HP EliteBook 8560w WorkStation Review

With so many different laptops to choose from out on the market today. Makes trying to narrow down a laptop that will fit us damn near impossible. Granted while most can get away with a rinky dinky little “Tablet” for all of their needs, there are those who need to have a portable device that can do more then just read books, watch movies, or surf the net with.  This is where Laptops come in handy, it is specifically built for those of us who need to have that added horsepower that no Tablet can give us, especially when it pertains to “Gaming.” I am not talking about playing simple little browser based games either, I am talking about games that will bring most desktop computers to their knees, this type of gaming is not meant for “Tablets”. Even I have to agree that Tablets do serve a purpose, but like all things in the computer world they are limited by what their hardware can do.

Then there are those who need a laptop that can do more then just play games. It needs to render large images for movies, games and doing CAD (Computer Aided Design, in other words Architecture) type of work. This type of work requires a laptop specifically capable of being able to perform this task effortlessly. And not just any ole’ laptop can perform this task effortlessly, these laptops need to house a Professional Workstation Video Cards, while also having a CPU capable of handling large loads that will be placed on it. I bring forth the HP Workstation EliteBook 8560w. Like most Workstation based laptops, the 8560w is not geared for gaming, it is geared for rendering or using CAD based programs. It will also make short work of those programs that support Parallel Processing, for more information please visit this link HERE. Please select the company you are inquiring about, and AMD will give what programs are fully supported by OpenCL/Parallel Processing.

The 8560w Laptop

I decided to leave out the packaging, because all we get is the Workstation , and a power adapter in a box. First impression of this Workstation is that this has a utilitarian look and feel to it. It also uses an circular brushed aluminum cover with a HP on the top. The HP symbol does light up white, I personally wished HP left this completely out.

Unlike the HP DV6-6135DX laptop I reviewed HERE, this Workstation requires us to push the center button to open up the Workstation . Once again HP uses a brushed aluminum skin on the center portion of the Workstation . Also that HP has a fairly large multigestural touch pad with a total of 6 mouse buttons right in the forward center of the Workstation . The screen I am pleased to see that HP used a non reflective screen covering. I got real tired of having things reflected back at me making it harder to see my screen on my other laptop.

An up close shot of the multigestural touch pad with the 6 mouse buttons. According to HP all six of these buttons are programmable. I have yet to test this potion out.

Looking at the on/off button. This looks awfully similar to the HP DV6-6135DX laptop.

Unlike the DV6-6135DX laptop, this Workstation comes with 4 added buttons located to the far right of the Workstation . These will turn on/off the wireless card, mute the sound, access our favorite browser quickly, and give use quick access to the Windows calculator.

This little orange button that sits right in the middle of the Workstation , is a finger operated mouse. In case the touch pad driving you nuts, you can move your pointer with this button as well. I found it to be rather sensitive, and a bit stiff, so tread lightly.

A good shot of the screen. As I stated this screen uses a matte finish making it loads easier for us to see our screen.

Time for me to see exactly is included on this Workstation as far as expandable ports. In the front center of this laptop is the locking mechanism for the screen.

To the far left, are the SD-MMC reader, and the activity lights. These lights light up orange/white depending on the state of the Workstation .

Making our way to the left side of the Workstation . towards the front of the Workstation are the Fire-wire 800 port, 2 USB 2 ports, an E-SATA port, and finally a Display Port hook up.

Towards the back of the 8560w Workstation is the rear side facing vent (do not block), and the 10/100/1000 Ethernet port.

Stepping out away to get you a better feel for how HP put this Workstation together. Now HP does include a Express Card/54 port, it is located directly below the USB ports.

Time for us to give the backside a good look over.

On the right hand side is where we hook up the AC power adapter.

Top the far left hand side, is the ever ancient modem.

Time for us to look at the right hand side of the Workstation .

Starting off the rear part of the Workstation , HP includes a D-SUB monitor port.

Towards the front of the right hand side are the SS USB ports (USB 3), and the headphone/mic 1/8″ ports.

Then right in the middle of the D-SUB/USB 3 ports is the DVD multi drive.

on the bottom side of the Workstation is where we can hook up an extra battery, or hook this laptop up to a docking station, and where we can add remove memory, HDDs, and or add other expandable cards to this Workstation .

