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HP Pavilion Dv9646em Media Center

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Before I begin, i have already created a topic based on this laptop, but got no replies lol. so i have created this topic to the owners of pavilion dv9646ems out there (all 3 of you) to come forward and give support for anyone thinking of getting this laptop (now discontinued but you can still get it from sites like dixons.com)

Before i got this laptop, i had a dell inspiron laptop with a intel gma x3100 ( not knowing the difference between graphics cards, all i cared about was one that could play decent games) and i hoped that it would run command and conquer 3 better than my dad's dell latitude d810. both laptop's specs below:

dell inspiron cost about £550

intel pentium dual-core 1.8ghz

2gb ddr2 ram

intel gma x3100 384mb shared running at a resolution of 1440x900

unfortunately this wouldnt run command and conquer 3 because the intel gma x3100 was not supported.

dell latitude d810 cost about £1000 (my dad's company paid for it :) )

intel pentium with centrino mobile technology 1.8ghz single core

512mb ddr ram (or whatever they had when dell still made these)

ati radeon x600 128mb running at a resolution of 1900x1200 (yes this laptop was used in CAD designs for Sky boxes)

this laptop ran quite well at low detail (not lowest, theres a detail gap between lowest and low) and was very smooth but started to lag when i played it at medium (everything was running at 800x600)

because the inspiron wasn't an improvement over the latitude i decided to get another laptop, i saw the pavilion dv9646em at pc world, it was selling for £600 (this was in january) so i decided to get it because it had a dedicated graphics card which was called geforce 8400m gs so i thought i was a pretty good card (command and conquer 3 needed a lowest of geforce 4 so i thought the number being 8 that it was so much better.(i didnt realise how old the 4 series was)

HP Pavilion dv9646em specs:

AMD Turion X2 1.9ghz

2GB ddr2 ram

nvidia gefoorce 8400m gs 128mb

windows vista home premium 32bit

i thought since the gpu had the same amount of memory as the x600 it would perform better because it was a newer card, and also helped by the 1.9ghz dual core which could give even more of a boost. so i installed command and conquer 3 and set it to high at 1024x768, i discovered to my horror that it was as laggy as x600 runninf on medium, so i disabled shadows and set it to 800x600 and it ran pretty smooth. then i gave up command and conquer 3 because i got bored and went on to play counter strike source instead. settings for cs:source are as follows:

everything high except for anitroscopic filtering and anti aliasing which are disable ( AF is set to trilinear) full HDRRendering is enabled, i didnt know what that was until i discovered that de_dust was surprisingly bright for some reason.

i ran the video stress test and got an average of 30 fps (it might now be accurate since i did this test 4 months ago and kind of forgot). this was pretty smooth and compared to the 4fps i got on my inspiron laptop this was a performance leap. although i expected this to be faster because my latitude laptop ran cs:source on same settings (HDR wasnt introduced when cs:source was first out) at a resolution of 1900x1200 and had about 30 fps aswell so i was kind of disappointed.

having seen crysis clips i downloaded crysis demo and did a benchmark test and my results were as follows

all using latest HP drivers from the HP website

800x600 all settings LOW: 30 fps average

800x600 all settings MEDIUM: 10 fps average

there was a massive loss of fps when i switched to medium, this i didnt like.

i have done loads more with my laptop since to improve performance in crysis : switching OS back and forth between XP and Vista and installed numerous drivers, 177.41 made me lag when i was playing halo !!

now im sticking with Vista and reinstalled HP factory drivers and now it's working great on crysis (even though its on vista)

i've set a new extreme for 8400m gs by putting shaders to very high (everything alse on low) and got about 15-20 fps and set everything to high (apart from object detail which is set to low) and got 5 fps, woot XD

hope to the people who has the same laptop as me (all 3 of you) to have the same results,i have been fairly lucky, my graphics card ran everything i pushed into it (source games, crysis, ut3, command and conquer 3, enemy territory quake wars)

good luck and happy overclocking! :)

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I don't have your laptop but I have one which is very similiar. I have a HP DV9576 ea, the speces of which are as follows:

Intel Core 2 Duo @ 2.0ghz


nVidia Geforce 8600M GS

Although HP Laptops arent specifically "gaming laptops", more multimedia laptops, they can run games to a high quality. In response to your particular driver, 177.41, I personally use 174.32 as this is a Forceware Driver manufactured by HP. This driver gave me a significant improvement in Crysis and it supports my GPU and to my knowledge supports the 8400 as well! It may or may not benefit you.

Games like Command and Conquerer 3 should quite frankly work a lot better than the performance your getting. Furthermore, your CS performance seems a bit low, I would expect you to be getting an extra 10 fps in comparison to what your getting so I dont know what the issue is there. However, if your card managed to run Crysis at the specs you specified then you should have little trouble running other DX10 games out there (apart from Assassins Creed).

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how do you check what the driver version of the hp forceware driver form hp? it just gives lodas of numbers, not something like 169.04

ty for replying

BTW i ran fraps while playing coun ter strike, turns out i was wrong, the minimum fps i got was 28 and the max was about 80 lol so i guess the average would be around 50-60 fps

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You can check the driver version by using nTune. The numbers that HP give you e.g is the equilavalent Forceware no. such as 174.xx. This is just HP's funny way of numbering drivers, I dont know why they do it!! Makes things damn confusing!! Unfortunately, I dont think LaptopVideo2go give both driver numbers so I dont think you can check the driver until after installation!!!

Yeah your counterstrike peroformance sounds about right to me so no problems there!

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do you play crysis? if so, what are your settings and fps? and what driver do you use?

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I have Crysis, I dont get very good performance with it though. I play on 800x600 res, precise settings:

Texture Quality: Medium

Object Quality: Medium

Shadow Quality: Medium

Shader Quality: High

Physics: High

Volumetric: Low

Game Effects: High

Post Processing: Medium

Motion Blur: Medium with 3/4 slider

Sound: High

Water: High

i get between 10 - 25fps, playable but not tht good, I use 174.32

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The numbers that HP give you e.g is the equilavalent Forceware no. such as 174.xx. This is just HP's funny way of numbering drivers, I dont know why they do it!!

well, that's the Windows funny way to show them... (showing info of your OS, too)

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yeh thats right, BTW the main impacts on performance in crysis is your resolution, shader quality, shadow quality, post processing quality and objects quality. although i would say shader and objects affect me most

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  • 2 months later...
Guest Brian Knowles

I'm completely new to laptops and am just wondering (having read your review)whether it constituted a recommedation.I'm able to buy one from a local dealer I've known for some time for £400.


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