My HP Elitebook 845 G10 Laptop Nightmare

After 5 years, my trusty ThinkPad T480 was starting to show signs of decline, randomly crashing every few minutes even through OS reinstalls. Considering the advancements in laptop technology, I decided to replace it with a HP Elitebook 845 G10 instead of repairing it out of warranty.

On paper, the Elitebook 845 G10 looked like my ideal laptop - light, equipped with the latest AMD processors and the only business laptop I could get that had upgradeable memory. Based on a glowing review from Notebookcheck, I purchased it in Sep 2023 for S$2324 (US$1760). This includes a 3-year next business day response onsite warranty.

I expected a premium experience at that price but got a 3-month nightmare instead. I’ve been lied to by tech support. Response times for repairs are always 2-3 weeks instead of the next business day due to part availability. An attempted repair by a technician shorted-out the motherboard, leaving me without a working personal laptop for weeks during planned downtime at the end of last year. I’m sharing my experience to process the trauma from this nightmare and to save someone from going through what I did.

Table of Contents


Here are the specs of the machine:

I upgraded the laptop separately, as doing so was much cheaper than an equivalent configuration from HP. I installed a SK hynix Platinum P41 2TB SSD and a Crucial RAM 64GB DDR5 5600 Kit (2x32GB), which brought the total cost of the machine to S$2925 (US$2216).

First Impressions

Build quality is excellent. The chassis is rock solid, doesn’t flex at all and isn’t a fingerprint magnet. The keyboard is on par with newer ThinkPads and is among the best I’ve used in a laptop. Performance is also great. It runs cool and the fans never come on in normal use.

However, it takes nearly 20 seconds to boot to the login screen, a known issue with AMD processors and DDR5 memory.

See the Notebookcheck review for more details.

My happiness didn’t last.

Disabled ASPM (Sep - Nov 2023)

Active-state power management (ASPM) is a mechanism for PCIe links to enter a powered down state when devices are not in use. This helps to increase battery life on laptops.

After a week of use, I was concerned when I noticed the CPU reported consuming almost 4 W of power at idle, more than the 2 W in other laptops. I discovered that ASPM is disabled for the PCIe link to the processor. Upon further research, I learned that ASPM support is controlled by the BIOS and is not something that end users can override. This is a common issue with numerous laptops including previous generations of Elitebooks.

I called tech support, which routed me to call centers from either India or the Philippines. There isn’t a separate support line for business notebooks here in Singapore, though I know this exists in the US.

Tech support suggested a motherboard replacement to rule out hardware problems as the processor is on the motherboard. I reluctantly agreed even though I suspected it wouldn’t help, since it was the only way to make progress.

I was informed my next business day on-site response warranty had to be validated. Tech support refused to budge even though I offered to send proof of purchase. After waiting for almost 2 weeks for HP’s backend systems to reflect my warranty, I waited for another fortnight because a replacement motherboard wasn’t in stock. I was frustrated with the lack of initiative from tech support because ensuring part availability should have been done in parallel with validating my warranty.

A month after my initial call to tech support, the replacement motherboard was finally ready. As expected, the motherboard replacement didn’t help.

I continued to communicate with tech support for another month, sending various diagnostic logs as requested and ensuring all my drivers and firmware was up to date. Even after escalation to a higher-level support team, it was clear that I wouldn’t be able to communicate with anyone capable of understanding the problem. I got absurd suggested solutions like installing the Intel Chipset Software Installation Utility, on a laptop without an Intel processor. Tech support claimed they had no way of communicating to the team in charge of BIOS development, so couldn’t forward my bug report.

I gave up on a resolution, since reaching competent support was impossible.

I only learned later that the readouts for CPU power consumption are unreliable when the CPU isn’t at full load, so it was actually consuming less power than reported. I’m not sure if this was a consequence of ASPM being disabled, since other laptops with the same processor reported much less power consumption. Additionally, there seems to be a buggy firmware update from AMD that is preventing laptops from entering lower power states, causing excessive battery drain in low load scenarios.

Fan Speed / Input Bug (Oct - Nov 2023)

In Oct, I noticed the fans would sporadically spin up all the way to max and never spin down regardless of CPU temperatures. When that happens, keyboard and touchpad input wouldn’t work reliably. The only way to continue using the laptop was to power cycle it by restarting or putting it to sleep. It took me some time to realize that this bug only happens while on battery. This was incredibly frustrating as power cycling the machine interrupts what I am doing. The bug was also difficult to replicate; it could happen 5 minutes after a restart or only a few hours later. This issue didn’t exist when I initially used the laptop, so I suspected a regression caused by BIOS or driver updates.