One of the vents that is being used on the 8560w Workstation.

A better close up shot of the vent holes (do not block these).

To remove the battery, locate the far right hand side lock (if the Workstation battery is facing you).

Then slide that lock to the right and the battery can be removed.

To remove the cover so you can add/remove memory/HDDs. That lock is located on the left side. Then slide that lock to the left and the cover will pop out for you to remove it.

Then gently slide the cover towards the front of the Workstation and lift it off.

This is two of four memory expandable DIMMs on this Workstation , the other two are located underneath the keyboard and requires complete disassembly to gain access.

This wireless card has some range, well it better by using 3 wires instead of the traditional 2 we see on other laptops. The NIC and Wireless card uses Intel’s controller.

This is the HDD cage where we can change out the HDD to a bigger drive or to a SSD.

The 8560w Workstation does have a light up keyboard for when we need to read/type in the dark.

Specifications

Operating system Genuine Windows® 7 Professional 64
Processor Intel® Core™ i5-2540M (2.60 GHz, 3 MB L3 cache)
Processor technology Intel® Core™ i5
Chipset Mobile Intel® QM67 Express
Environmental BFR/PVC-free
Dimensions and weight
Weight Starting at 6.69 lb (Starting at 3 kg)
Dimensions (w x d x h) 15 x 10.1 x 1.36 in (38.2 x 25.75 x 3.45 cm)
Memory
Memory, maximum 32 GB 1333 MHz DDR3 SDRAM
(Four SODIMMS for a total of 32 GB of memory is available on quad-core systems only.)
Memory slots 4 SODIMM
Storage
Internal drive SATA II (7200 rpm)
Up to: 750 GB
Optical drive DVD+/-RW SuperMulti DL; DVD-ROM
Graphics
Display 15.6″ diagonal LED-backlit HD+ WVA anti-glare (1600 x 900);
Graphics AMD FirePro M5950 with 1 GB dedicated GDDR5 video memory
Expansion features
Ports 2 USB 3.0
1 USB 2.0
1 USB 2.0 charging
1 eSATA/USB combo
1 external VGA monitor
1 DisplayPort
1 1394a
1 stereo microphone in
1 stereo headphone/line-out
1 AC power
1 RJ-11
1 RJ-45
1 docking connector
1 secondary battery connector
Slots 1 Express Card/54
1 Smart Card Reader
1 SD/MMC
Audio SRS Premium Sound; Integrated stereo speakers; Dual-microphone array; Button for volume mute; function keys for volume up and down; Stereo headphone/line out; Stereo microphone/line in
Integrated camera HD webcam (select models)
Keyboard Full-sized spill-resistant keyboard with separate numeric keypad and drains
Input devices Touchpad with on/off button, two-way scroll, gestures, three pick buttons; Pointstick with three additional pointstick buttons
Communications
Network interface Integrated Intel 82579LM Gigabit Network Connection (10/100/1000 NIC)
Wireless HP hs2340 HSPA+ Mobile Broadband
HP un2430 EV-DO/HSPA Mobile Broadband
HP lt2510 EV-DO/LTE Mobile Broadband
Intel Centrino 802.11a/b/g/n
Atheros 802.11a/b/g/n
HP Integrated Module with Bluetooth 2.1+EDR Wireless Technology
Power and operating requirements
Energy efficiency ENERGY STAR® qualified configurations available
Power supply 200W Smart AC adapter; 150W Smart AC adapter; 120W Smart AC adapter
Battery  type 8-cell (83 WHr) Li-Ion battery
HP Long Life 8-cell (75 WHr) Li-Ion battery
Operating temperature range 32 to 95°F (0 to 35°C)
Security management
Security management HP ProtectTools Security Manager
Central Management capable
HP Fingerprint Sensor
Integrated Smart Card Reader
Enhanced Pre-Boot Security (Multiuser / Multifactor)
HP SpareKey
One-Step Logon
TPM 1.2 Embedded Security Chip
HP Disk Sanitizer
Security lock slot
Security screw for bottom access door
Support for Intel AT
What’s included
Software installed Roxio My DVD 2010 SE; Microsoft Office 2010 preloaded (purchase of a Product Key required to activate a full Office 2010 suite); Norton Internet Security 2011 (60-day subscription). Additional software included; see QuickSpecs for details.
Manageability features HP 3D DriveGuard (Windows only)
Warranty HP Services offers limited 3-year standard parts and labor onsite, next business day warranty, and toll-free 7 x 24 hardware technical phone support; 1-year limited warranty on primary battery. On-site service and warranty upgrades are also available.

