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HP puts desktop replacement on a diet: the dv8000

HP puts desktop replacement on a diet: the dv8000

HP updated its flagship desktop-replacement laptop today, announcing the Pavilion dv8000. Joining the dv family (along with the dv4000 and the dv1000), the dv8000 makes some significant departures from the Pavilion zd8000, which it will replace in HP's consumer lineup. For one, HP has abandoned Intel: the dv8000 runs a 2.2GHz AMD Turion 64 processor and ATI's Radeon Xpress 200m GPU. Our preliminary testing shows that this move has cost the dv8000 some performance points: it ran about 20 percent slower than the Pentium 4-fueled zd8000 in our benchmarks and delivered ghastly results in our Doom 3 gaming test. Nevertheless, the dv8000's overall performance is on a par with that of most of today's desktop replacements, including the $2,850 Dell Inspiron 9300*, the $2,800 Sony VAIO VGN-A690*, and the $2,450 Fujitsu LifeBook N6210*. Although Turion may not pack as much power as Pentium, it seems to run more efficiently; the dv8000 lasted for 3.5 hours in our battery drain test.

The dv8000 really shines in the design department. At 7.5 pounds (8.6 with its AC adapter), it's about 2 pounds lighter than the zd8000 and 1 to 2 pounds lighter than the Dell, the Sony, or the Fujitsu. The dv8000 still has a 17-inch wide-screen display (which still looks a bit dim), a great keyboard with a separate number pad, and a full (and nicely laid-out) set of features and connections. Here are some highlights:

* Instant-on, which HP calls QuickPlay
* Remote control that fits in the PC Card slot
* Hard drive capacity up to 240GB
* Double-layer DVD burner with LightScribe
* 6-in-1 media card reader
* Four USB 2.0, 1 FireWire, S-Video out
* One year of standard tech support, which is not to be taken lightly, now that Dell's skimping with a 90-day plan.

On HP's site this morning, we're seeing the Pavilion dv8000 start at $899 after rebates. A fully loaded version will probably put you closer to $1,500 or more. HP will start shipping the dv8000 on November 9, 2005, and we'll have our full review up well before then.

* Note: these numbers reflect pricing at the time of review; these laptops are likely less expensive now.