I tried calling tech support on Oct 25 but couldn’t reach anyone as all agents were busy. I emailed a summary of my findings to the agent that I had been corresponding with, as I was on vacation for a week from the following day.

After my vacation, I called to check for progress on Nov 6, only to learn that nothing has been done. The agent apologized and suggested a fan replacement to rule out hardware issues. As the replacement fan wasn’t in stock, I waited another fortnight for one to be shipped in.

A technician was scheduled to perform the fan replacement on Nov 20. In the meantime, a BIOS update was released a few days before. Although the release notes didn’t mention the bug, I postponed the replacement for a few days to check if the BIOS update fixed the issue.

Fortunately, the BIOS update fixed the bug. I was surprised that the BIOS release notes didn’t mention the resolution of such a critical bug. Tech support was also unaware that a BIOS update was released to fix this issue and would have gone ahead with a pointless fan replacement. Though I’m grateful the issue was resolved, I felt like an unpaid tester because it should have been the technical support team informing me of the bug resolution, instead of the other way round.

USB-C Devices Don’t Power Down When the Laptop Is Off (Nov 2023)

When I returned from vacation, my laptop’s battery was flat even though it was fully charged and turned off before leaving. I suspected this was caused by a YubiKey that I had left plugged into the USB-C port. I confirmed my hypothesis by leaving a thumb drive plugged in overnight and observing a 15% discharge of the battery over 8 hours with the laptop off. The laptop was supplying power to USB-C ports even when fully powered down. The problem persisted even after disabling legacy USB always-on charging in the BIOS. From a quick Google search, this seems to be a common issue with HP laptops.

When I reported the bug, I was told this was normal behaviour, and it was “impossible for the motherboard to stop supplying power to the USB devices”. I was left speechless for a few seconds at the incompetence of tech support. Every other laptop that I’ve used stops powering USB devices correctly when turned off. They dismissed my bug report. Again, I could not reach anyone competent.

At this point, I started regretting the purchase of this laptop. This bug alone wouldn’t be too annoying, as I could work around it by remembering to unplug USB devices when not in use. However, the red flags were starting to pile up.

Keystrokes Not Registering Intermittently On Battery (Nov - Dec 2023)

My relief from the awful fan / input bug was short-lived. I started noticing that the keyboard doesn’t work properly on battery. Keystrokes wouldn’t register around 5% of the time. Single key presses would also sometimes not register at all, although not as often. This issue also persisted through an OS reinstall with updated drivers. Since the keyboard worked properly initially, I suspected another regression, perhaps an issue with firmware or the Windows drivers. This bug doesn’t happen on Linux.

A reliable keyboard is critical for my use case. I called tech support on Nov 17. The agent suggested a keyboard replacement. Again, I had to wait for 3 weeks for the keyboard replacement to be shipped in as HP didn’t have any in stock.

A technician performed the keyboard replacement on Dec 14. However, the motherboard was shorted-out from electrostatic discharge in the process, making the machine unusable. A replacement motherboard was needed to fix the laptop. In this case, the solution was far worse than the original problem, as I still had a useable laptop before the “fix”.

I only learned later that replacing the keyboard for this laptop is a difficult procedure that requires almost a complete disassembly.

The Final Straw

By now, you’ll not be surprised that the motherboard replacement wasn’t in stock. I was asked to wait for 2 weeks as the initial ETA for a replacement was Dec 27.

This was the final straw. The various issues with the laptop were always a constant source of anxiety and stress. The previous delays were frustrating, but at least the laptop was still in a useable state. This time though, the laptop was bricked, ruining my plans to use it during some downtime in the second half of Dec.

Refund Request (Dec 2023 - Jan 2024)

I was desperate for this nightmare to end. I wanted so badly for this laptop to work out but could no longer overlook the sheer number of problems.

  1. I can understand occasional delays if parts are not available. However, the number of delays I’ve experienced is inexcusable. In Singapore, HP seemingly doesn’t have an inventory of spare parts for the Elitebook 845 G10, so my next business day response warranty can’t be honoured.
  2. Tech support only seems capable of solving hardware defects, since part replacement was always the suggested fix. This is the level of tech support I expect from budget laptops, not HP’s flagship business machines.
  3. The firmware is terribly buggy. Updates seemed as likely to cause regressions as to fix bugs.
  4. It has been impossible to report bugs, either because I can’t reach anyone competent or because tech support has no access to the driver or firmware development teams. I don’t expect the complete absence of bugs but do expect an effective bug reporting mechanism.
  5. I suspect the keyboard replacement wouldn’t have helped but was never able to find out due to the broken motherboard. If so, I wouldn’t be able to reach anyone at tech support capable of solving the problem.

