New notebook: HP EliteBook 845 G9 with Linux

Thanks to a deal that I spotted on SlickDeals ( my favorite deal hunting site ), I now own a fancy new HP EliteBook 845 G9 business class notebook computer.

HP EliteBook 845 G9 running Ubuntu 22.04 “Jammy Jellyfish” OS

$706.13 was the order total for this machine, configured with:

  • AMD Ryzen 7 6800U processor + AMD Radeon 680M Graphics ( 544M0AV )
  • 8 GB (1×8 GB) DDR5 4800 SODIMM
  • 256 GB PCIe-4×4 2280 NVMe TLC SSD
  • 14″ diagonal WUXGA WLED+LBL UWVA Anti-Glare for 5 MP Webcam (1920×1200)(400 Nits)
  • Realtek 8852BE Wi-Fi 6 +Bluetooth 5.2 WLAN

A few things that brought the price down even further for me:

  • -$50 Citibank Merchant Offer statement credit
  • -$65.84 from TopCashBack, who had a 10% cash back offer for

$590.29 net price ($706.13 – $50 – $65.84) for the shipped machine

I then purchased a few upgrades and installed them, including:

  • +$107.24 Crucial 32GB (2 x 16GB) 262-Pin DDR5 SO-DIMM DDR5 4800 (PC4 38400), newegg
  • +$67 Crucial P3 1TB PCIe 3.0 3D NAND NVMe M.2 SSD, up to 3500MB/s, amazon
  • +$15.55 Intel AX200 WiFi & Bluetooth card, ebay

$699.08 after upgrades, for a very powerful machine.

Upgrading the HP EliteBook 845 G9

The upgrade-ability factor on this machine is very high. This machine is easy to take a part with the 5 chasis screws found on the bottom of it, it has unsoldered memory modules (soldered memory is a problem on many models nowadays), and the WiFi and SSD storage areas are easily accessible after removing the bottom cover.

View of the HP EliteBook 845 G9 innards with the bottom cover removed

I upgraded the machine from:

  • 256GB to a 1TB SSD
  • 8GB to 32GB of RAM
  • Realtek to an Intel WiFi card

After installing all the new components and attempting to turn the machine back on, I had issues with the machine not booting.

I put in the stock hardware that it came with one at a time until I got back to the shipped configuration, then the machine would boot again. I believe the issue was with the memory. The machine uses a metal shield over top of the memory that also uses “Nylon grounding tape”. I may not have pressed down on that tape with enough pressure the first time around.

I also went into the bios (press ESC at boot) and told it to detect new memory configs and new storage configs. Other folks on SlickDeals reported that it can take a VERY long time to boot after installing new components.

Me, installing the upgraded components in the HP EliteBook 845 G9

I reinstalled all my new hardware again, made sure to seat the metal memory shield well and ensure the grounding tape was properly applied, then it booted up fine with all my new hardware.

Machine is now humming along happily, however I do have a few notes and issues to mention.

  • Ubuntu 22.04 could not detect and use the bundled Realtek WiFi card at all. I used a USB WiFi adapter for my initial tests with the hardware that came shipped. The new Intel card is working great on Ubuntu 22.04. Realtek is notorious for using closed source drivers and not working well with open source operating systems.
  • There’s a super tiny power light indicator on the left side of the chasis, near the USB-C ports, and it often doesn’t give you an indication that the machine is powering up, in suspend mode, or doing anything. The power indicator light on the power button on the keyboard does seem to give the information that this side light is missing.
  • My machine didn’t seem to go to sleep when closing the lid the first night, and it was at near 0% battery when checking it out again in the morning.
  • When typing on the keyboard, I’ve had the cursor jump up above to other fields/areas on multiple occasions, which I believe is due to brushing the trackpad, and possibly the sensitivity being too high on it.

I REALLY dislike that there is no power/suspend/sleep indicator light on the exterior of the machine, as that appears to only exist on the power button, which you can’t see when the lid is closed. I’m used to Lenovo machines where there’s a power light indicator on top of the lid or elsewhere, which you can see slowly blink when the machine is in suspend mode.

I resorted to looking at systemd suspend logs with "journalctl | grep systemd-sleep” to ensure the machine was going into suspend mode correctly when closing the lid.

I’m still kicking the tires on this machine and I do not yet have a fully formed opinion on it, but it is certainly a well built laptop and the performance I’ve seen on it so far is impressive. I may install Windows on it and dual boot with Linux, so that I can use Roblox Studio (Windows only) to help my boys with Roblox game development and coding. I’m also considering going to Fedora instead of Ubuntu.

If you’ve purchased this machine or are considering purchasing it, or a similar one, I’d love to hear from you! Add a comment below to get a discussion started. Ta-ta for now!

2023-09-17 update

I’ve been using this machine for about 9 months now, on and off. I migrated to Fedora 37 (and now 38), hoping that an updated kernel, drivers, and other software might resolve some issues with this machine. It has resolved some issues, but others remain.

  • The trackpad’s mouse stops working occassionally, and I have to reboot to get it working again.
  • The machine seems to freeze/lock up occasionally for a few seconds. During this I cannot do anything. I just need to wait for it to unfreeze.
  • Suspend does not work sometimes.

Based on these issues and a few others, I cannot recommend this machine (even after modifications!) as a computer to use as a Linux daily driver. I have some regrets on this purchase!

About Wes Novack

Wes is a Technologist working in the software industry, with extensive experience building and managing highly available applications, services, and systems in the public cloud. He has extensive experience with online publishing and building internet communities. Wes enjoys hanging with his family, getting outdoors, skateboarding, hiking, pickelball, tennis, the vegan lifestyle, and a good cup of tea. You can find him on X (formerly Twitter) @WesleyTech.

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