Hardware Review: HP EliteBook 8730w
[ Back ]   [ More News ]   [ Home ]
Hardware Review: HP EliteBook 8730w

HP’s Most Powerful Mobile Workstation Performs Well Under Pressure

I don’t often review mobile workstations, but when HP offered the EliteBook 8730w, I welcomed the opportunity – primarily for some of the unique features it has, but more about those later. I’m an MCAD guy, and wanted to see how it performed with a Beta version of SolidWorks 2010. I also ran a series of simple benchmarks from the Standard Performance Evaluation Corporation (SPEC) that I’ll briefly discuss, as well.

Opening the Box and Getting Started

Upon arrival, I unboxed the unit and was immediately taken with the physical size of the EliteBook 8730w not as bulky as I had imagined it might be. However, weighing in at almost eight pounds (not including the AC power adapter) and the closed unit measuring 1.3” x 15.5” x 11.1”, the 8730w is classified as a mobile workstation, but with those physical attributes, it’s more workstation than mobile.

The evaluation unit came loaded with Windows XP Pro (SP2), although it could have easily run under Windows Vista, an Intel Core 2 Extreme Q9300 @ 2.53 GHz CPU, and 4 GB RAM. Enhanced graphics capabilities were provided by an NVIDIA Quadro FX 3700M, a GPU developed specifically for high-end mobile workstations. With 1 GB memory, it provided excellent image quality, and optimized visual computing application performance, complementing the overall 8730w package.

The keyboard has HP’s DuraKeys for longevity and is a very generous size with a separate dedicated numeric keypad and plenty of room to rest your wrists. Even though the keyboard did have a large span, it did not flex at all, owing to the amount of metal (aluminum) used for the interior structure and exterior shell. Something that may take some getting used to is a third button on the touch pad that can tend to get in the way. Overall, the build quality is excellent with a solid feel. It seems very durable and is thinner than its competition.

One of the key selling points for the 8730w is its high-end DreamColor display with 1920 x 1200 (WUXGA) resolution. If you have to peer at a computer screen all day, the 8730w’s display offers welcome relief because of its resolution and brightness.

Keeping in mind the sheer size and capabilities of this machine, I suspected battery life for the W700 would not be too impressive. However, while performing some basic computer operations (including Web browsing, photo editing, and part creation and manipulation with SolidWorks 2010), I was able to get just under three hours of life before I was warned to plug the 8730w in for recharging. All in all, not too bad a time away from an outlet for a machine of this size and performance level.

Under conditions when the CPU wasn’t being pushed too hard, the 8730w never got much warmer than the ambient room temperature in my office. However, when I was working with large assemblies in SolidWorks and when the benchmark tests were being run, the cooling fan ran constantly and was actually quite loud, pushing a lot of hot air – not obnoxious, but definitely noticeable.

Overall, though, the 8730w was enjoyable to use from visual, tactile, and performance points of view.

Below are the configuration and pricing details of the HP EliteBook 8730w review unit.

Note that the Blu-ray writer, which is included in the price tag above, adds $390 to the overall cost. There is also an optional 80 GB SSD available for the EliteBook 8730w.

I ran a fundamental SPEC benchmark suite (SPECviewperf 10) on the EliteBook 8730w. The benchmarking software provides performance measurement for full-scene anti-aliasing and multithreading for evaluating higher-quality imaging and multi-core systems. It also measures how effectively graphics subsystems scale when running multithreaded graphics content. The numbers below compare very favorably, and in a few instances, superior, to competing conventional and mobile workstations from companies such as Dell and Lenovo that are listed on the SPEC website:

I also ran a Beta version of SolidWorks 2010 Premium on the 8730w and it performed both basic design tasks and tasks involving an assembly with over 10,000 component parts quite handily. The large assembly was a good test for the resolution and performance of the DreamColor display, and it passed with flying colors.

For the past few years, several notebook computers have been touted as “desktop replacements. The HP EliteBook 8730w is an example of the next phase, “workstation replacements,” and it represents this new class very well. This mobile workstation is not perfect, but stands out as a well-designed, quality offering in this class of machine and could support the MCAD community quite well.

HP EliteBook 8730w
High-End Mobile Workstation

Pros: Brilliant and sharp DreamColor display; good industrial design; solid build and feel; optional Flash SSD (expensive, but available).

Cons: Beyond the sometimes noisy cooling fan, none significant.

For More Information on the HP EliteBook 8730w Mobile Workstation

The Week’s Top 5

At MCADCafé we track many things, including the stories that have attracted the most interest from our subscribers. Below are the five news items that were the most viewed during last week.