As we can see there is quite a bit that this Workstation comes with. Now all I been able to locate on this laptop are 2 DIMMs for the memory. From looking at HPs website, the other 2 memory DIMMs are located underneath the keyboard and requires complete disassembly to gain access to them.

Testing Methodology

Like all second generation Core i5/i7 CPU’s from Intel they all utilize lower clock frequencies while they are just idling on the desktop. As you can see I am using two sticks of 4 GBs totaling my memory to 8 GBs, and that I have indeed dual channel enabled.

But once we start a program, that is when they ramp themselves to their peak performance frequencies. Now on HP site states this CPU is a Core i5 2540 2.6GHz, But CPU-z is showing me a 3 GHz CPU core frequency, this is because of Intel’s newest Turbo 2 capabilities. I am using wPrime (located behind the CPU-z SS, to ramp up the CPU to full load.

MSI Afterburener reports the video card indeed a AMD FIRE Pro 5950m, and that its frequencies are 725 Core, and 900 memory (due to the nature of GDDR5 memory you have to multiply this number by 4 for actual effective memory speed.) I wonder, can I overclock this video card.

MSI Afterburner allows me to max out the GPU Core speed. But does it hold that Core frequency of 775?

Hmm lets fire up Unigine Heaven 2.5 and verify. Nice, looks like that I can overclock the video card. Do I recommend overclocking the video card? NO, you are on your own if you do overclock the video card. Myself or the DGC do not take any responsibility for your actions, I am just here to report the facts.

Since this laptop is in a class all its own, I will just include this laptop in the results. On the benchmarking of this laptop I will not be using a lot of games/game benchmarks for the main reason this is a workstation laptop, and is geared more for rendering not gaming. Instead I will be using one of the most popular rendering benchmarks (as I have a friend who does do a lot of architectural design) SpecPerfVeiw. I will be including screen shots of the runs I performed on the HP 8560w Workstation laptop. To ensure my result are accurate I ran each benchmark a total of three runs per, then used the worst performing run for my results  from each of the benchmarks. There will be 4 benchmarks I could not get a screenshot of, I will have to use a Chart for these 4 benchmark runs I performed, for some odd reason I could not get a good screen shot of these benchmarks. Same rules apply for the other benchmarking runs.

I changed out the standard 500 GB SATA 3Gb/s HDD for my screaming Crucial 128 GB SATA 6Gb/s SSD; so your results will vary greatly from my own in regards to the storage benchmark runs. All other benchmarks should be similar to my numbers, as a SSD only speeds up load times, and not increase the computer performance. I should also mention that this laptop only came with 4 GB of memory, I added a second 4GB of memory so I can have dual channel capabilities. I recommend that if you do plan on purchasing this particular laptop, that you go ahead and buy the extra 4 GB of memory.

ALL TESTING WAS PERFORMED WITH OUT THE USE OF THE BATTERY, AND WHILE THIS WORKSTATION WAS PLUGGED INTO THE AC POWER ADAPTER WITH A USB POWERED LAPTOP COOLER

DO NOT PERFORM THIS TYPE OF TESTING UNLESS YOU ARE USING A LAPTOP COOLER.

General Usage

  • Windows 7 Experience
  • PCMark7

General HDD Testing

  • ATTO
  • AS SSD
  • HD Tune
  • CrystalDiskMark 3

General Memory Testing

  • SiSoft Bandwidth, Latency
  • Aida 64 Read, Write, Copy (Bandwidth), Latency

General CPU Testing

  • SiSoft Arithmetic, Multimedia
  • Aida 64, CPU Queen, VP8
  • Cyber link Power Director Converted a 19 minute movie to both an AVI, and a MPEG 4 HD maximum Quality
  • Bibble 5 Converted 100 RAW images to High Quality JPEG format
  • wPrime 32 Million/1024 Million calculations

General Rendering Testing

  • CineBench R11 64 Bit
  • POV Ray
  • SISoft GP/CPU/APU Processing, GP/CPU/APU Cryptography, GP/CPU/APU Bandwidth
  • Specviewperf Standard Benchmark run

General Gaming Testing

  • 3Mark06 Performance 1280 x 720
  • 3DMark Vantage Performance 1280 x 720
  • 3DMark11 Performance 1280 x 720
  • Unigine Heaven High, Tessellation Normal, DX 11, 1280 x 720
  • Dirt 3, High, DX 11 1280 x 720, 1600×900
  • Lost Planet 2, Medium, DX 11, 1280 x 720, 1600×900

General Usage

With the SSD my Windows Experience numbers look rather impressive.

