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HP Compaq Presario 3045us review: HP Compaq Presario 3045us

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The Good Low price; long-lasting battery; huge display; four USB 2.0 ports.

The Bad Big and heavy; no integrated wireless networking.

The Bottom Line Homebodies who rarely travel with their notebooks will appreciate this desktop replacement's big screen, ample components, and decent price.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

8.0 Overall
  • Design 8
  • Features 8
  • Performance 8
  • Battery 9
  • Support 7

Review Sections

Compaq's Presario 3000 comes ever closer to crossing the thin line between laptop and desktop PC. This desktop replacement's giant, 8.1-pound case sports a huge, 16-inch screen; Intel's fast 2GHz Pentium 4 desktop processor; and an oversized battery. While the sum of these parts makes for one of the biggest notebooks you can buy, it also equals plenty of speed and long battery life. Additional highlights include an integrated DVD/CD-RW drive; a comfortable keyboard; four fast USB 2.0 ports; and a great $1,699 starting price. It all adds up to a great notebook for home users who rarely leave their abodes. If you take your notebook on the road often, consider a lighter system, such as the Compaq Evo N410c. Compaq's Presario 3000 smooths out the rough, square edges of its predecessor, the Presario 2800, offering rounded sides that give the system a more-polished look. Aside from its tough, magnesium-alloy lid, the Presario 3000 features gray plastic everywhere. Plastic may not be as sturdy as other notebook materials, but it keeps the system lighter. Otherwise, we can't imagine how heavy this system would get; as it is, the Presario 3000's base weight runs an immense 8.1 pounds (9.3 pounds with the AC adapter).

Such enormous heft is mostly due to the huge, bright, 16-inch display, which also contributes to the laptop's substantial 13.8-by-11.8-by-1.8-inch dimensions. Though this size would send frequent fliers to the chiropractor, it has many advantages for homebodies. The case offers enough room for a wide, comfy keyboard with a standard touchpad (no pointing-stick option exists) and two mouse buttons underneath. It also features four speakers: two above the keyboard and two in either wrist-rest corner, which produce clear sound for a notebook.



Your hands might muffle the two speakers in the wrist rest.


An ample selection of USB 2.0 ports will keep your peripherals happy.


Finally, the big case allows for just about everything you need in the world of ports, slots, and drives--except a floppy. On the right edge live volume up/down buttons, headphone/microphone jacks, an integrated DVD/CD-RW drive, and one Type II PC Card slot. Along the back, you'll find parallel, VGA, Ethernet, S-Video-out, 56K modem, and four fast USB 2.0 ports. A FireWire port is on the left. There are no CD controls on the outside edge.

Wireless 802.11b networking (Wi-Fi) is also unfortunately absent. Compaq says it will offer Wi-Fi in future Presario 3000s. For now, you'll have to settle for a less convenient Wi-Fi PC Card that will fill your single slot, which prevents you from simultaneously adding other cards such as Bluetooth.


HP keeps a tight rein on the Presario 3000's components, offering just two preconfigured choices. The Presario 3000us that we reviewed contains a 2GHz Pentium 4 processor and a 40GB hard drive, while the Presario 3015us features a 2.4GHz P4 and a 60GB hard drive; it also costs about $200 more. Those are the only differences between the two. Otherwise, each carries 512MB of fast 266MHz DDR SDRAM; a SIS M650 graphics chip that shares up to 64MB of video RAM with main memory; an enormous, 14.8V, 5,800mAh battery; an integrated DVD/CD-RW drive; and a 16-inch display with a 1,280x1,024 native resolution that keeps costs in check but won't do a fabulous job rending the most-detailed graphics.



The DVD/CD-RW combo drive is not swappable.


The 16-inch screen has a 1,280x1,024 native resolution.


Both of the preset models are well stocked and affordable, and by going with these choices, you spare yourself the headache of having to configure a notebook. However, we wish HP also offered integrated 802.11b wireless (Wi-Fi) and provided the option to upgrade at least a couple of components so that users can customize their systems. You get lots of memory when you buy, but be aware that adding memory is a chore; when we tried to order extra RAM on hpshopping.com, we were redirected to HP's small- and medium-business store, where the most recent Presario notebook listed was the 2800.

The Presario 3000's full software bundle includes Microsoft's Works 6.0 mini-office suite, Money 2001, Microsoft Productivity Suite, InterVideo WinDVD, and Norton AntiVirus 2002. A single yet acceptable operating system choice--Windows XP Home--comes preloaded.


Mobile application performance
The Presario 3000 offered better-than-average mobile performance in CNET Labs' tests. It placed second in this test group, 10 points behind the much more expensive Dell Inspiron 8200. The Presario 3000 used a shared memory architecture with its video subsystem, which in the past has been known to adversely affect performance, and we noticed it here. But the drop-off wasn't significant in this case, in part due to the Presario's 2GHz P4 and 512MB of RAM.