Boeing Subsidiary Uses SolidWorks to Expand 2D-to-3D Conversion Business
Continental DataGraphics (CDG), a Boeing subsidiary, has purchased SolidWorks to meet the increasing demand for 2D-to-3D file conversion. The SolidWorks tools will support CDG’s internal requirements to support Boeing projects. CDG authors and publishes illustrated parts catalogs and maintenance manuals to support all Boeing commercial aircraft worldwide. As part of that work, the CDG graphics team uses SolidWorks software to convert 2D pictures of parts into 3D models for use in publishing and engineering. “We recognized that a lot of other companies, like those in trucking, energy, and other industries using complex equipment, have similar needs,” said Josh Migdal, CDG production manager. “Because SolidWorks accepts and outputs a wide range of file formats, we have been able to expand our engineering services capabilities to convert 2D pictures into 3D models for a broader range of customers across multiple industries.” SolidWorks also enables CDG to repurpose 3D data to 2D isometric projections for Component Maintenance Manuals (CMMs) and Illustrated Parts Catalog (IPC) technical illustrations. SolidWorks software includes bi-directional translators that support DWG, DXF, Pro/ENGINEER, IPT (Autodesk Inventor), Mechanical Desktop, Unigraphics, PAR (Solid Edge), CADKEY, IGES, STEP, Parasolid, SAT (ACIS), VDA-FS, VRML, STL, TIFF, JPG, Adobe Illustrator, Rhinoceros, IDF, and HSF (Hoops) formats.

CIMdata Releases its 2009 PLM Market Analysis Report: Comprehensive Information and Analysis of the PLM Market
CIMdata announced the availability of its annual PLM Market Analysis Report. The report provides detailed information and in-depth analysis on the worldwide PLM market. It contains analyses of major trends and issues, leading PLM solution suppliers, PLM purchases investments in software and services for geographical regions and industry sectors, and historical and projected data about market growth. The PLM Market Analysis Report comes in two modules—Module 1 presents CIMdata’s overview of the PLM market, overall market statistics, an analysis of PLM suppliers’ performance in 2008, and CIMdata’s overall forecast for 2009 through 2013. It also includes information about the evolution of the PLM market and the trends that will drive the market in the coming years. Module 2 builds on the information presented in Module 1 by providing detailed 2008 geographic and industry revenue results, and forecasts for 2009 to 2013. The PLM Market Analysis Report is sold as a stand-alone report or as part of the CIMdata PLM Community Gold membership. It is also important to note that in this report, CIMdata has revised its estimates of growth based on the poor results of the first half of 2009. The first half-year results have been disappointing, and indicate a potentially longer delay in the restart of the economy and in investments getting back to their previous good levels. The forecasts address the impact of the current economic downturn and indicate CIMdata’s estimates as to how the PLM market will recover. The Table of Contents and further details including pricing information about the report are available on CIMdata’s web site at www.cimdata.com. In addition, the 2009 PLM Market Analysis Report presents an analysis of the 2008 PLM market with special descriptions of each of the major sub-segments, including:
ANSYS Harnessing the Power of Ocean Waves
Green Ocean Energy Ltd, a UK-based renewable energy company, is using technology from ANSYS to develop devices that will reliably generate renewable power from the motion of the seas. The project’s complex development process includes rigorous technical requirements, severe environmental conditions and strict product delivery deadlines. Green Ocean Energy identified the engineering simulation tools from ANSYS as a critical element in getting the product to market. With rising fuel costs and environmental concerns, governments and organizations around the world are focusing on clean, safe, sustainable, and alternative energy sources for power generation. Green Ocean Energy is developing two innovative devices that will harness the waters of the north Atlantic: the Ocean Treader and Wave Treader. They are designed to bob on the surface of the ocean while waves cause attached floating arms to move up and down to power on-board generators. Electricity is sent back to shore via underwater cables. Each machine is designed to produce 500 KW of electricity — enough to power 125 homes — so a farm of 30 such devices would have a rating of 15 MW. Hydrodynamic and structural analysis tools from ANSYS are being applied to address one of the primary challenges: reaching a balance between structural strength and weight restrictions. With an expected 25-year design life, the machines must withstand rough waters and gale-force winds; conversely, structural members must be lightweight to keep production costs within budget and to allow for sufficient floatation.

Siemens AG Adopts Teamcenter Software as Its Corporate-Wide Standard
Siemens PLM Software announced that Siemens AG has adopted Teamcenter software as its corporate-wide standard for product data management (PDM). Teamcenter will serve as the foundation for Siemens’ PLM process. The PDM software tools in Teamcenter deliver core functionality for the complete PLM process. As Siemens’ new corporate standard, Teamcenter will address functional areas in engineering and product design – such as product structure management, configuration management, product structure workflow and release management – in all of its deployments throughout the Siemens global enterprise. The decision to standardize on Teamcenter is effective immediately and applies to all Siemens units and majority holdings.

Job Shop ERP Software MIE Trak 10.4 Released From MIE Solutions
MIE Solutions released version 10.4 of its production control software for the manufacturing industry. MIE Trak can be used for quoting, estimating, order entry, quote letter, router, work order, costing, purchasing, receiving, raw material, inventory, shipping, invoicing, and finished goods, scheduling, tracking, accounting, EDI module, shop overview, shipping and invoicing reports, human resource, quality control, document management, RFQ management, asset management, preventive maintenance, nesting and QuickBooks integration. This is a continuation of new releases each 4-5 months shows that there has been great improvement in the product and its capabilities. This is one of the largest feature releases that include a new human resources module and a new quality control module. MIE Trak 10.4 has just been released which covers over 100 new enhancements and changes to the 10.3 released product.

