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.
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Tikcus9666 - Friday, June 20, 2014 - linkshame then, as I can see (at least in the UK) the only FX/A10 APU, in cheap, laptops with 768p screens, 5400 rpm HDD and slow ram so the APU's graphics are hampered, and the pro line in entry level systems sold to the business market with similar specs
would be good to see an FX APU with 2333MHz Ram, a SSD and a Matt 1080p (or better screen), probably enough power to work and play (granted with details turned down)
Tikcus9666 - Saturday, June 21, 2014 - linkIf there will not be the enhanced OpenGl drivers for the A Pro series, Perhaps someone at AMD may realise they can release a Opteron APU with similar specs to the current FX/A10/Pro line, with OpenGl enhanced drivers, charge a lot more (than current APU pricng) and still provide a competitive entry level workstation chip much cheaper than an intel CPU + AMD/Nvidia entry level dgpu
p1esk - Friday, June 20, 2014 - linkLOL at their pricing. Even with 4k this would be too much. Also, prefer NVIDIA, just in case I might need to run some CUDA code.
pr1mal0ne - Friday, June 20, 2014 - linkPage 2 Paragraph 6 "
The integrated headset hack at least was free"
JarredWalton - Friday, June 20, 2014 - linkLOL... I had to scratch my head for a moment to figure out what I was trying to say. "Why am I talking about hacking?" Thanks for the correction.
pr1mal0ne - Friday, June 20, 2014 - linkI buy a lot of these for business purposes.
We had to fight with our HP Rep in the beginning to get Win7 on these from the factory, but now that is the normal config and I have never once ordered one with Win8.
I like the trackpad on these. It if leagues better than the clickpads on the lenovo thinkpads and macbooks. Personally i find clickpads to be horrible and have had users complain about them. Never had a user complain about a trackpad. And the size is perfect. I would not ask for any more space to be consumed by the trackpad.
As noted, the screen here is great, but i will say the default screen is horrible. the bad resolution makes it unusable
One huge complaint that nueters this laptops functionality as a business laptop is the lack of a 10-key. Half our workforce will not accept these as they lack a 10 key and any data input professional has a legit business need for one integrated. This is a huge oversight by HP in my opinion.
We prefer to buy the 8560p and 8570w over this laptop. As they have 10 key and they have a better build quality. That being said, these laptops are still tough. I have some with dents but never had one break due to physical damage. Heat is not an issue when it is on a desk or docked. Though running autocad on your lap will get it on the hot side.
Jarred, i must say lines like " But then I'm not a workstation user;" only serve to make me ask myself why are you reviewing this in the first place? Workstation users rely on their laptop to do work that a cell phone cant. 4 pounds is light when you consider how much this is doing for you.
JarredWalton - Friday, June 20, 2014 - linkThe reality of true workstation users is that they tend to earn enough that they don't write as tech journalists. Hahaha... But seriously, I mention that I'm not a workstation user mostly to make it clear that I can't really dig into every facet of the laptop, and personally I have other laptops I would take over the ZBook 14. I don't need Quadro or FirePro GPUs, and in fact I don't even want them -- they cost more and run slower at the sort of consumer tasks (games) I'd use them to run.
No true workstation users would even consider a Razer Blade as an alternative... but I would. Workstation users also tend to know what specific programs they're going to run. Just because you use a workstation doesn't mean you run Pro/E or one of the Siemens apps. And if you happen to use Photoshop or Premiere (which used to be "workstation applications"), as far as I'm aware they no longer even benefit from the presence of a professional dGPU.
As for the 10-key aspect, cramming a 10-key into a 14" chassis would be a terrible idea IMO. There's just not enough room for it, so you'd end up having to shrink all of the other keys to make it fit. There are plenty of mobile workstation options for people that need a 10-key, and they're all 15" or larger for a reason. I'm not sure I've ever even heard of a 14" or smaller laptop with a dedicated 10-key.
Ultimately, this is really pretty easy though: workstation users know what apps they will actually run, and hopefully the data provided here is enough to help them make an informed decision. (If not, let me know what else you'd suggest running. Keep in mind that I don't even know how to use a lot of the professional applications, which is why things like SPECviewperf are used.) And if they really want a light mobile workstation but they require a 10-key, they'll need to either compromise on the size/weight or determine to give up a dedicated 10-key while on the road (i.e. plug in a keyboard at the office).
esterhasz - Friday, June 20, 2014 - linkI mean, it's a nice machine, but what I got most out of this is how fast the Razer Blade 14 is.
dylan522p - Saturday, June 21, 2014 - linkThere are more powerful dualcores, namely the 28W parts.
JarredWalton - Monday, June 23, 2014 - linkWhich is obviously not a 15W ULV part.