a Core i7 (Quad) processor and the Elitebook 8740w + ATI FirePro M7820 can effectively become a nice alternative that’s lighter and more compact than the Asus G73 gaming notebook (and also the Alienware M17x gaming notebook). Nice!
So to get DreamColor (and forced with Nvidia graphics, at the moment) or butt-kicking ATI graphics? That is the question… but just remember that the ATI FirePro M7820 supports DirectX 11 (Quadro FX3800M) doesn’t, performs better (in gaming, at least) while consuming half the power of the FX3800M and is a whopping $895 cheaper than the FX3800M (strange, isn’t it) using HP’s CTO notebook configurator. It’s also noteworthy that “HP Fan” says there will definitely be a new graphics card option towards later this year for the Elitebook 8740w, and it’s probably Nvidia “Fermi Quadro for Mobile” (say that three times as fast).