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March 5, 2013

Power and Portability for Today and Tomorrow: HP 8770w Mobile Workstation

I have used and blogged about HP’s 8770w 17”-class workstation laptop (see related post). It’s a top of the line mobile workstation that is capable of running the most demanding applications. HP’s workstation PCs share common attributes: Excellent design; powerful capabilities; reliable components, upgradability and serviceability to name a few. HP’s team incorporated these design considerations into this line up of mobile workstation PCs so you can enjoy productivity and portability all in one mobile package.

In this post, I’ll show you how HP has designed the 8770w laptop to be easily serviceable and upgradeable.

8770w front view 600

HP 8770w 17” workstation PC – a powerful laptop for your extreme projects

If you have experience upgrading or servicing laptop PCs, you may have found it difficult to access the internals when performing these tasks. This is not the case with the HP 8770w laptop.

There’s only two simple steps involved to open up the 8770w for common servicing tasks, and no tools are needed other than your hands and a Philips head screwdriver.

Step 1: Remove the Battery

Before accessing the internals of the 8770w, it’s a good idea to make sure everything is powered down. That means removing the battery. This is simple, as there’s a single sturdy latch that secures the battery.

8770w battery removal 600

8770w battery removal

To remove the battery you do the following:

  1. Hold the left-most latch to the left (exposing red marker)
  2. Rotate the battery upwards, rotating it on the pivot point at the top-edge of the laptop

In practice, this only takes a few seconds if you’re familiar with the procedure.

Removing the Back Panel

After the battery is removed, it’s time to remove the back panel from the PC. This is analogous to popping the side cover on your desktop PC. Once it’s off, you’ll have access to the frequently serviced internal components.

8770w rear panel removal 600

8770w back panel removal

To remove the back panel you do the following:

  1. Push the right-most latch to the right (exposing red marker)
  2. Pull down on back panel until it exposes a gap approximately ΒΌ” from the top portion of the rear access opening
  3. Lift the back panel off the back of the PC

Now comes the fun part- let’s check out the internals of the 8770w.

8770w rear view insides 600

Rear opening of the HP 8770w mobile workstation – access to most frequently serviced components

Here we can see:

  1. 24GB SSD cache module
  2. 802.11n Wifi module
  5. Primary HDD bay
  6. Secondary HDD bay

In this view you can also see part of the fan (upper right corner) and a spare full-size mini-PCI expansion slot directly to the left of the SSD cache module. It’s all quite clean and well designed. In just a few minutes you can perform a RAM and storage upgrade. I should also note that you can install a total of 3 hard drives in the 8770w by adding a hard drive expansion unit (tray + drive) that takes place of the optical drive.

To show you just how easy it is to upgrade the 8770w, I’ve prepared a video that demonstrates the removal and replacement of two of the RAM DIMMs, and both of the hard drives.

Note that there are an additional two RAM DIMM slots underneath the two that are exposed when the back panel is open. If there are one or more empty RAM DIMM slots present, RAM expansion is performed by adding RAM to one or both exposed DIMM slots. You can also upgrade existing RAM DIMMs with higher-capacity units if needed.

Having performed quite a few laptop upgrades and repairs over the years, I can say that I’m really impressed with the upgradeability and serviceability of the 8770w. It’s confidence inspiring to know that you can easily perform fixes and upgrades on this laptop without the need for special tools, and without voiding your factory warranty.

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