By the fact that I have 2 different configurations--highest and lowest possible. No only performance if tx2500z you will see, but you also see what is a difference between 2.0GHz, 250GB, 4-cell battery and 2.4GHz, 320GB, 6-cell battery. This is both synthetic & practical benchmarks to get all the idea how they perform and which suit you and your budget best. Let's repeat the specification again for both system.

CPU AMD Turion X2 RM-70 (2.0GHz) AMD Turion Ultra ZM-86 (2.4GHz)
Operating System Vista Home Premium 32-bit
Display 12" WXGA (1280x800) Multi-Touch Glossy finished Screen
Memory 2GB (2*1GB) PC2-5300 DDR2 SDRAM
Graphic card ATi Radeon HD3200
Chipset AMD 780G + ATi SB700
Hard Drive 250GB 5400rpm SATA 320GB 5400rpm SATA
CD/DVD drive SuperMulti 8X DVD+/-R/RW with Double Layer Support
Networking 802.11a/g, Gigabit LAN802.11a/g/n, Gigabit LAN
Extra Webcam, Array Mic, WMC remote Webcam, Array Mic, Fingerprint, WMC remote
Battery 6-cell battery (53 Wh) 8-cell battery (73 Wh)
Dimension (LWH) 8.82" x 12.05" x 1.23-1.52"
Weight (lbs) 4.59 4.7
Power adapter 65W (PA-1650-02H)

Well, what we got, what you can expect, is following:-

Windows Experience Index -

tx2500z: WEI

Start-up time - [from first windows splash screen to be able to open ie8 with fully loaded myCapsules.com (only Home Page) page. It's not necessarily complete loading everything though.] For this machine, I had a chance to clean install, but the strange thing is all benchmarks were lower, more specifically PCMark05. So I decided to use HP factory image for testing throughout the review. I think it is drivers' problem, but couldn't figure out what caused this exactly yet.

RM-70 system 61 seconds
ZM-86 system 53 seconds

Sleep/Resume time -- I measured from closing lid to all LEDs were gone for sleeping time and opening lid to fully function for resuming time.

system sleeping time resuming time
RM-70 system 4.31 seconds 4.92 seconds
ZM-86 system 4.55 seconds 5.30 seconds

wPrime 1.63 -- multi-thread testing solely for CPU

wprime

As you can see, that's almost 7 seconds gap between RM-70 and ZM-86

CrystalMark -- it's a bit dated, but it's pretty easy to understand.

 crystalmark

From the result, CPU part is the most significant improvement. Along with a bit better for 320GB.

PCMark05 -- This is overall performance benchmark.

tx2500z: pcmark05 

You guys may think I put them in wrong place, but this is what happened in reality. I suspected that the better configuration one has too many thing--too many services run--too many processes, so that's the reason why it got less score in PCMark.

3DMark06 -- As its name, main purpose of this test is how good you can play "games."

tx2500z: 3dmark06

Since its biggest factor here is GPU which is the same, the score is similar. Results are in the same trend as PCMark05.

HD Tune Pro

hd-tune-pro-thumb

Unsurprisingly, 320GB does slightly better job since it uses (a bit) bigger platter and they are both running at 5400rpm. Nevertheless, when I saw this system on paper, one question that popped up into my head is how good ATi southbridge does recently since I have moved to Intel or nVidia platform recently. Last time I experienced ATI southbridge is with Fujitsu S2110, it could achieve only 15MB/s on USB port while I could get around 25MB/s or so with others. Now with the newest southbridge from ATi, SB700. What do you think?

ATi SB700 performance

Still, still and still unimproved; ATi might have pretty solid graphic chipset, but very weak doing southbridge one. It's just never changed. I hope AMD might help in this area, but so far we haven't seen any. After all these tests, you may get the idea how large the gap between the 2 systems are. Nonetheless, if you compare this to another tablet PC like Thinkpad X61T or Dell latitude, it flies on another league. But in a real usage, I just find it as good as others. Just to make it clear--I'm no more gamer, so my perspective on powerful machine is just a plus, not main thing I'm looking for. Yours might differ, it's just a difference.

Network Performance

tx2500z - Broadcom WLANsYou may know that HP favors Broadcom chipset for WLAN which some prefer Intel's one. At first, I don't have any expectation about this Broadcom chipset since I heard that so many folks don't have any better experience than Intel 4965 chipset (802.11a/g/n). By the way, when I transfered some clips to both machine, the gap between 802.11a/g and 802.11a/g/n is such a big. Thus I have a further test by swapping Wireless PCIe card to test on the same system & same driver to eliminate all possible distinguish factor. So we will get an idea how good Broadcom 802.11n performs. Here is the practical result:-

tx2500z - Broadcom WLANs performance

The transfer rate is normally drop to some steady point; as you see above, Broadcom did pretty good job with my router. That's better than Intel 4965 in this situation as well. It's not on the same system though since HP will not allow to use stange wireless card with their machine. Although Gigabit LAN is always preferable since its throughput is about 45-70MB/s at all time, the port on this machine is located in such a awkward plce to use in practice.

