Final Thoughts on My HP EliteBook 8740w Workstation

It’s been a little over a month since I unboxed my new HP EliteBook 8740w Workstation. I was a bit skeptical about reviewing this PC for HP for a couple of reasons. First of all, I own two Macs; a 27 inch iMac and a 15 inch MacBook Pro. I love both of those machines and use them a lot. Secondly, I can’t say that I was a huge fan of HP computers before reviewing this machine. I used to have an old HP computer back in 2000 and I didn’t like using it. So going into this review, I was fairly biased against PCs, and HPs in general. With that said, I’ve got to say that this HP EliteBook 8740w was quite impressive and I was pleasantly surprised with how well it performed.

My first impression of this HP EliteBook 8740w Workstation was about how heavy it was. It’s a beast. It was so heavy, in fact, that you can probably hear me grunting as I’m pulling it out of the box. This computer, however, is heavy for a reason. It’s packed with hardware. It includes:

  • Intel Core i7-740QM (1.73ghz, 6mb L3 Cache)
  • 8gb DDR3-1333
  • 17? WUXGA (1920×1200) LED-backlight DREAMCOLOR display
  • NVIDIA Quadro 5000m with dedicated 2gb DDR5 workstation-class GPU
  • 500gb 7200RPM HD
  • Full-sized backlit keyboard
  • 230w external power adapter

In addition, it also includes a fingerprint scanner, ambient light sensor, dual microphones, a three button trackpad mouse as well as a three button point stick mouse, touch-sensitive media keys, a 2.0mp integrated webcam, and a LightScribe DVD +- RW burner. It’s also got a Bluetooth module and an Intel Centrino Ultimate N Wireless Adapter. All this hardware means that this computer is built for performance, not mobility. Sure, you can throw it in a backpack and take it somewhere, but don’t think you’ll want that backpack on your back for long. It’s simply too heavy.

After firing up the machine and going through the initial setup. I started playing around with some of its features. One of my favorite features was the fingerprint scanner. I’ve never had one on any of my machines and I really enjoyed logging into the machine without having to enter my password.

Once logged in, the first thing that I noticed was the display. The 17 inch DreamColor display was beautiful. I opened up a couple of photos and could really tell the difference between the quality of the HP screen and my MacBook Pro. Next, I decided to install a copy of Starcraft 2 onto the machine. Starcraft 2 is a graphics intensive video game and requires quite a bit of power to play properly. After installing the game and setting it up, I set the game to the extreme graphics setting and started playing. The HP had no problems handling the game and it looked absolutely amazing!

With that said, this machine does put out quite a bit of heat. I mistakenly placed a bottle of water to the left of the machine about 6 inches away for a couple hours, while playing, only to find a super heated bottle of water waiting for me to drink later on.

Aside from gaming, this PC also includes some other features that I thought were cool. The QuickLook and QuickWeb features were a nice addition. They allow you to check your email or browse the web without actually booting up the machine. This is great because this machine is quite a power hog. Not having to boot up the machine means longer battery life. I didn’t have any issues working with Photoshop or any of the other Adobe products that I installed on it. With that said, it’s important to note that I had to install trial versions to test them out, as I didn’t have a Windows copy to install. So my experience with Photoshop on the machine was fairly limited. I wasn’t able to do any major Photoshop work like I do on my other machines but my instinct is to say that there wouldn’t be any issues, especially seeing how well it handles gaming.

I was also struck at how sturdy this machine was. I always thought that my MacBook Pro was well constructed. And while that may be true, I’m much more confident in how well the HP is constructed and I don’t feel like I have to baby it like I do with my MacBook Pro.

Overall, I would give this machine 5/5 stars. It’s a fantastic machine and I’d definitely recommend it to anyone who doesn’t want to work on a Mac.

Disclosure: This laptop was provided to me for free by HP to review on this blog.

Grant Friedman

Grant Friedman is a graphic design, blogger, and author. In addition to being the founder of this website, Grant is also the editor of Psdtuts, one of the world's most popular tutorial websites.

  • Lucky stiff! LOL After reading this, I want one! But, I don’t quite see why you would need a ‘laptop’ you can’t easily take with. I suppose it wouldn’t be so awkward if I knew I had everything I would need, where ever I went. If I went anywhere. The whole point, for me, of a pc is to stay home. LOL

    Enjoyed your review. Thank you!


