• Price: 1699

  • Company: HP

  • Pros: Relatively small size and low weight. Very powerful.

  • Cons: Graphics chip not as poweful as Dell Precision M90’s.

  • Our Rating: We rate this 9 out of 10 We rate this 9 out of 10

If the 15.4-inch nw8440 mobile workstation – which was the top-rated model in our group test of laptops in Digit 101 – is too small for you, HP has released this 17-inch version.

The nw9440 is more than just a larger version of the nw8440. It’s the first mobile workstation we’ve seen to feature nVidia’s Quadro FX 1500M graphics chip. This is much more powerful than the nw8440’s ATI FireGL V5200 and is essentially the same chip as the Quadro FX 2500M used by Dell’s 17-inch Precision M90 (also reviewed in Digit 101) – though the 1500M has 256MB of RAM to the 2500M’s 512MB.

With the support of the 1500M, the nw9440 performed admirably in our Cinebench and SPECviewperf 9 tests – though significantly behind the Dell Precision M90’s results.

In our graphics processing/rendering test using LightWave 8.5, the nw9440 was just as quick as the M90. In Photoshop, the M90 took just over three minutes to complete our set of 20 actions, while the

nw9440 took just under four. The M90 did have twice the RAM of the nw9440 - and cost almost £300 more. The nw9440 is smaller and lighter than the M90, and had a longer battery life (three hours in MobileMark to the M90’s two).

The functional design isn’t going to garner you many envious glances from passers by, but there are lots of great practical design features – such as slot markings around the keyboard to make plugging in devices easier.

The nw9440 is the best mobile workstation so far, being both very powerful and truly mobile.

Specifications

CPU: Core Duo T2600 (2.16GHz)

RAM (standard/max): 2GB/4GB

Front-side bus speed: 667MHz

Screen: 17-inch

Aspect ratio: Widescreen

X-Black-style: Yes

Resolution: 1,900-x-1,200

Graphics chip: nVidia Quadro FX 1500M

RAM: 256MB

Hard disk: 80GB/7,200rpm

Optical drive: DVD±RW

Input device:Trackpad/pointer

Dimensions: 393-x-275-x-33mm

Weight: 3.4kg

Battery life: 5.5 hours