01
Jan
10

HP Pavilion TX2500 Series Tablet PC Review

Pictures



Specifications

HP TX2524CA
Specs:

2.00 GHz AMD Turion X2 RM-70 Dual-Core Mobile Processor
1 MB L2 Cache
Memory 4096 MB
Video Graphics ATI Radeon HD 3200
Hard Drive 320 GB (5400 rpm) Fujitsu MHZ2320BH
Multimedia Drive LightScribe Super Multi 8X DVD±R/RW with Double Layer Support
12.1″ WXGA High-Definition HP BrightView Widescreen Integrated Touch-screen, Convertible Display (1280 x 800)
Fax/Modem High speed 56K modem
Network Card Integrated 10/100 Ethernet LAN
Wireless LAN 802.11a/b/g/n
Bluetooth
Sound Altec Lansing speakers
Touch Pad

ExpressCard/34 slot
5-in-1 integrated Digital Media Reader for Secure Digital cards, MultiMedia cards, Memory Stick, Memory Stick Pro, or xD Picture cards
3 USB ports

1 VGA (15-pin)
1 RJ-11 (modem)
1 TV-Out (S-video) HD Video compatible
1 RJ -45 (LAN)
1 headphone-out
1 microphone-in
1 notebook expansion port
Consumer IR (Multimedia remote control)
Dimensions 8.82″(L) x 12.05″(W) x 1.23″ (min H)/1.52″ (max H)
Weight 4.56 lbs
6-cell Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion)
WebCam with stereo Integrated Microphones

Some Notes about HP Consumer Tablets

The previous TX1000 and TX2000 series have been plagued with Nvidia overheating troubles. Many of them fail after a couple of years due to a desoldering problem on the Northbridge. I personally saw one fail myself, and highly recommend avoiding these laptops.
The newer TX2 is multitouch, but has driver issues with Windows 7. As a result, the TX2500 is the most reliable out of all of the HP consumer tablets to date. As a consumer product it is passable, but it still has various issues.

HP has loaded the tablet with entertainment features, but at the cost of heat output and chassis reliability. In particular, there is a potentional loose hinge issue as described here (http://forum.tabletpcreview.com/showthread.php?t=19209). Now the repair is relatively simple, and I have done it myself. This is obviously a design flaw. Maybe it had to do with the way I used my laptop. I didn’t use it for inking in tablet mode much myself, but I constantly used the screen without it being in tablet mode, which is probably the problem.

HP has also opted for AMD mobile processors for their consumer line. Even up to the current TX2 line, these machines run very hot. I always had to throttle my CPU speed at 50% (1000 MHz), which made the machine still very usable. However the computer still averaged 60 degrees Celsius and was warm to use. Running at high power results in temperatures as high as 100 degrees Celsius and is unbearable for skin contact. See the temperature poll here for some more information: http://forum.tabletpcreview.com/showthread.php?t=19081. As long as the computer is kept in 50% mode, it is a fine tablet with up to 3 hours battery life.

Yet one more problem is HP’s decision to include a passive digitizer on the LCD display.This design lowered the viewing angle of the screen significantly. I personally never even used the touch screen at all. It was another small annoyance. There is a hack to remove the passive digitizer altogether.

Performance

Windows 7 x64 startup time ~2 minutes

3DMark 06 Score: 1410 3DMarks
SM 2.0 Score: 478
SM 3.0 Score: 564
CPU Score: 1052
Windows 7 x64 Business with Catalyst 9.8
http://service.futuremark.com/compare?3dm06=12658633

The HD3200 handles light gaming and HD videos, supporting hardware accelerated BluRay video, where CPU usage drops to <10% as videos are offloaded to the GPU. This GPU outclasses the Geforce 6150 found in the previous generation TX2000. It is in the same class as the NVIDIA GeForce 8400M GS and is comparable to the ATI Mobility Radeon 9800, but with DX10 support.
When it was released it had the best graphics performance amongst a tablet. I believe that is still true today.

DXVA support for ATI works for all videos under the BlueRay specification, but I had many issues trying to play out-of-spec mkv h264 files with subtitles. This is a common problem amongst ATI video cards and to date has not been fixed (Relevant thread http://forum.guru3d.com/showthread.php?t=308911). I also own Intel and Nvidia based graphics, and experience flawless DXVA playback with out-of-spec files. The RM-70 on the TX2524CA can handle up to 720p playback without issues using the built in MPC-HC decoder. I never got 1080p DXVA to work. I expect 1080p videos to play without any issues if CoreAVC was installed, but I never tried because it would still mean setting the CPU to high performance mode, which I wanted to avoid because of the heat issues at high performance mode with this laptop.

Inking

Inking in Windows Vista/7 is smooth, with pressure sensitivity support. I am not an artist, but it seems to work decently well.

I personally used it mostly for text input, and it was a pleasure to use for day to day use.

AMD Griffin Architecture: Turion RM and ZM Series CPU Versus QL

The RM-70 CPU is part of the Turion RM and ZM family, and has 3 power states (25%, 50% and 100%). The QL series only has two power states (50% or 100%). A CPU at 50% idle consumes more power than a CPU at 25%, resulting in lower battery life and higher heat output.
The QL and RM lines had 1 MB L2 cache (512 KB per core), while the ZM had 2 MB L2 cache (1 MB per core)
The RM-70 is a 31 watt TDP part. The combination of these features means that the RM-70 has the lowest heat output of it’s generation of AMD mobile processors.
Additionally, the RM and ZM series have 400 MHz dual channel DDR2 controllers, compared to the 333 MHz dual channel controllers of the QL series. As memory bandwidth is crucial in integrated graphics, expect to see an additional 10-15% speed drop with the QL series CPU.

If you had to get a TX series laptop, consider these factors.
AMD Turion CPUs Wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of…icroprocessors

Final Notes

While the HP TX line is the cheapest available tablet PC to date, I highly recommend spending more money on a tablet with better build quality. The best deal at the time of this post is the refurbished HP 2730p, or a used 2710p on eBay. While those laptops are old models with much weaker entertainment capabilities, they are much better pure tablet PCs at the moment.


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