HP dv6-6c48us Review

So, through a chain of miracles you can read on the Office Depot saga chain, I’ve gotten a replacement laptop for the flimsy, flimsy Gateway.

The HP DV6-6C48US

The Basics:
CPU: A8-3520M. Starts at 1.6ghz, can turboboost to 2.5ghz. It doesn’t compare to an i5 or i7, though. Instead, we’re here for…
The GPU: The Radeon 6620G is an integrated chipset within the Llano series. It’s quite possibly the best you can get without having a dedicated GPU.
RAM: Comes with a mismatched set of sticks, one 2gb and one 4gb. Replace with a paired set of 4gbs for a good speed boost, in GPU and general activities.
Screen: 15.6″ 1366×768. Nothing remarkable.
HD: 5400rpm 500gb.
Battery Life: 4-6 hours, 4 hours under reasonable load for me.

In-Depth:

Performance:

The CPU can’t match any of intel’s offerings in this price range. It’s not going to be a bad bottleneck in anything but a range of awkwardly timed games that could only use a single core, such as Unreal Tournament 2004. Anything that can use a quadcore’ll enjoy this thing.
The Turboboost won’t likely reach 2.5ghz often due to the way the system works. If you’re feeling lucky, you can try overclocking. Personally? I don’t. See the bad luck article. :V

The GPU‘s an interesting bit of work. It’ll most likely run anything you throw at it at 720p and low, and with most games, you can go higher than that.
Modern Warfare 3, League of Legends, and Mass Effect 1/2 have been tested by me and all work reasonably well. Dead Island runs kind of badly, but.. see the RAM section. League of Legends can run at up to 1080p without dipping under 30fps often, which is nice on an external monitor.

This system’s RAM expandability is phenomenal. You can get it up to 16gb by buying two 8gb sticks and placing them in the system. The RAM that comes with the system’s mismatched, which is a large performance hit. If you find yourself needing performance and aren’t expecting a HUGE boost, you can get a set of matched 4gb sticks for ~$40 and install them for a nice speed boost. The entire Llano system (the CPU/GPU combo this system uses) is EXTREMELY hungry for RAM speed and will happily gobble anything you feed it. The fastest the system can handle is DDR3-1333.

The system’s internal HARD DRIVE is pretty bad! You won’t see any real problems in most things, but the 5400rpm drive can lead to stuttering and problems with a few games. Fortunately, this is easily replaced. You can also use USB3.0 with the system, which could provide an external solution. The only games I’ve had problems with this on are Unreal Engine 3 games (Mass Effect, Borderlands) and STALKER.

Build Quality:

The SCREEN is by far the worst part of the system. It’s poppy-bright, pleasant, and colorful, but it has that odd grayness to it that I find many LEDs have. It can be replaced with a higher-quality panel and 1366×768’s usually the high point of what the system can handle in a game, however, so it’s not quite a dealbreaker. I suggest moving your task bar to the left in Windows to gain more working space vertically.

The system’s actual CASE is pretty nice! The bottom’s high quality plastic, as is the bezel around the screen. The screen bezel feels more solid than the Gateway’s sides did. The rest of the system (hinges, palmrest, top) are made of solid aluminum and have a great feel. The only places on the entire system that feel awkward are the transition between aluminum and screen bezel (it feels oddly grafted on) and the HP logo on the center of the speakers.

The system’s SPEAKERS are damned impressive. I know I mentioned in the laptop article that you shouldn’t go for a system just for the speakers and made a crack about Beats Audio, but the quad-speaker setup on this system’s great.  The multiple sources of audio going on at once really aid the system’s audio immersion. I kind of suggest setting Beats’ control panel to Voice mode, though. Otherwise, sound’s slightly clippy. This is by far the best audio system I’ve ever seen on a laptop. I don’t think it compares to a good 2.1 or above sound system, but feel free to throw away your old pair of stereo speakers.

The PORTS on the system are varied and useful. On the right side, you’ve got the power plug (massive!), two USB 2.0 ports, and a DVD-RW I’ll never use. On the left, you’ve got a VGA, HDMI, Ethernet, two USB 3.0 ports, and three audio jacks. The audio jacks are all shelled with something besides metal to minimize any chance of interference, I believe. They feel rather good in quality but I don’t have a pair of headphones right now. The only thing I could reasonably ask for on top of this would be eSATA, and you can convert USB 3.0 to eSATA apparently. Most of the ports, minus the audio ports, have some rather nice lighting which could be handy in the dark. It’s nice to see LEDs used on a laptop that aren’t green or amber for once! I’m currently connected to ethernet using a broken cable that I’ve always had to hold in on a laptop, which is also rather telling of the quality.

The Bottom Line:

PROs:

Bargain for the CPU/GPU, which dominate the low end
Great speakers
4 hours of battery life
USB 3.0, fingerprint scanner, Bluetooth
Great build quality

CONs:

1366×768 screen (which can come in handy in games, but is a serious downfall)
mismatched RAM (40~ to replace, which puts the system slightly closer to better competition)
5400RPM drive (fine for non-gamers, though!)

 

If you’re getting this thing on sale for $499/$549, it’s a pretty fantastic bargain. If you’re a gamer, it’s about the best system you could hope for in the price range and thoroughly stomps the value of anything else nearby. If you’re a movie person, the screen might not be the best definition choice, but you can definitely view 1080p on a TV using HDMI with this system. If you’re just looking for an office computer, this might not be your best pick.

At its native price of $699, it falters a bit. The 1366×768 screen, mismatched RAM, and faster hard drive aren’t really appropriate for that price range, and the GPU and CPU start to have serious competition at that level. Once you’ve replaced the hard drive, RAM, and possibly screen, you’ve gotten into the price range of stronger Intel/nVidia machines.

Posted on March 10, 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. OK great. What about if you can get that laptop for $340.00 + free shipping + no taxes in most states. Of course it is factory refurbished but in great condition.There’s a big sale on Newegg.com right now.

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