For anyone who’s after workstation performance on the go, HP think they may have the answer. Their w-series EliteBooks have just been announced over in the US, where they’ll be available later this month, and according to HP their “highest-performing professional graphics and extreme processing power” make them ideal for VFX artists on the move.
There are three models due to hit our shelves: the high-powered EliteBook 8770w, the EliteBook 8570w and the most portable option, the EliteBook 8470w. Our 3D consultant Ben Kitching is pretty impressed with what he’s seen so far: “The new EliteBooks are powerful enough to run most 3D apps – some at a reduced level compared to a full workstation, but much better than nothing if you’re on the move. The important thing is that they support NVIDIA Quadro cards, allowing them to accelerate the pro apps much better than your standard laptops, which only have gaming class GPUs.”
“HP’s most powerful mobile workstation, the HP EliteBook 8770w, offers the highest-performing professional graphics and extreme processing power, and is highly configurable with a 17.3-inch diagonal display,” HP’s press release informs us. It’s available with DreamColour technology as an optional extra, so you can ensure colour consistency with an IPS display, and the AMD FirePro graphics engine and optional i7 processor mean you’ll have plenty of power. The basic model comes in at $1699, but expect to pay more if you go for the i7 model.
This “versatile and portable” model cuts down your screen real estate to 15.6″, but comes in at a slightly more affordable $1499. Like the larger 8770w, you can opt for DreamColour as an extra if you’re taking on colour critical work, and get your choice of FirePro or Quadro GPUs.
HP claim their $1329, 14″ model comes with “workstation-caliber graphics and powerful processing along with a business-rugged design”, although like the other models we have no exact specs for the graphics card or processor. One key thing to bear in mind is that this size isn’t available with DreamColour, so steer clear if you’re doing mostly colour critical work, and it only supports AMD’s FIrePro GPUs, not NVIDIA’s CUDA-enabled Quadros.
For anyone worried about the durability of their EliteBook, HP have this to say: “Designed specifically for the needs of professionals on the go, the HP EliteBook w-series features a magnesium aluminum chassis, a radial-brushed display cover that resists fingerprints, glass touchpads and precision aluminum-alloy hinges and HP Easy Access Doors to make them easy to open and keep them secure when closed. They meet stringent military standards (MIL-STD-810G) for dust, vibration, shock, altitude, drop, high temperature, low temperature, temperature shock.” (Sadly, we’ve not been able to persuade one of our 3D team to head off into the desert to test this claim yet, but we’re working on it.)
The w-series EliteBooks also include all HP’s usual business-friendly features: Smart Response Technology for faster startup, SRS Premium Sound PRO and Performance Advisor are all present and correct.