The dv9000t has a typical array of ports and connections for a desktop replacement, and they're well distributed and clearly labeled. You get one four-pin-FireWire and four USB 2.0 connections, plus a VGA out, an S-Video out, a 5-in-1 media card reader (Secure Digital, Memory Stick, Memory Stick Pro, MultiMediaCard, and xD), and a slot for the latest ExpressCards. In addition to a microphone jack, there are two headphone jacks--great for sharing movies and music with friends--one of which supports S/PDIF output. Networking options include an Ethernet jack, a modem, and integrated Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. The aforementioned HD-DVD drive is also a double-layer DVD burner with LightScribe, which lets you burn your own labels onto compatible discs.
Our Pavilion dv9000t preview unit ran on Windows XP Professional, but the default configuration for consumers will include Windows XP Media Center Edition. HP bundles a decent amount of software with the system, including the Microsoft Works 8 productivity suite, basic photo-editing software, and applications for disc viewing and burning.
We tested an early build of the HP Pavilion dv9000t that featured a 2.16GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7400 processor; however, that processor will not be offered on the system in the near future (for now, the dv9000t will top out with the 2GHz Core 2 Duo T7200 chip). The rest of our configuration included 2GB of fast 667MHz RAM; two 100GB, 5,400rpm hard drives; and an Nvidia GeForce Go 7600 graphics card with 256MB of dedicated VRAM. This configuration, with the 2GHz Core 2 Duo T7200, costs $2,394; rebates and discounts currently available on the HP site shave $200 off the price. On CNET Labs' application benchmarks, the Pavilion dv9000t fell right between a Dell XPS M1710, configured with a slightly faster processor and hard drive, and a Gateway M685 with a previous-generation processor and less RAM. When it comes to battery life, though, the dv9000t triumphed: its battery held out for 3 hours, 19 minutes--longer than both the Dell's and the Gateway's and above average for a desktop replacement.
HP backs the Pavilion dv9000 with an industry-standard one-year warranty; the cost to extend the term to three years is a reasonable $85. Toll-free telephone support is available 24/7 during your warranty period, and the HP support Web site includes one of our favorite support features: real-time chat with a tech rep. If you want to troubleshoot problems yourself, you can search through the site's thorough FAQ database.