Considering the 8560w laptop is using a dual core CPU, not to bad of performance levels with PCMark7. Hmm, makes me want to go out and get a Quad Core CPU for this Workstation.

General HDD Testing

ATTO

AS SSD

HD TUNE


CrystalDiskMark 3

Now The SSD SATA 6 Gb/s performance is right where it should be at; in fact, compared to the DV6-6135DX laptop, the 8560w Workstation is giving me better performance.

General Memory Testing

SiSoft Memory Bandwidth

SiSoft Latency

Aida 64 Read Bandwidth

Aida 64 Write Bandwidth

Aida 64 Copy Bandwidth

Aida 64 Latency

Intel’s newer CPU line up has always amazed me at the level of memory bandwidth we get from the newer CPU’s.

General CPU Testing

wPrime

SiSoft Arithmetic

SiSoft Multimedia

Aida 64 CPU Queen

Aida 64 CPU VP8

Cyberlink PowerDirector MP4

Cyberlink PowerDirector AVI

Bibble 5

Once again considering this is just a 2.6GHz Core i5 CPU, cranking out 3 GHz, not to shabby of performance. Clearly the 8560w Workstation will smoke the DV6-6135DX laptop.

General Rendering Testing

SiSoft GPU/CPU/APU Processing

SiSoft GPU/CPU/APU Cryptography

SiSoft GPU/CPU/APU Bandwidth

CineBench R11 64Bit

Specviewperf

POV Ray

Since I have not much experience in this area, so I will let those who are more experienced come to your conclusions. All I can say that I will start utilizing the Fire Pro more to gain a better understanding of how this video card truly works. But from what I can tell you from CineBench, POV Ray, as these are CPU bounded the performance levels are fairly good for a simple little ole’ dual core CPU.

General Gaming Testing

3DMark06

3DMark Vantage

3DMark11

Unigine Heaven 2.5 1280×720

Unigine Heaven 2.5 1600×900
Lostplanet 2Dirt 3

The 8560w Workstation is not geared up for gaming, is meant for rendering purposes. But if you want to play a game here and there, it will provide with some gaming capabilities. Lost Planet 2 (Or shall I say Lost Cause 2) shows to me that it is not optimized for PC, and that it is indeed another prime example of a SCREWED UP PORT, and that Game manufacturers are A BUNCH OF LAZY ASSES.

The Wrap Up

I apologize for not giving you ladies/gentlemen any insight on how the 8560w Workstation performs on a day to day basis. I am right in the middle of getting ready for school, and have had a few appointments. When classes do start, and I get a bit more time spent on this particular laptop I will include a general usage portion to this review. But for now I need to wrap things up with what I know.

Considering that this Workstation only came with a dual core CPU, the performance of this workstation is what I consider to be good. I do recommend that if you do plan on purchasing this Workstation and can afford an upgraded CPU (Quad Core) and 8 Gigs of memory then do just that. If you are on a budget, then the dual core CPU will perform quite well for you. Now this WOrkstation fits those types of people who like to do rendering based programs, like Adobe After Effects CS5, Auto Desk 3ds Max 2011, and so on. and need a portable computer for either work/play/or school then the 8560w will fit right up your alley. This Workstation has a beginning cost of 1350 USD, so it is a bit more expensive then your “Traditional Laptops”, but then again those “Traditional Laptops” are not geared up for rendering based programs either.

