Review HP Pavilion g7-2007sg notebook
The HP Pavilion g7 series covers the whole gamut: a price search lists up to thirty different models of the versatile multimedia notebook - covering the low end to upper middle class and everything in-between. HP ProBook 4340s charger
After evaluating two of the less expensive models with AMD's Trinity APU (g7-2053sg with A6-4400M and g7-2051sg with A10-4600M) in the last few weeks, we decided to take a look at the most powerful member of the series - the g7-2007sg. This model retails for over 700 Euro and features a speedy Intel Core i7-3612QM, 8 GB RAM, and a 750 GB hard drive. HP ProBook 4341s charger The Radeon HD 7670M should offer enough performance for gaming, although the card might have some issues with the native resolution of the 17-inch display (1600 x 900 pixels).
Of course, other manufacturers offer models competing in the same bracket. Possible alternatives are the Lenovo G780, Dell Inspiron 17R-SE , and the Acer Aspire V3-771G (depending on the configuration). Let's see if HP's model is able to differentiate itself from its competition. HP ProBook 4440s charger
The chassis of the Pavilion g7-2007sg is made of black plastic and is identical to the the AMD version. Unfortunately, that's not a plus point: the highly reflective and rather cheap looking piano finish is a dirt magnet and requires frequent cleaning. Rigidity and overall sturdiness could use some improvement as well: both the display and the base unit don't resist twisting forces well and protest with an occasional creaking sound. HP ProBook 4441s charger Two positive aspects are the fairly low weight of under 3 kilogram (6.61 pounds) and the - at least for our test sample - decent build quality.
To be fair though: depending on the components, the Pavilion g7 can be had for about 400 Euro on up. Considering this price range, the quality is acceptable and not much different from other (and similar) models. For an in-depth look at the chassis please check the review of the g7-2051sg. HP ProBook 4445s charger
In addition to the identical chassis, the port selection of our test system holds no surprises in store when compared to other g7 models. The buyer gets 2x USB 3.0 and one additional USB 2.0 port. For a fairly large multimedia notebook the port selection is certainly not overwhelming, but nonetheless adequate. Most users will be perfectly happy with aforementioned ports, the display ports (VGA and HDMI), and the usual standard fare of Kensington lock slot and headphone / microphone jacks. HP ProBook 4446s charger
We don't think that the Fast-Ethernet port deserves is name: its maximum speed of 100 MBit/s is simply behind the times. The positioning of the ports could also be better: especially the lack of distance between the USB ports can be problematic if wider thumb drives are used.
HP ProBook 4540s charger HP didn't go with an offering from well an established manufacturer for the WLAN module - rather, they sourced it from Ralink (a not very well-known company). The entry-level RT5390R only supports single stream (1x1) and therefore limits the transfer rate to 150 MBit/s. The module supports IEEE standard 802.11b/g/n but only offers connections via the 2.4GHz band. An option for 5 GHz as well as a bluetooth module are missing. HP also doesn't offer integrated UMTS or LTE - but considering that this notebook is a desktop replacement, this is certainly not a big deal. HP ProBook 4545s charger
The 0.3 megapixel webcam fails to impress. Because of the low resolution, quality suffers when taking snapshots or recording video clips: images are grainy and lack details. The webcam is just good enough for the occasional video chat and not much more. The microphone, however, is of decent quality and works quite well. HP ProBook 4740s charger
HP ships the notebook with a 90 watt power adapter, the battery (which is inserted at the bottom), and a quickstart guide. This should be enough to get a new owner started - but we would have liked to see driver and recovery DVDs included in the box as well.
HP ProBook 6475b charger The HP Recovery Manger allows the user to create their own recovery / system backup set. This requires five DVDs or an adequately sized USB stick. Other included tools, like the Connection Manager, the Security Assistant or the Setup Manager range from useful to completely useless. We really don't appreciate the embedded ad links on the desktop and in the different toolbars of the browser. HP ProBook 6470b charger
After the removal of a single screw, the user can gain access to the inside of the notebook via a useful sliding cover. Unfortunately, the expansion options are limited: the 2.5-inch hard drive carrier and both DIMM slots are already in use; a mSATA connection is not offered. The WLAN module is accessible should a swap become necessary. In order to clean the fan and the heatsink, further disassembly of the unit is required. HP ProBook 6570b charger
HP provides a standard one year warranty for their consumer notebooks - only the more expensive EliteBooks come with longer coverage. Fortunately, HP offers a one year extended warranty with pickup and return ("Care Pack"), which can be purchased from various online retailers for about 60 Euro.
HP EliteBook 2170p charger We already mentioned it: the Pavilion g7 comes in may different flavors and configurations. HP offers both AMD and Intel processors to cover both performance and price aspects.
