HP has just announced three new mobile workstations at NAB in Las Vegas, the HP Elitebook 8760w (17.3″), 8560w (15.6″) and 8460w (14″). All three have been built with a design platform called FORGE. It is the same concept used in HP’s business line of laptops. Brushed aluminum is prominently used and the IO ports on either sides are well integrated and clean. The back is also more minimalist, and the maintenance/replacement/upgrade of part is now much easier, thanks to the single back panel.

The best part in my own opinion is the beautiful IPS LCD display that is available on the 15.6″ and 17.3″ models. It’s the same display technology (from LG) used on the iPhone 4 and the iPad 1+2. The view angle is amazing and those IPS laptop displays can reproduce 1 Billion colors – it just looks fantastic. It’s not hard to imagine why designers -or anyone who cares about color accuracy- would want that.

But however impressive the exterior is, the “Workstation” designation is also about the guts of the machine. Fortunately, HP does not disappoint: all three models have the latest Core i5 or i7 processor (Intel’s Sandy Bridge), support up to 32GB (16GB for the 14″) of memory, and come with a discrete workstation graphics processor (GPU) from NVIDIA or AMD – with up to 4GB of video memory (!). Note that the difference between a “workstation” GPU and a “consumer” one isn’t so much in the hardware, but in the software/drivers and support. Drivers are often optimized for common design software and that can bring a significant boost in performance, or reliability.

Overall, this is a solid release for HP and whether it is for visualizing or working on professional design, these laptops are worthy of your consideration.

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