S0 I give the HP 8560w Workstation a 9 out of Ten and the:

Golden Dragon Award

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10 responses to “HP EliteBook 8560w WorkStation Review

  1. I would like to share my complete disappointment of EliteBook 8560w compared to it’s predecessor EliteBook 8540w. I bought 8540w as my private NB and think it is an excellent product. Because of my experiences I asked get one for work after some time. Unfortunately at that time the 8540w was no longer available, so I went for 8560w as the 8540w’s successor thinking I will get a similar value. Only when I unpacked the box I find out how wrong I was. My complains are purely about the design, usability and user comfort feelings, nothing to complain about the internal HW so they may not be valid to others. To be specific:

    – 8560w removed LED touch control bar that on 8540w allows control volume without having to use Fn+F6/F7 keys. Not only it was more practical than the new 4 silver hard buttons on the new model, it made the 8540w NB look slicker too.
    – the lock button in the front that protects the display lid to open is too deeply inset on 8560w, that takes now both hands to open the lid. No so on 8540w when you press the lock button with a thumb and then continue opening the lid with one hande
    – the TouchPad is unnecessarily big + looks dull on 8560w
    – finger print scanner located too far from the the front edge, so it is more difficult to scan thumbs
    – the colour of the case is truly unappealing with non-elegant hinges, display frame boring, etc,..

    Probably the only two things that are a little bit improved is the keyboard which looks a bit more sturdy, however I am not sure it is spill resistant as it is on 8540w + larger and better attached rubber stands at the bottom (I have already lost 2 on 8540w)

    All the above makes 8560w poorly designed and cheaper product (although it is not cheaper at all), one just wonders who HP wants to impress with this second class design or if they fired the designer of the previous model. It is all too resemblant of Microsoft’s overhaul of MS Office user interface – both can only be called “a revenge to the customer”.

    Oh, one thing they did not forget – make the HP logo glow on the top of the lid.

    • Thank you for the comparison with another similar workstation. You can adjust the Fn+ Secondary F Keys in the BIOS, but if you do that you will have to press the Fn key to use the F Keys.

    • – The LED touch bar was removed (from ALL HP laptops, Pavilions included) because of stability and lag issues associated with it. Too many users complained about a delayed response with the touchbar, along with accidental activation of it with “brushing.”
      – Can’t comment on the lock button, having never used an 8540w
      – I appreciate the larger touchpad, especially after being stuck on a miniscule one with my previous NB. I especially like the “Gorilla-glass” like surface. I find myself stopping before the touchpad actually ends due to muscle memory.
      – Agreed, the scanner is too far inset. The default scanning fingers are the index fingers; dunno if that was changed from the xx40w models.
      – Design is subjective; I personally like the radial brushed aluminum, and the orange/magnesium hinge sets the workstation apart from the regular elitebooks.

  2. Great article, thanks for sharing.
    Some questions for you about your SSD installation: I bought the M4 256 Crucial SSD and have had problems getting it to the numbers you posted (AS SSD results). Specifically my 4k results are half what yours are and I have heard that the Crucial drives are just very compatible with the Intel chipset. Did you install any special drivers to get those speeds )or uninstall drivers perhaps?)?

    I can see that messing with the HP/Intel RST software can change the speed results but I cannot get it to your levels. Any advice?

    • No special drivers or doomahickys (lol). I just used the HP drivers, drivers only not any of that other stuff) and the Win 7 booster pack from HP directly. HAve you updated the firmware on your SSD? if not goto Crucial website and get the firmware updated.

      • Also I did not use any “Intel” raid or HDD management software. Just the chipset drivers from Intel. I like to keep everything fairly slimmed down, a trick you can do is goto you run command, type in msconfig, then in the start up tab uncheck everything you do not want starting up.

      • Hi!

        Did any of you find out how to light up the keyboard? I would apreciate if you could share the info with me.

        Cheers.

  3. This is a nice thorough review! I have just recently purchased an 8560w (8GB RAM, core i7, Win 7 pro 64 bit) and I would love if not for a very basic problem: I work a lot with pdfs, which should be pretty basic, but when I work, let’s say, with two windows, each filling half-screen, running some text comparison, and then maximize one of them, I get half a screen blank… HP replaced memory, graphics card . . . Nothing helped. I’m finally returning for a replacement, hoping this is bad luck.
    I’ve also been unable to record through StereoMix, which does show up as an option but doesn’t work.
    I wonder if you, or any readers here, have had similar issues. Did I just have bad luck or should I return it and look at a different machine?
    Many thanks!!

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