First Look Review: HP Compaq nw9440 Mobile Workstation

19 Sep, 2006 By: Ron LaFon

Lightning-fast laptop lives up to mobile workstation billing.

Highly Recommended The HP Compaq nw9440 arrived just as we finished the mobile workstation roundup in the August issue of Cadalyst. It's too bad this system didn't arrive in time to be included in that report, as its performance numbers are noteworthy.

Based on an Intel Core Duo Processor T2600 (2.16GHz), the nw9440 mobile workstation as tested included 2GB of DDR2 SDRAM, out of a possible 4GB when fully populated with memory. The system also incorporated an 80GB 7,200RPM hard drive and an NVIDIA Quadro FX 1500M graphics controller with 256MB of GDDR3 video

HP Compaq nw9440
Mobile workstation
Pros: Great performance; very good battery life; lots of great features.
Cons: None significant.
Price: $3,699 as tested


memory. This was Cadalyst's the first opportunity to test a Quadro FX 1500M.

The nw9440 provides a WUXGA wide-viewing-angle, 17" display with a native resolution of 1920x1200. The displayed image is crisp and bright, and the system features an ambient light sensor that adjusts the displayed image to the environment in which it is being used.

Measuring a relatively trim 1.3" (front) x 15.5" (W) x 10.8" (D), the system accommodates a full-sized keyboard with a separate numeric keypad, which makes it very easy to use. Weight as tested was a moderate 7.4lb -- not bad for a system classified as a mobile workstation. It provides extensive connectivity options, so linking with other systems or the outside world presented no problems.

The HP Compaq nw9440 is one system that truly deserves the mobile workstation label.

On the test bench, the HP Compaq nw9440 showed that it well deserves the label mobile workstation. Running at a resolution of 1280x1024 with AutoCAD 2005 (SP1 installed), the nw9440 produced a C2006 Cadalyst Systems Benchmark total index score of 149 -- faster than any system included in the August mobile workstation roundup. With the resolution raised to the default 1920x1200, the C2006 total index dropped only to 136 -- also an exceptionally good number. On the MAXBench4 benchmark running under Autodesk 3ds Max 8 with Service Pack 3 installed, the system produced a combined and averaged high/low score of 71.26 with the base video drivers (v. and 144.59 with the NVIDIA MAXtreme accelerated driver v.8.00.03. Finally, I ran the ProE-04 benchmark from SPECviewPerf 9, which produced a weighted geometric mean score of 30.31.

In Cadalyst Labs Reviews, most recent models of HP laptops and mobile workstations featured exceptionally good battery life, and the HP Compaq nw9440 is no exception to this. I performed our two standard run-down tests, both with polling services such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth disabled to prevent extra drain on the battery. The first test was a simple run-down test with the system idle. The nw9440 lasted 3 hours, 15 minutes before going into hibernation. After the battery was fully recharged, I began the second test with the system running a continuous loop of the Cadalyst C2006 benchmark. On this test, the run-down time for the eight-cell (68 watt-hours) lithium ion battery was 2 hours, 3 minutes before hibernation. These battery-life numbers are quite good and represent average conditions -- you could probably eke more battery life out of the system with a little effort.

As configured for this review, the HP Compaq nw9440 mobile workstation costs a relatively moderate $3,699, though models in the series start at $2,299. The pricing includes three-year warranty coverage on parts and labor (with no onsite service coverage) and 24-hour replacement parts and telephone support. Several accessories are available, including a docking base station. The system has extensive ISV certifications for CAD and engineering applications.

With its high performance, very good battery life, extensive connectivity options and numerous other great features, the HP Compaq nw9440 mobile workstation easily earns Cadalyst's Highly Recommended rating.
Highly Recommended.

About the Author: Ron LaFon

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