Our top-of the line test system features the fasted CPU the series offers - an Intel Core i7-3612QM. This quad-core processor is part of Intel's Ivy Bridge lineup and thus features 22 nanometer construction and enhanced energy efficiency. HP Folio 13 charger This particular quad-core processor is the only one with a TDP of 35 watts and features a lower frequency of only 2.1 GHz. Depending on load, Turbo Boost 2.0 overclocks the cores up to 3.1 GHz. The CPU also features Hyper-Threading to improve multi-thread performance. For additional information, please take a look at our CPU Database.
HP Folio 13-1000 charger Since this is a fast multimedia notebook, the integrated HD Graphics 4000 wouldn't offer enough performance. To that end, HP adds a dedicated middle-class graphics card - a Radeon HD 7670M. To ensure good battery life, the cards get switched dynamically. AMD's "Switchable Graphics" and their answer to Nvidia's Optimus technology is called Enduro.
HP Folio 13-2000 charger The PCMark tests from Futuremark are know for reacting strongly to both processor and hard drive speed. Our test system with the Core i7 does exceedingly well here, although high-end notebooks with SSD are able to outperform the g7-2007sg.
The review system with the Intel processor scores 2760 points in PCMark 7 and outscores the models with Trinity APU (it's about 50 to 80 percent faster). Running the older PCMark Vantage, the differences are even more pronounced. The g7-2007sg performs about as well as the Dell Inspiron 17R-SE, which also features a quad-core processor. HP EliteBook Folio 9470m charger
Of course it remains to be seen is how noticeable the performance differences are during the daily use of the notebook. Those who mostly surf the Internet, run office type applications, and edit a few photos here and there, are not going to notice a huge advantage to the inexpensive system with the A10-4600M. Power users, who edit HD movies or perform other CPU intensive tasks, are going to reap the benefits of the much faster Core i7-3612QM and the reserves it offers. The system with the Intel chip is going to be a little more future-proof as well. HP 3115m charger
The AMD Radeon HD 7670M is essentially a newly released version of the Radeon HD 6650M (introduced January 2011). Its processor is still based on the older 40 nanometer process and uses the VLIW5 architecture. The DirectX 11 accelerator has 480 ALUs, separated in 96 blocks, and a frequency of 600 MHz. The memory interface has a 128 bit interface to 1 GB DDR3-VRAM (900 MHz). HP 2000-350US charger
The performance of the 7670M makes the card a direct competitor of the GeForce GT 630M, as the results are very close. Running 3DMark 11, the Radeon card scored 1205 points - more than OK for the price bracket of this notebook. Although the less expensive Pavilion g7-2051sg seems to offer better graphics performance due to its Crossfire combination of APU and Radeon GPU (2047 points), it has to be said that it suffers from micro stutters and driver issues (these issues are not reflected in the higher score). HP 2000-351NR charger
Our test system showed us again that AMD's Enduro technology isn't quite ready for prime time. We miss the ability to select the graphics processor via a handy right click, which is something Nvidia's Optimus offers. There is also no global option to put one or the other graphics processor into service. Since the system rarely selects the dedicated AMD GPU when playing games, the user needs to assign each application manually in the menu of the graphics driver. HP 2000-352NR charger
Unlike the CPU, running on battery does affect graphics performance, as the GPU throttles down - the score (3DMark 06) is about 40% lower and drops to under 5000 points.
HP 2000-353NR charger As far as gaming performance is concerned, the g7-2007sg delivers what we expected from the combination of Core i7-3612QM and Radeon HD 7670M. Using the maximum display resolution of 1600 x 900 pixels while playing any of the current titles, pushes the graphics card quickly to its limits. The user is then forced to either lower the details or to select a lower resolution. The particularly demanding Battlefield 3 requires the lowest quality setting and a resolution of 1024 x 768 to remain playable without any stutters. HP 2000-354NR charger
Those after the best game-playing experience and additional quality features (AA, AF) need a notebook with a much more powerful graphics processor - at least a GeForce GT 650M or better.
HP 2000-355CA charger Even during idle and low ambient temperatures, the fan in the notebook is always on (albeit spinning slowly). The result is a system noise level of 33.1 to 34.2 dB(A) - definitely noticeable in quiet environments. We don't think it's necessary: other notebooks remain passively cooled when the temperature of their processor is between 30 and 40 degrees Celsius (86 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit). The hard drive of the system is barely audible.