To preserve my sanity, I asked for a refund on Dec 15. There is a 30-day return window, so refund requests beyond that period had to be escalated to the customer relations team. I negotiated for a promise of an escalation if there were any further delays.

On Dec 22, I was informed of a delay and the updated ETA was Jan 2, or 3 weeks. The support agent sounded sympathetic to my plight and promised to immediately escalate my case.

Two business days later on Dec 27 (the original motherboard ETA), I was notified that the motherboard may arrive that day but never got any confirmation, which meant that the delayed ETA was accurate. By that evening, I still hadn’t heard from the customer relations team. I called support to check in only to have the agent ask for another chance to fix the laptop. I refused. I reiterated my demand to his supervisor, only to find out the refund request had in fact not been escalated on Dec 22. I was asked to wait for another 2 business days after the supervisor promised to escalate the case immediately.

This meant I was outright lied to on Dec 22, probably to get me to accept a repair instead. Though I was angry throughout this whole sequence of events, the lie fanned the flames of anger to fury. I could understand incompetence, but not an outright lie. Instead of dissuading me from pursuing a refund, this behaviour increased my determination to do so.

I didn’t hear from the customer relations team on Dec 29. On the following day, a Saturday, I received a call from the customer relations team explaining the manager assessing my refund request wasn’t available the previous day due to a personal emergency. I was promised a resolution by Jan 2. I really appreciated that call, as I felt terrible about this entire experience and was wondering why I hadn’t heard from them on the 29th.

On Jan 2, I provided the order invoice on request. On Jan 5, I got confirmation that I would receive a full refund, subject to an inspection of the laptop. I ordered my replacement laptop that evening, a ThinkPad P16s Gen 2 AMD.

Fortunately, the rest of the refund process was uneventful. On Jan 9, a courier collected the laptop for return to HP. On Feb 5, I received the promised refund in full.

I am very grateful to the customer relations and sales teams for facilitating this refund.


Besides the obvious lesson of never buying a business laptop from HP, these are my takeaways that apply to any laptop.

  1. Detailed professional reviews can’t be fully trusted, as reviewers won’t be using the laptop for enough time to assess quality of drivers and firmware, experience regressions or quality of technical support. User reviews tend to have a negative bias though, this review being a perfect example.
  2. The initial months after a laptop’s release is the riskiest time to purchase it. Even without HP’s exceptionally buggy firmware, this laptop was among the first wave of machines with AMD’s new Zen 4 Phoenix processors, so some teething issues should be expected. For example, the Framework 13 AMD was delayed due to AMD firmware being production ready only in Sep 2023.
  3. Readouts from software for CPU power consumption or battery discharge rates are unreliable especially in low-load scenarios. The best way of measuring power consumption is using a Multimeter to check power draw from the wall. The next best way is keeping track of how much the remaining battery charge (in mwh) changes over time. Had I done this earlier, I would have realized that my laptop wasn’t using an abnormal amount of power (3.3 w at idle). Having ASPM disabled would result in less runtime, but less than I had initially assumed.
  4. Never assume a new laptop will work out of the box. Though I will be checking new laptops for issues more comprehensively in the future, it wouldn’t have helped in this case, as almost all of the problems have been caused by buggy software or regressions in functionality from automatically installed updates.
  5. It is probably easier to get hardware defects resolve than bugs in firmware or drivers. Hardware problems are usually simpler to explain, more obvious and reproduceable. Sporadic software bugs are the worst. I can understand why the manufacturer would rather send a technician to perform hardware replacements than have their development team fix bugs.
  6. Great specs don’t matter if the laptop comes with poor firmware. HP’s Elitebook firmware is terrible, exacerbated by the lack of bug reporting channels for consumers.
  7. Unlike desktops, laptop parts can’t be swapped for alternatives. Hence, laptop users are entirely reliant on the manufacturer for bug fixes.


This ordeal has left me forever traumatized. Instead of excitement, the thought of buying a laptop now fills me with anxiety about a repeat of this experience if I make the wrong choice.

I urge you not to buy any business laptops from HP. I hope this was helpful for your next laptop purchase and wish that you never have such a terrible laptop experience.