The EliteBook 8560w construction is solid with a sleek brushed metal appearance. From Bluetooth to a back-lit keyboard it has almost every bell and whistle you could want from a laptop. All these features however make this laptop a bit heavy (seven pounds) and with the 200W power brick that weighs close to two pounds you may not want to be hauling this workstation around a lot.
The 8560 supports a variety of inputs making it ideal for video applications. Memory cards can be read with the SD/MMC reader conveniently placed in the front of the laptop. For charging any USB devices, the laptop has a dedicated USB port to handle the power draw. There are two USB 2.0 ports and a special USB/eSATA port. Though most devices do not support USB 3.0 there are two available 3.0 ports for connecting any SuperSpeed USB devices you may have. In case you have any FireWire cameras there is also a FireWire 400 port. If you want to shoot video from your laptop you may use the integrated 720p webcam which has a light and dual microphones. Unlike most laptops that favor either DisplayPort or VGA, this laptop comes with both! The laptop comes standard with a DVD-RW but for an additional $250 you can get the Blu-ray drive for burning high quality videos.
This EliteBook comes equipped with the top CPU for the 8560w line, the Intel Core i7-2860QM. This CPU boasts four hyper-threaded cores at 2.3GHz capable of 3.4GHz with Intel Turbo Boost. It also comes with 16GB DDR3 memory, wireless a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.1, back-lit keyboard, fingerprint reader, a touchpad and a pointstick. A hard adjustment to make with this laptop is not hitting the middle click button on the touchpad.
Although HP offers non-DreamColor 1080p screens for $375 less, DreamColor offers 30-bit color that can be adjusted for color accuracy for print and TV. The screen also uses IPS (In-Plane Switching) technology that allows viewing from all angles without distortion. The colors are vibrant and no matter how you look at the screen, the quality is the same.
Our first check was the hard drive performance speed using Blackmagic’s Disk Speed Test. The Seagate Momentus has an average read/write speed of 90MB/s with a 14.2ms access time. These are impressive speeds for a laptop hard drive, coming close to the standard 100MB/s of a full size 7200RPM hard drive. It is highly encouraged to get the optional SSD drive as it offers speeds up to 275MB/s and will not be damaged in a fall like a typical laptop hard drive.
The Windows Experience Index base score was 5.9. The bottleneck for the score however was the 7200RPM Seagate hard drive. Paired with an 128GB SSD which is an additional $145 this score should achieve 7.4. The processor and RAM ranked at 7.5 and the graphics card ranked at 6.9. This EliteBook is not the fastest computer out there, but it will compete with the larger desktop workstation equivalents.
SPECviewperf 11 was used to test the graphics card. This program rotates complex 3D models using six different programs and records the frame-rate. Although the scores did not beat the HP 8760w, they did beat out the HP Z400 and Z200 reviewed in the past. Being almost half the cost of the 8760w, the 8560w is very competitive.
Want to know for yourself how this computer ranks? The 3DMark Vantage score was P6644 using the performance setting. By looking at 3DMark’s website you’ll see this workstation rank in the top 40 for NVIDIA Quadro 2000M graphics cards. You can view 3dMark rankings anytime by going to 3dmark.com/search.
On HP’s website they claim the laptop can achieve up to 6 hours on battery. When testing the laptop sitting in optimized power mode the battery lasted 3 hours. Under a heavy processing load the battery can last around a hour. Though not 6 hours, this is still impressive for a quad-core mobile workstation with an NVIDIA Quadro 2000 editing card. For $159 more you can add the Ultra Extended Life Battery which can double the usage time.
Should I Buy This?
When buying any computer a few decisions must be made beforehand; what your budget is, what you plan on using the computer for, and what is the bare minimum you need. The base core i7 model HP EliteBook 8560 is $1550 and even has a FirePro video editing card. For most video editors this should both fit your budget and meet you needs. If you have a bigger budget than perhaps the 8760 might be a better buy with its 17-inch LCD and faster available processors. One thing HP offers many other manufacturers do not is a three-year parts and labor warranty standard. Laptops can take a beating and their warranty will likely be a lifesaver.
HDD Tested AVG Read/Write Speed: 90MB/s
Hard Drive: 500GB Seagate 7200RPM
LAN: 1x1000Mb/s (125MB/s)
CPU: Intel Quad Core i7-2860QM 4×2.30GHz
RAM: 12GB DDR3
OS: Windows 7 Pro 64-bit
Video: NVIDIA Quadro 2000M
Power Supply: 200W
Wireless: Intel Centrino 802.11 a/b/g/n
Available Inputs: eSATA, USB 2.0 (3), USB 3.0 (2), FireWire 400, Bluetooth 2.1, SC/SD/MMC/ExpressCard
Video Output: DisplayPort, VGA
Warranty: 3 year parts + labor
Battery Life: 1-3 Hours
- High performance
- 3 year parts+labor warranty
- Limited battery life
HP’s EliteBook 8560w mobile workstation offers video editing anywhere at a competitive price.
Price: $1,550 base price; $3,558 as reviewed
Lance Olinger is an IT Professional and Web Developer.