HP 2000-355DX charger During 3D applications, noise level only increases about 3 to 4 dB and reaches 37.6 dB(A). Compared to other 17-inch systems, the g7-2007sg does well here and remains fairly unobtrusive even during longer gaming sessions. The noise level peaked at a surprisingly high 48.2 dB(A) when we ran our stress test - a value that won't be reached during normal use though. Under full load, the fan system emits fairly high frequencies, but when the load decreases, the noise level drops back down within a few seconds. HP 2000-356US charger
While performing normal office duties, the temperature of the test system only increases marginally and is barely above ambient. Without any significant load, the top and the bottom of the laptop only reach about 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit). The notebook can therefore be used on the lap without issues. HP 2000-358NR charger
Things change rapidly when we simulate a high load using Prime95 and FurMark. We measured between 50 to 60 degrees Celsius (122 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit) in some areas - for example around the system fan vent and the battery. What we noted in our section on Noise Level holds true here, too - those extreme values are usually the result of synthetic benchmark testing and don't reflect every day use. HP 2000-361NR charger
The reason why HP decided to use the more energy efficient Core i7-3612QM and not (a more powerful) 45 watt processor becomes evident when we take a closer look: during the stress test, the processor frequency decreases first to 2.1 GHz and even throttles down to 1.2 GHz after longer run times. The CPU core temperature hovers around 85 degrees Celsius (185 degrees Fahrenheit). HP 2000-363NR charger We were unable to obtain a result for the Radeon HD 7670M, although we didn't encounter any throttling. It has to be said that throttling really is a non-issue, as a 3DMark 11 test conducted directly after the stress test didn't show a decrease in performance at all.
Since the Pavilion g7-2007sg shares the same chassis with the already reviewed AMD systems, it comes as no surprise that the sound system is identical. The stereo speakers from Altec Lansing are clear and sufficiently loud. HP 2000-365DX charger We don't really like the overbearing highs and the more or less completely lacking bass. The user can adjust the settings using the equalizer and improve the sound a bit. In cases where the laptop remains stationary, we recommend hooking up external speakers using the (3.5 millimeter) audio jack or the HDMI port.
HP 2000-369NR charger Although the g7-2007sg is quite powerful, the notebook is very frugal while idling and only consumes between 10.4 and 12.3 watts - a result almost identical to the model with the AMDs Trinity-APU A10-4600M. Even compared to other large multimedia notebooks like the Dell Inspiron 17R-SE , the laptop does well here.
HP 2000-369WM charger The 3DMark 06 result (which we will use here in place of 3D games) is quite surprising, as it comes in at a really low 44 watts. Only when we subject the processor and the graphics card to maximum load, we start pushing the power adapter (90 watts) to its limit - we recorded up to 86.6 watts. The aforementioned throttling keeps things under control and reduces power consumption to between 60 and 70 watts intermittently.
Battery Life HP 2000-370CA charger
Since the power consumption is very close to results the AMD models posted, we expected the Intel version of the Pavilion g7 to score almost the same.
Think again: Instead of lasting 8 hours, the notebook shuts down after 5 hours and 38 minutes in our Battery Eater Readers Test (WLAN and GPU turned off, power saver profile, display brightness turned all the way down). We can't really explain the result, but unfortunately we don't have access to the AMD test systems to figure why the results are so different. HP 2000-373CA charger
While surfing via WLAN (GPU turned off, power saver profile, display brightness of 150 cd/m²), the notebook reached a decent 3 hours and 53 minutes. This test (a script that opens different websites and HD videos every 40 seconds) is more realistic than the scenario described above.
HP 2000-375CA charger Any power saving measures don't really come into play when subjecting the notebook to heavy loads during the Battery Eater Classic Test (WLAN and GPU on, high performance profile, maximum brightness) - so the expected run time is short. The Pavilion lasted about 46 minutes before it shut down. Recharging takes about one and a half hours.
The price difference between the HP Pavilion g7-2007sg and the (previously reviewed) g7-2051sg with AMD A10-4600M is about 150 Euro - a pretty significant jump. Is this money well spent? HP 000-379WM charger
In addition to the additional RAM, the price increase can be attributed to the Core i7-3612QM. On the plus side, the Intel CPU does offer two to three times the performance of the Trinity APU - especially noticeable during photo editing or working with video software. Processor intensive games (for example simulation or strategy games) also benefit from the additional performance. HP 2000Z-400CA charger Of course, it's mostly the graphic card which restricts frame rates and thus gaming performance. We wouldn't recommend this notebook for hardcore gaming anyways - although those wanting to play the occasional game or multimedia fans should be quite pleased with it.
Our main points of criticism are elsewhere: the glossy and moderately sturdy chassis, the very slow Fast-Ethernet port, and a fan system that's always on - it would be great if HP could make some improvements here. What we really would wish for is a better (at least brighter) display. HP 2000-410US charger
Since the price-performance ratio is very good, we are inclined to overlook some of the weaknesses. Overall we can recommend the system - with some caveats. Competing (and similarly equipped) models, like the Dell Inspiron 17R-SE or Lenovo G780 retail for 50 to 100 Euro more. On the other hand, there's competition from within: the less expensive HP Pavilion g7-2051sg is probably sufficient for many users.