Mobile application performance
Time is measured in minutes; longer bars indicate better performance
Dell Inspiron 8200
146 
Compaq Presario 3000
136 
Sony VAIO PCG-GRX670
114 
 
SysMark2002 performance
The Presario 3000's shared memory architecture reared its ugly head again and, this time, in slightly more dramatic fashion. The Presario 3000 came in last place in maximum performance. But the difference between the Compaq and its peers was again not huge enough to make a very noticeable difference in real-world performance, particularly for such an affordable desktop replacement.

Maximum application performance test
Longer bars indicate better performance
BAPCo SysMark2002 rating   
SysMark2002 Internet content creation   
SysMark2002 office productivity   
Dell Inspiron 8200
185 
258 
133 
Sony VAIO PCG-GRX670
181 
261 
125 
Compaq Presario 3000
168 
246 
115 
 
To measure maximum notebook application performance, CNET Labs uses BAPCo's SysMark2002, an industry-standard benchmark. Using off-the-shelf applications, SysMark measures a desktop's performance using office-productivity applications (such as Microsoft Office and McAfee VirusScan) and Internet-content-creation applications (such as Adobe Photoshop and Macromedia Dreamweaver).

3D graphics performance
The shared memory architecture of the Presario 3000 also slowed it down in this test. This time the architecture's victim was 3D graphics, where it came up short. The Presario's strengths are many and varied, but it's not a notebook that would perform brilliantly on games.

3D graphics performance test
Longer bars indicate better performance
Dell Inspiron 8200
5,097 
Sony VAIO PCG-GRX670
5,055 
Compaq Presario 3000
1,066 
 
To measure 3D graphics performance, CNET Labs uses Futuremark's 3DMark2001 SE. We use 3DMark to measure desktop replacement notebook performance with the DirectX 8.1 interface at the 32-bit color setting at a resolution of 1,024x768.

Find out more about how we test notebook systems.


System configurations:

Compaq Presario 3000
Windows XP Home; 2GHz Intel Pentium 4-M; 448MB DDR SDRAM 266MHz; SIS M650 64MB (shared); Toshiba MK4018GAP 40GB 4,200rpm

Dell Inspiron 8200
Windows XP Pro; 2GHz Intel Pentium 4-M; 512MB DDR SDRAM 266MHz; Nvidia GeForce4 440 32MB; Toshiba MK4019GAX 40GB 5,400rpm

Sony VAIO PCG-GRX570
Windows XP Home; 1.6GHz Intel Pentium 4-M; 512MB DDR SDRAM 266MHz; ATI Mobility Radeon 7500 32MB; Toshiba MK4018GAS 40GB 4,200rpm


In this test group of notebooks with equal-speed processors, the biggest battery won. The Presario 3000, with its 14.8V, 5,800mAh battery, smoked the competition in battery-life tests. It stayed alive for 3 hours, 5 minutes, beating the other two by more than 25 minutes. The Dell Inspiron 8200 with its 14.8V, 4,460mAh battery came in second, and the Sony VAIO PCG-GRX670 with its 14.8V, 4,000mAh battery finished last.

MobileMark2002 battery-life test
Time is measured in minutes; longer bars indicate better performance
Compaq Presario 3000
185 
Dell Inspiron 8200
159 
Sony VAIO PCG-GRX670
147 
 
To measure mobile application performance and battery life, CNET Labs uses BAPCo's MobileMark2002. MobileMark measures both applications performance and battery life concurrently using a number of popular applications (Microsoft Word 2002, Microsoft Excel 2002, Microsoft PowerPoint 2002, Microsoft Outlook 2002, Netscape Communicator 6.0, WinZip Computing WinZip 8.0, McAfee VirusScan 5.13, Adobe Photoshop 6.0.1, and Macromedia Flash 5.0).

System configurations:

Compaq Presario 3000
Windows XP Home; 2GHz Intel Pentium 4-M; 448MB DDR SDRAM 266MHz; SIS M650 64MB (shared); Toshiba MK4018GAP 40GB 4,200rpm

Dell Inspiron 8200
Windows XP Pro; 2GHz Intel Pentium 4-M; 512MB DDR SDRAM 266MHz; Nvidia GeForce4 440 32MB; Toshiba MK4019GAX 40GB 5,400rpm

Sony VAIO PCG-GRX570
Windows XP Home; 1.6GHz Intel Pentium 4-M; 512MB DDR SDRAM 266MHz; ATI Mobility Radeon 7500 32MB; Toshiba MK4018GAS 40GB 4,200rpm


HP throws in the usual one-year notebook warranty with the Presario 3000. Free mail-in service and toll-free, 24/7 phone support fill out this standard mix. You can extend the warranty, but the length and price will depend on the reseller from which you buy the notebook. If you buy through HP, you must inconveniently call the company directly to purchase anywhere from one to two extra years of mail-in or onsite service for $79 up to $149.

HP does a good job with reference materials, including a quick-setup poster, a getting-started print manual, and a safety and comfort brochure. The Presario 3000's detailed setup guide comes on CD, as do many user guides these days. You can also tap the HP Web site for help, which includes Compaq's cool customer communities but lacks much FAQ info.

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