  • I could certainly throw it into my backpack if I wanted to. I could put it into my car and take it with me to a quick meeting that needed a fairly powerful machine but if I was doing a lot of traveling, I probably wouldn’t need a computer that was so heavy with a 17 inch display.

  • That’s the beauty of technology – something for each of our needs. That’s awesome!

  • Manny

    Nice Review. Thanks.

  • Rhonda

    Was pleased reading your review of this HP. Making me really want to go out and buy this machine. Will definitely be looking for it.


  • Rhonda

    I enjoyed your review. I’ve been a HP fan for a number of years. Was very interested in all the bells & whistles. May have to seriously look into this for myself as I’m becoming more & more involved in my employer’s online store site and always out than in. Would be great if I modifications were needed while I’m out & about. Thanks for your review, really gives me something to think about….

  • Grant, after finally getting a working 8440w from HP I agree with your appraisal. The 14″ screen is beautiful and The unit is lighter than my 15.6″ Dell, which of course is the whole point. As you say, built like a rock. I opted for a 256 SSD + 500gb HD. (I need on board storage for media!) That means ext optical drive which is a slight PIA but I can live with it. One silly thing I have grown attached to is the fingerprint reader for log in. For some reason that makes me very happy every time I boot up.

    Congrats, I’m glad it working out well for you! Obviously it was a smart marketing move by HP to get the units out there in the hands of influencers. Shows that the workstation label is not just for engineers running CAD/CAM Also interesting to note how it reflects the dramatic changes in marketing that have occured in just the last few years.

  • Mike C

    Now that you’re done with it… I’ll take it off your hands!

  • I like the build quality of the EliteBook 8740W. It’s definitely not a unit that will fall apart easily as you transport it to and from the office. It’s made out of metal and its hinges are tough. If you’re in the market for a mobile workstation with lots of CPU power, RAM and hard drive capacity, and most importantly, an excellent screen, the 8740W is definitely one to consider.

  • Nice review! Although, I must say that I am a mac fan.

  • Guillermo

    Great review! I’ve many HP Low and Middle Range Notebooks and the performance are good but I’ve temperature problems in many times.. I used some days at 80 or 90 % of the max processor capacity for an hour and the fan cooler can’t manage the high need of computer process, even there aren’t to be designed for heavy work I didn’t like so much the heat that comes from the equipment.. I was searching for a more powerful Notebook without Temperature problems, I think after your test this one can have a lot of work and stay running without sacrifice life of the components.
    What happends if we compare this one with an Apple MacBook Pro with an i7 Core? For example running the same Photoshop or another software with large manage of data and process? In price wich one is more economic? And What about warranty?
    Thanks all for your comments!

  • Tim

    How is that possible that you could not see any difference between dreamcolor display and mbp? Mbp have relatively cheap TN display while dreamcolor offers exclusive IPS 32bit display, parameters of these display is several time greater than mbp screen. If they will be equal there will be no sense in purchasing this machine

  • Sounds like a phenomenal machine. Teaching being my primary profession, I could never afford it but its nice to see PCs coming out rivaling MACs in quality.

    All my software is PC and I enjoy using and working on them. I don’t think I will ever feel compelled to start over and replace everything but I hope others follow suite and produce hardware of this quality.

  • you say its too heavy; just curious what this badboy actually weighs?

  • Liv


    My daughter entered me and she sent part of my address wrong and resent it. Can you delete my first entry? If you could that would be great!

  • Stephanie

    I’ve never owned a Laptop or a Mac, so I will take your word for it~! ;O)

  • Awesome review, I love Mac’s too, but after this review, I would love to get my hands on one of these ;)

  • I was looking into getting one of these. Good info.

  • My dad was in the market for a PC, he decided on an HP similar to this one and he loves it!! However, I have not had a chance to check it out yet, but after reading this review I am going to take a closer look at it tonight.

  • I have this HP. It runs OK to work :)

  • Great review! It’s always hard to review a product after you’ve obviously figured that you’re very much a Mac lover. I usually find that when people get a Mac, they never go back to any other computer or laptop. I think you did a great job in sharing what the HP laptop had to offer.