HP ZBook 14 Review: Mobile Workstation Meets Ultrabookby Jarred Walton on June 20, 2014 2:30 AM EST
HP ZBook 14: General Performance
For our remaining benchmarks, we'll drop desktop workstations from the charts and simply focus on laptops. We're including a few more recent consumer laptops along with the older mobile workstations from the previous page. These results aren't likely to be anywhere near as meaningful as the workstation tests, however, as just about any modern system can handle any day-to-day task you might want to run.
Interestingly, several of the PCMark 8 tests didn't want to run to completion when I first tried benchmarking the ZBook – probably related to the FirePro drivers, and more specifically Enduro. Changing Enduro to "Optimize Performance" instead of "Maximize Performance" did the trick. You can see by the scores that there's nothing to worry about in terms of general performance – any decent laptop with pure SSD storage will start to look about the same in PCMark.
For CPU performance, we see the usual law of diminishing returns in full effect. The i7-4600U is the fastest dual-core ULV part that Intel currently ships…but it's nowhere near as fast as even the slowest quad-core i7-4702MQ when it comes to multi-threaded performance. It's also only slightly faster than the i5-4200U; is it worth the added cost for the extra ~200MHz you get? Perhaps, but it's still a steep increase in price for a small bump in performance.
The 3DMark results were a bit interesting, in that the first time I ran them the performance was much higher than in subsequent runs. I don't think this was a case of throttling either, but rather those FirePro drivers are again coming into play. I saw as much as a 30% drop in performance on some runs of 3DMark, and eventually settled on a "median" score –I took the second highest result. Know that the drivers are very much tuned for professional OpenGL applications first, and things like games and 3DMark are a secondary (if that) concern. In fact, let's just put the gaming results right here – this isn't a gaming laptop by any definition, and while it can in theory play games, again the drivers are not optimized for that use case.
AMD's Kaveri prototype is pretty much faster in every game we tested, which is surprising considering we're looking at a discrete GPU with plenty of memory bandwidth. Even the old Trinity IGP isn't too far behind – and sometimes ahead – while NVIDIA's consumer-focused GT 650M and GT 750M easily beat the ZBook 14 in gaming prowess. For that matter, Intel's Iris Pro (that's in the Clevo W740SU) is also quite a bit faster in the tests we've run, though power requirements are likely higher for that single chip than for the CPU + GPU in the Zbook 14. Updated drivers could improve the situation perhaps, but I already updated to the May driver release and didn't see any major changes; being a mobile workstation GPU, gaming clearly isn't a primary consideration.
Post Your CommentPlease log in or sign up to comment.
View All Comments
MonkeyPaw - Friday, June 20, 2014 - linkI can wait a little while for the Surface 3 review, provided it is as thorough as an iDevice review. If we've waited a month to get a 2 pager, then I might share your disappointment.
The only thing I can think that may be causing the delay is that preview Surface 3s had some power management and pen bugs that MS promised to address, and Surface 3 just saw a significant Firmware update this week. Technically speaking, the retail Surface 3 just became officially available, so I'm willing to wait for the actual OOBE review.
nerd1 - Friday, June 20, 2014 - linkSo I ended up having the SP3 in my hand, BEFORE reading *any* worthwhile review. It is downright absurd.... The power management issue is with connected stay, and shouldn't affect the battery test at all. I think anand just doesn't care too much for any non-apple products nowadays.
dabk - Friday, June 20, 2014 - linkWhat ultrabooks actually have dedicated graphics? I've been looking for a decent one for ages now.
JarredWalton - Friday, June 20, 2014 - linkASUS has the UX302, Acer has had a couple versions of the M5 and now the V7-482PG -- I'm not sure if the V7 is technically an Ultrabook, but close enough. Lenovo also has the U430/U430P that I believe qualifies as an Ultrabook. There are some other "close enough" options including the ASUS UX51VZ, Razer Blade 14 (and the Pro), Gigabyte P34G/U24F, and I think Sony might have something with a dGPU as well. We could also toss in a few AMD-based offerings with APUs that can at least handle moderate gaming, but they're not generally as fast as discrete GPUs.
Of the above, I'd say probably the Acer V7-482PG wins my pick for a current gaming Ultrabook. Dell's XPS 15 and the Razer Blade 14 are in the mix as well, if you don't mind going larger than 14", and the Blade 14 is clearly going to be faster than the others. Personally, I wish Razer had used a Maxwell 860M instead of the Kepler 870M, but whatever.
skiboysteve - Saturday, June 21, 2014 - linkReally informative comment. Thanks for posting this!
dabk - Monday, June 23, 2014 - linkThis is very nice, thank you.
My main problem I guess is buying a computer for around/over $1000 which has a last generation graphics card though I have no idea if Acer is ever going to update to the 800 series. Would you know anything about this?
I would also point out that the current gen Lenovo U4XX no longer have dGPU and that Sony no longer has anything with a dGPU (if only the Vaio Z were still around).
The Blade and P34Gv2 are amazing though with prices to match.
quorm - Friday, June 20, 2014 - linkPlease review the Gigabyte P34G v2.
Tikcus9666 - Friday, June 20, 2014 - linkIf the AMD A10 PRO - 7350B and others in this range had the graphics branded fire pro (will relevant features unlocked), I'd be interested to see if HP or Lenovo (or Dell if they ever made an AMD based system again) launched any entry level AMD based workstation laptop, at a fraction of the cost, as GPU features (granted not memory bandwidth) would be in-line with what is in this workstation, and i imagine the AMD A10 PRO - 7350B would be less expensive that the AMD FirePro M1400 (granted have not checked)
artk2219 - Friday, June 20, 2014 - linkI believe you mean the fx-7500:
I kid though, honestly the only difference would be in the drivers for the GPU since the hardware is literally identical, maybe the "pro" is better binned and has slightly less leakage and slightly better thermals? I would be curious to see how much of a premium they would charge for the "pro" over the FX-7500. I'm really looking forward to those benchies, it should perform about like an A10-4600M on the CPU side, maybe a bit faster thanks to steamroller. Graphically I honestly dont know, different architectures and such with GCN being much more efficient, but the VLIW4 based GPU in the A10 has a 132 MHZ max boost advantage. Either way, bringing the performance of an older 35 watt chip down to 19 watts is pretty nice. We will see how those ULV I3's and I5's fare in comparison.
JarredWalton - Friday, June 20, 2014 - linkWe actually asked AMD if the Pro APUs would have any OpenGL enhanced drivers, and the answer is sadly, "No, they will not." Maybe AMD will pursue that with a future part, but honestly: professional OpenGL drivers are a huge upsell on pricing, and the last thing AMD/NVIDIA want to do is to give people a $100 part that kills the sale of a $500+ part. I'd love to see some other competitor disrupt the industry, but so far it hasn't happened. Intel might be our best bet, as they have no existing market in professional graphics to protect, but first they need to create hardware that can handle the task.