3 birds, one stone, whats the difference?
I decided to cover all three of these with just one article because you may ask, whats the difference? Answer- not a huge amount as it seems, all three look identical (and by the way, these are really popular laptops at the moment, I see lots on the train – as of December 2018 – I do a little laptop spotting.) I originally brought one of these machines, for the USB-C capability, but see below. Then I wanted some AMD laptops for my collection, so I ended up with a 725, the 745 was meant to be a beaten up machine which I got messed around with on eBay by an Irish seller (bastard!), so I could do a YouTube video on how to deal with modern laptops and their quirky differences, so I ended up paying 4 times over the price for a much better machine in much better nick. Except I am bored! So much for my YouTube ideas!
In my collection, I have the following:
HP Elitebook 725 G3
- AMD A10-8700B Pro CPU (1.8GHz) 4 core + 8 Compute Cores
- AMD Radeon R6 intergrated GPU (800mhz)
- 4GB DDR3 RAM (upgraded to 8GB at the time of writing)
- 500GB 7mm SATA drive with space to replace the hard drive for an M.2 SATA drive
- 1366×768 screen (future upgrade)
- Backlit keyboard
HP Elitebook 745 G4
- AMD A10-8730B Pro CPU (2.0GHz) 4 core + 8 Compute Cores
- AMD Radeon R5 intergrated GPU (724mhz – WHAT?)
- 8GB DDR4 RAM
- 256GB M.2 SATA drive, with space for a hard drive
- 1366×768 screen (future upgrade)
- Non-backlit keyboard (future upgrade)
HP Elitebook 840 G3
- Intel Core i5 6300u CPU (2.4ghz) 2 cores + 2 threads
- Intel HD graphics 620
- 8GB DDR4 RAM
- 256GB M.2 SATA drive (upgraded with a 1TB hard drive)
- 1920×1080 screen…
- Backlit keyboard
- Fingerprint reader
- HP lt1112 WWAN module (upgrade on all 3 as none had it from the factory)
- USB-C – see below
So, with all three looking similar, with different CPU, the AMDs are quad cores and the intel is dual core quad thread, whats the actual difference? Well:
x20/x25 are 12.5” screens
x40/x45 are 14.0” screens
x50/x55 are 15.6” screens (I do not own one – unless someone is willing to donate one.)
There are at the time of writing, 5 generations, G1 to G5 denoted after the model number, curiously, spare parts are interesting once you trawl through the manuals, here is an example:
12.5” models have the option of a 1366×768 screen and a 1920×1080(FHD) screen
14.0” models have the option of a 1366×768, 1920×1080(FHD) and 2560×1600(QHD) screen
15.6” models have the option of a 1366×768 screen and a 1920×1080(FHD) screen (oddly!)
Otherwise, a lot of internal parts are interchangable. On the 840/85x series, the motherboards are also identical, except, strangely, HP put a discreet graphics chip (WHY?) in the 15.6” model with only a HD option but the 14” model gets the QHD option. HP make sense? I guess not
In short, do not buy for the USB-C port, which is the huge mistake I made. None of them dock or charge properly, the only thing that works, is the USB port and ethernet port, see below for the dock I use which works on all other USB-C capable devices I own. Fustrating? You bet.
X20/x25 hard drive
In short again, if you want a hard drive as well as an SSD, look elsewhere, really! HP engineers missed a trick, the M.2 slot goes across where the hard drive goes, and the hard drive goes under the M.2 slot, see photo, meaning, you have one or the other, some have tried both together, but with different outcomes.
All 3 take SATA hard drives, with the appropriate caddy, BUT, if you have an SSD, you won’t have the caddy. The only accepted hard drives are 7mm, don’t try 9.5mm, I did and failed. The SATA connector is arranged in such away, it stops you 🙁
Upgrading to HSDPA/LTE
And on these models, its possible. Later production runs have a blanking card perminately affixed to the SIM card slot from the factory, should you fail to have the factory installed HSDPA/LTE module, but there’s nothing stopping you from adding one, except perhaps OFCOM (where I am) or FCC (USA). See photos of where it goes.
As a small side effect, you also get GPS as well, so you can go satnaving to your hearts content. A way to do this would to use a display mounted in the car and put your laptop in the boot, but that’s another comment for another day, heat considerations, power considerations and other points need to be considered before you can explore that route.
Believe it or not, the MT40 thin client is based on these laptops, with a smaller SSD and limited operating system, which gets me thinking, if I could get a broken one, it will get the slim, thin client treatment, give it 3G and hey presto, I have a modern instantaneous mobile thin client, all I have to do is configure the operating system to shut off the fan… for good! Again, if you are willing to donate a partially working one, please contact me.
Or strongly recommended, I should say. If you like your all over cases and not have to remove the laptop, the best one I can recommend that will fit is a Brenthaven Tred always-on 11” case (CLICK ME! CLICK ME!) for the 12.5” model. Yes, it fits, I have one.
On the 14” models, the Belkin AirProtect always-on 14” case (CLICK ME! CLICK ME!) fits like a glove and is flexible enough to keep you on the move.
Out of all three I have for gaming, I’d recommend the 725, the 840 is very good and fast, but too large if you want to carry it everywhere, likewise for the 745, the graphics chip on the 745 is great. But, the 725 gets the portability, the gpu is better than the other 2 and its a very capable machine.
3D Sudio Max Rendering Benchmark:
Ok, now to rip it apart. HP has a very useful manual, but like every laptop these days, how do you upgrade the ram, hard drive or even battery? Lift the bottom cover off. Seriously. You have about 10 screws to remove (while the laptop goes, “Screw you!”) and then pop the metal (yes, its metal this time) cover off the bottom with a spludger or guitar pick, I strongly recommend plastic tools, as metal ones will scratch your precious machine.
Heres the difference between the 725, 745 and 840, I don’t have a 755 or 850, so I can’t cover the difference, I believe the 755/850 is very similar to the 745/840.
The screen is a bit more difficult affair.
To replace the battery, you only have 1 or 2 screws and just lift it off. These should never need changing in theory. In praticse, you may need more than one.
Any other info?
Stickers can be found easily, to personalise your laptop, the 840 has a leather one stuck to it to protect the laptop from grease and dirt, despite how clean my hands are.
They also seem to be very cheap to find, because they are so common, the 725 G3 cost £134.00 from an eBay refurbisher who promptly put a “Warranty voided if removed sticker” on it in June 2018 (Sod off!). The 745 G4 cost £329 and was 9 months old in around June 2018, all three are STILL in HP warranty until at least 2020. The 840 G3 cost £400 and was slightly more expensive as intel has a bit of a reputation. I’ve not checked December 2018 pricing, but expect further falls. Strange considering these machines cost over £1000 brand new, that makes them faster depreciating than a car, whereas the Toughbooks depreciate far more slowly and thus more durable.
Apparently, the 7xx/8xx series do past MIL-810G specifications, but I wouldn’t like to drop one! (See here) After reading the whitepaper and saying drop test passed, I’m not convinced still.
After typing this page out, there was a YouTube clip of an older Elitebook getting some rough treatment, I’ll have to add this to my Elitebook 2170p page as well: