HP ZBook 14: Workstation Performance

Given this is a mobile workstation by virtue of the FirePro M4100 GPU, that's arguably going to be the biggest reason to consider forking out the money for the ZBook 14, so let's just jump straight to the results of our workstation benchmarks. For testing, I ran SPECviewperf 11 and 12, but 12 is so new that it's a bit finicky and routinely had individual tests that would hang (or at least not return a score), so I'm sticking with the older version – plus we have a few other mobile workstations that we've tested with SPECviewperf 11 in the past. I also ran the SPECapc Lightwave 9.6 test. For reference, I ran the same tests on a couple of recent (and one upcoming) consumer grade laptops: the Dell XPS 15 (GT 750M), MSI GE60 (GTX 860M), and MSI GT70 (GTX 880M). Considering the potential difference in normal graphics performance – the GTX 880M in particular should be far more powerful than the M4100 – the performance results in professional applications were still surprising.

It's been a while since we've reviewed any mobile workstations – the last one was almost 18 months ago, when Dustin reviewed HP's EliteBook 8570w – so we don't have a lot of recent offerings in our charts. However, workstation hardware tends to stick around a lot longer and if nothing else it will be interesting to see where the new M4100 rates compared to the older M4000 from the 8570w. Also included in the charts are a few desktop workstations (results are in red) and the consumer laptops (results in black).

SPECviewperf 11 (catia-03)

SPECviewperf 11 (ensight-04)

SPECviewperf 11 (lightwave-01)

SPECviewperf 11 (maya-03)

SPECviewperf 11 (proe-05)

SPECviewperf 11 (sw-02)

SPECviewperf 11 (tcvis-02)

SPECviewperf 11 (snx-01)

SPECapc Lightwave 3D 9.6 (Multitask)SPECapc Lightwave 3D 9.6 (Interactive)SPECapc Lightwave 3D 9.6 (Render)

There are clearly applications where having a workstation class GPU can make a tremendous difference; conversely, in some cases the GPU doesn't matter much at all and the CPU takes precedence. Given the ZBook 14 has to get by with a dual-core ULV processor, it can hope to compete with quad-core processors in the latter class of benchmark, but for those tests that rely on OpenGL acceleration it can often make a noticeable difference. I don't generally use any of these "professional" applications, so scores in Pro/Engineer, SolidWorks, Siemens Teamcenter and NX, etc. don't really matter to me. If you know enough to care about these scores, however, you can see that there are cases where the ZBook 14 is able to come close to the performance of even desktop workstations; not surprisingly, those are the same benchmarks where consumer level GPUs simply fail to impress, regardless of how fast they might be for other benchmarks (which we'll get to in a moment).

HP ZBook 14: Subjective Evaluation HP ZBook 14: General Performance
Comments Locked


View All Comments

  • MonkeyPaw - Friday, June 20, 2014 - link

    I 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 - link

    So 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 - link

    What ultrabooks actually have dedicated graphics? I've been looking for a decent one for ages now.
  • JarredWalton - Friday, June 20, 2014 - link

    ASUS 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 - link

    Really informative comment. Thanks for posting this!
  • dabk - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    This 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 - link

    Please review the Gigabyte P34G v2.
  • Tikcus9666 - Friday, June 20, 2014 - link

    If 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 - link

    I 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 - link

    We 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.

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now