Jeffrey Rowe is the editor of  MCADCafé and MCAD Weekly Review. He can be reached at Email Contact or 408.850.9230.

This Week

Lead Story

Hardware Review: HP EliteBook 8730w

Product and Company News

Hardware Review: Solido SD300Pro Desktop 3D Printer

Autodesk Announces New AutoCAD Plant 3D 2010 Software

ANSYS and SpaceClaim Streamline Engineering Design and Simulation Driven Product Development

Longview Advisors Announces 2009 Collaboration & Interoperability Industry Survey

CAD Schroer Announces New Release of MEDUSA4 - Version 4.0

Javelin Technologies Announces Partnership with Solido

PartMaker Version 2010 to Make North American Debut

PTC Extends PLM Leadership with Otis Elevators’ Switch to Windchill

Sescoi Releases New Guide on Benefits of 'ease of use' applied to CADCAM

T-Flex Parametric and TraceParts partner to offer unlimited access to millions of 3D native T-Flex models.

Kineo CAM Announces a new software library for 3D software editors

Vero win 'Best Engineering Software' at the DPA Innovation awards

Autodesk Offers Wide Variety of Resources and Support for Education Community

Hytrol Conveyor Company selects IFS Applications for configure/engineer-to-order manufacturing

Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins LLP Files Class Action Suit against Immersion Corporation

CIMdata Releases a Review of IFS’ Project-Based PLM Support Capabilities

MIT and Stylus Automotive Have Chosen ThinkDesign to Design the Eco Friendly Car, VDS Vision 100, Designed for India

Delcam’s PartMaker and DMG Gital Partner for Productivity

The new 2009.2 release of think3’s PLM solution presents many optimized features

TOMCO wins more business with SESCOI's WorkNC

LEDAS Geometric Constraint Solver LGS 3D Is Licensed By Joe Gibbs Racing

Avatech Solutions Announces New Exclusive Client Service

Cost-Optimized Process Plan with AutoForm^plus R1

3DIcon Snapshot: A Progress Update

Lattice Technology Announces r.a.p.s. as a New Reseller

BOXX Offers Real-Time Editing Engine From Matrox

PDXpert PLM 2010 Edition Updates Multiple BOMs, Searches Design Files

Avatech Solutions Challenges Top Digital Designers to 'Render Us Speechless'

Turkish Aerospace Industries Selects VISTAGY’s FiberSIM Software to Accelerate UAV Development Program

HP and Designer Vivienne Tam Team Again on New Digital Clutch Chic

Related MCAD News

Henke Associates announces Special Edition of PTK

Tips for Generating Innovations in Electronic Product Development

Infor Experiences Record Growth in Latin America

Delcam establishes Healthcare Division

HP Ushers in New Era of Consumer Printing with Full Suite of Print Solutions

Autodesk Sees Strong Customer Adoption of New Flare Visual Effects Software

IBC Advanced Alloys Joins the Aerospace Industries Association

HP and Informatica Expand Alliance to Optimize Business Performance for Customers

Right Hemisphere Selects Nextspace as Global Education Partner

Emailable Factory and Plant Designs in MPDS4 Version 4.0

Mentor Graphics Announces 21st Annual PCB Technology Leadership Awards Program Winners

Matrox Announces Matrox MXO2 LE - Portable, Professional I/O for the Mac with Matrox MAX Technology for Faster Than Realtime H.264 Encoding

SAMTECH opens new subsidiary in Japan

Industry Events

FISHER/UNITECH Announces Virtual Job Fair for Engineers

GibbsCAM Demonstrated at Upcoming R3 Mazak Event

ESPRIT 2009, by DP Technology, at the Wisconsin Machine Tool Show, Milwaukee, WI

SAMTECH to demonstrate Wind Turbine Structural Dynamics at EOW2009

Omnify Software to Host Sixth Annual Customer Conference

Siemens to Showcase Joint PLM and Production Systems Solutions for Machine Tool Industry at EMO Milano 2009

HP Strengthens Graphics Portfolio with New Solutions and Alliances at PRINT 09

Web Presentation: Optimize Chassis, Venting and Airflow Design in Electronics Enclosures Mentor Graphics, Mechanical Analysis Division

GibbsCAM MTM Solutions to be Highlighted at EMO 2009

ESPRIT 2009 by DP Technology at South-Tec Advanced Productivity Exposition, Charlotte, NC

Delcam to host aerospace seminar with Dormer Tools and DMG

ESPRIT 2009 by DP Technology at the Canadian Manufacturing Technology Show, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Delcam Crispin's latest orthotics design software on show in Quebec

MFGTech will show latest Edgecam release – 2010 R1 - at WMTS.

PTC will host Technology Day 2009 Tour in Mexico

Webcast:Simulate Performance of Pipeline Survey Devices & Reduce Costs

Planit to Showcase Latest CAD/CAM Releases at EMO 2009

PTC to Speak at 4 Upcoming Investor Conferences

Delcam to show latest aerospace machining and inspection developments