Tx2500 Mini-review: Heat exaggerated?

Discussion in 'Hewlett Packard' started by roflballs, Jul 3, 2008.

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  1. roflballs

    roflballs Pen Pal - Newbie

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    I received my new tx2500 this monday and have been playing around with it ever since. Since I couldn't really find a very thorough review on the heat it produces in real-world situations, I thought I might share for anyone curious. I didn't include any temperature readings since I'm not sure any programs are accurate right now for the Puma platform.

    Brief specs overview:
    ZM-86 @ 2.4 Ghz
    2 GB ram
    320 GB HDD
    ABGN Broadcom Wireless
    BT & FP reader
    8-cell battery


    I've heard plenty of horror stories about tx2000 heat production, and have read that the tx2500 is roughly the same (with perhaps a minor decrease). However, my experience has been far more pleasant than I expected. Based on other reviews, I was afraid that I might end up burning myself (or at least feel very uncomfortable) in tablet mode due to the right-side vent on the back.

    However, running the laptop on slightly modified of the HP recommended settings (processor capped at 50% & brightness at 40%), the temperature on the bottom is roughly the same as the right-side palm rest - both of which are lukewarm or warm at worst. The fan is always on its lowest setting, and I can only hear it if I hold laptop a few inches away. Furthermore, my laptop is on my bed (a soft, insulating surface that causes poor ventilation), and I have been running iTunes, AIM, and Firefox (obviously with wifi on) for the past 2.5 hrs, keeping my cpu usage at roughly 30% the entire time. The keyboard of my 17" laptop under moderate usage gets warmer than the bottom of my tx2500. Note that I also have the ZM-86 processor, which is about as bad as it can get. The temperature is even lower if I hold it up in tablet mode rather than rest it on my bed.

    Overall, the temperatures are well within comfort range, and this is in a worse scenario than at a classroom taking notes. I would not have iTunes running, and the laptop would be either be located on a hard surface or in my arms. Furthermore, room temperatures would be considerably lower considering it is now in the middle of summer (it was about 70-75 deg F, night time, when I wrote this review).

    All in all, with slightly tweaked settings, I am very pleased with the heat production. When in battery mode, it has never gotten warm enough to be uncomfortable to use (after I capped it at 50%).



    High performance mode is a whole different story, however. When running Warcraft III, a moderately graphics-intensive game, the fan almost always runs on high, and the vent blows out very warm air. The vent itself gets rather hot, though perhaps not quite enough to burn (it is close, though). It is far less comfortable to hold the laptop in tablet form while running in High Performance mode, although it is still reasonably warm unless running processor/graphics applications. Unless using the tx2500 on a desk (the bottom got very hot when using it on a bed), I would strongly recommend against using high performance mode.

    However, since I only plan on taking notes or watching movies in tablet mode, this does not present a problem to me. Even with the processor capped at 50%, I was able to run a 720p HD file encoded in x264/AAC (probably the most processor-intensive commonly used codecs) without any lag or stuttering. A 1080p x264/AAC file was not really watchable, however, even when set to high or realtime priority (600 MB, 22 minutes). These tests were done with Windows file sharing over a wifi network, however, so actual performance is probably slightly better.

    Hmm.... I guess that's all I can think of for now. In case your wondering, it has been 3 hrs since I turned my computer on, and I have about 10% battery life remaining on my 8-cell battery. Since I only started at 95%, I estimate a ~3-3.5 hr battery life with 50% cap & 40% brightness. Considering I'm still running iTunes, AIM, and Firefox, and I haven't yet turned off unnecessary Vista services, I'd say the battery life is quite decent. Once (if?) RMClock gets support for the Puma platform, we might be able to expect an extra 10-15 minutes. I wonder if a 3.75 hr balanced setting is possible.

    EDIT: Oh, one last random fact. In case your wondering, standby drain is roughly 1% per hour on the 8-cell battery. After a full charge, I left it in standby until I got back from work (a little over 8 hours later). The battery monitor gave a reading of 90%.

    Hope that helps!! ;)
     
  2. quest51210

    quest51210 Pen Pal - Newbie

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    i have both the 8 cell and the 6 cell batteries. i have run multiple browsers, onenote in the background, and played some simple games while on balanced mode. i have not done an actual time test, but i can tell you i caught myself questioning the battery life indicator because of things i heard here.

    it got really hot the first 2-3 hours and frankly it scared me, but has since been lukewarm.

    i have had mine for 3 days and the only issue i am having is downloading the firefox flash plug in. i suspect its user error, but overall very happy with the battery life and low heat.
     
  3. Art

    Art Scribbler - Standard Member

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    You mean the "plugin could not be installed, please try it manually" error? I get that all the time, I think it's more a software error than a user problem.
     
  4. billycat

    billycat Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Yep. Under Power Saver mode you don't hear the fan at all and you can last past 4hrs with the wifi on. (It's perfectly adequate for surfing and general non-media/gaming/number-crunching tasks)

    I also fell for the energy-usage horror stories and ordered an extra 6-cell battery. But at this point, I think I'll probably rarely use it if not for the form factor (make the machine easier to fit into cases and bags.)

    As for the heat, it's really a non-factor in power saver and a slight factor in balanced. You rarely hear the fans if at all (usually in quiet rooms) with the power saver mode. Balanced mode kicks the fans up to an audible level in a quiet room.

    As far as video decoding goes, have you tried MPC-Homecinema? It has support for HW decoding with ATI HD series (UVD). If properly encoded, you should be able to play a lot of the x.264 video even in your capped mode.

    Also PowerDVD will decode Blu-ray with ATI HD series. Of course, that is IF we had a blu-ray player. (crossing fingers.)

    Right now, only the C140x series and our tx2500 can do this. Don't know much of a HW support Montevina will even have for HW video decoding when released. Considering Intel's previous products in this arena, my guess is "poor", just like their 3D acceleration.

    EDIT: I have nothing against Intel. My desktops are a Q6600, a E8400, and a dual Xeon. (But I don't own an Intel video card.)
     
  5. quest51210

    quest51210 Pen Pal - Newbie

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    you know when you are on youtube or certain avatars, etc...

    well i have "downloaded" from the pop up and also did manual download and it still does not work. been two days. i can scope out youtube on IE but not Firefox

    kinda sucks, the banner on my yahoo also does not disply, its not a biggie, but that damn pop up at the top of the screen for the plug in is getting old real quick.

     
  6. whazzup

    whazzup Scribbler - Standard Member

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    so 1080p is no-go on the tx2500?
     
  7. roflballs

    roflballs Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Eh...that test was using balanced mode with 50% cap, with a very high bit-rate file & processor-intensive codecs. When at high-performance mode, the same file played with no trouble at all.
     
  8. RaidenWoW

    RaidenWoW Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Just install it manually gosh. It works if you install it fricken manually.
     
  9. whazzup

    whazzup Scribbler - Standard Member

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    ah...i see, thanks!
     
  10. Gubbi

    Gubbi Pen Pal - Newbie

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    It relieving to hear heat problem maybe contained somewhat. I have had another concern though. About the display quality. How good is it with 40% brightness? And is graininess really a problem?

    Also any workarounds for making it "sunlight visible"?
     
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