HP's CoolSense technology is quickly becoming standard across HP's laptop lines, and today it gets added to the massive 17-inch HP Envy 17 (and it also turns up in the new 11-inch Pavilion dm1). CoolSense is a control panel for setting fan performance, from maximum cooling to quietest operation. HP says its inclusion in the Envy 17 makes it "the first high-performance HP PC with advanced cooling technology."
The Envy 17 is also moving to Intel's second generation on Core i-series processors, but continuing to couple them with AMD graphics, namely the AMD Mobility Radeon HD 6850M. There's a certain level of automatic graphics switching built into the Envy 17, but it's not as transparent and adaptable as Nvidia's Optimus system (nor, according to our sources, is it likely to be anytime soon). That said, a 17-inch laptop is likely to spend most of its time plugged in, so turning the GPU off and on automatically to save battery life isn't a top priority.
We like the current version of the Envy 17 a lot, especially as it's reasonably priced for an upscale desktop replacement, and includes Beats Audio technology.
Current versions are already available with active shutter 3D capabilities, and HP says, "Future models of the HP Envy 17 3D are expected to include DDD's TriDef 3D Experience Ignition Game Player, allowing users to experience immersive 3D stereoscopic gaming at no additional cost." We've used TriDef 3D software in other 3D laptops with polarized screens and glasses; to be charitable, it's not a very satisfying experience. The current 3D version of the Envy 17 works just fine, even though it doesn't use the industry standard Nvidia 3D Vision platform. It's worth noting that HP also positions the 3D Envy 17 as a system for 3D movie viewing, not gaming.
The updated HP Envy 17 doesn't have a street date or price yet, but the previous model started at $1,599.