Note: All this test is transfering from Vista 64-bit with Gigabit LAN connection; Router is D-link DI-625 rev. A; Wireless connection for 802.11n is 130Mbps at 2.4GHz

Heat & Noise

tx2500z - HWMonitor You all may know that AMD is hot in both price per value and in temperature sense. It's still keeping this trend persistently. CPU itself could go up to the boiling point (100ºC or 212ºF) when full load (idle around 54ºC or 128ºF--very large gap between idle & full load) and I'm pretty sure that GPU would be the same; however, to alleviate this kind of problem, only 1 thing they could do is making better cooling system. In my opinion it's a main factor that tx2500z is thicker that it could be. As a result, if you run pretty intensive program continuously, you will be familiar with jet sound from the fan and very very hot air from the vent around right rear of the machine. However, that means 2 things: first is annoying because of the noise, another one is your system is cool and I mean it. It's like all hot air went out pretty quickly so that the system was able to keep cool--which you would not feel just a bit warm around right side of palm rest and keyboard and believe it or not, the left side of the machine is cool seriously. I don't have an IR thermometer right now, but I can say that you can rest your palm comfortably without notice. Don't be scared though, in case you are using regular tasks--surfing the web, doing some documents, or similar--heat and noise is just minimum--acceptable rate. Below are the temperature on the surface; ambient temperature is about 87°F while measuring. Please note that all data are in °F (+/- 1.5°F)

tx2500z - temperature upper side tx2500z - temperature on the bottom
[Note: ambient temp = 87°F/30°C; low = 88°F/31°C; high = 122°F/50°C]

In contrast, if you are using tablet mode and holding this in your hand, it's HOT! The bottom chassis is such a hot part of the system. Also the screen is a much hotter than I expected. As you can see, it doesn't design to use in tablet mode much, you may just put in table but put on the table to ink something, not recommend holding it in your arm really since both bottom side and screen heat up so easy. Also the vent on the top right which is going to be bottom right in tablet mode (90 degree CW from primary landscape) make you uncomfortable when holding in your hand. By the way, if you need to use it, you probably need to put it in Power Saver mode to make it as cool as possible.

Battery Life

tx2500z - batteries This is one of the drawback of every high performance machines. With 55/73Wh battery, they couldn't provide enough juice to last lovely 5-hour point like some machines can. Sadly but expectedly since PUMA platform puts ATI Radeon HD3200 as integrated GPU. We probably never see performance and energy-wise come together anyway.

Another drawback of AMD (or HP?) platform is we can't really find information on real-time power usage. In other words, you won't have any estimated time remaining on the battery. Only experience can tell you how good it performs. I don't know if I'm the only one who think the 6-cell battery is too big physically while gaining only 33% in term of capacity over the small one. HP probably concerned about an ergonomic in tablet mode, which is not practical for this machine, too much, so that the design turned out to be the limit like this.

For 4-cell battery, it lasts only about less than 2-hour with normal usage: Wifi on, brightness 60%. For 6-cell battery, it probably lasts about almost 3-hour with power saving mode, Wifi on, brightness 40% (this's the lowest brightness I could do on this machine since the screen is so glare, so in order to alleviate this issue you have to bright up your screen. Otherwise you will see only yourself (or light source) on the screen) From all these experience, I just feel unsecured a bit while on the go. I have to look for power outlet and charge anytime possible. Nonetheless, if you plan to put this mostly on your desk, then it's not an issue.

Service:

I haven't had any experience contacting HP yet, but I surprisingly got $50 coupon after a shipment delay (only a week delay) without asking. You won't have any of this with another manufacturer indeed. So I'm still positive about HP.

Drawback

If you want to buy and use it as tablet PC, I think you may regret because in Table mode, this is not so good. From the placement of all buttons around the screen. It doesn't help you anything.

Next issue is about driver I believe, I am not sure if this is HP or AMD problem, but it's real pain to track down power consumption of this machine. Thus, we can't really find a solution for prolonging its battery life.

Moreover, by the fact that, it has IR receiver for mini Windows Media Center remote. It sucks if you have WMC box around while using this because once you press WMC button, this machine will be gladly opening WMC for you as well no matter how far or what direction the real remote is. Really Annoying.

HP - Picky BIOS

On more thing is the system is very picky, I tried to swap another Broadcom 802.11ag PCIe in, it alerted that system halted, there was unsupported device and it couldn't be used! That sucks! no freedom at all, please fix this HP.

Conclusion

As I mentioned earlier, this machine is an entertainment PC with tablet functionality. So it's like it's capable of doing anything, but none of them is the best around. I'm not saying this is not a good machine though. Just think about it for a sec, you can play games well, ink on screen beautifully, watch DVD or whatever comfortably without wearing headphone to be able to hear anything clearly, and be able to touch if you want to do anything real quick. Whoa! that's amazing. I bet only a few system could do anything like this and more importantly with the price range, $800-$1000, nothing can beat this. Bottom line is if you want to try and have fun with tablet PC features without sacrifice the performance, this is just the right choice for you. However, if you are Tablet PC user originally, there is more possibility that you will have to find a new one very soon.

Pros

  • Powerful Performance
  • Versatile features
  • Touch (passive digitizer) requires unbelievably light pressure
  • Wacom active digitizer
  • Very good speaker--loud enough and well place
  • (Features+Performance) / {Price} == FANTASTIC

Cons

  • A bit heavy for the size
  • Not so good battery life comparing to its battery capacity
  • Glare/mirror screen
  • Noisy