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
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  • Tikcus9666 - Friday, June 20, 2014 - link

    shame 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 - link

    If 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 - link

    LOL 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 - link

    Page 2 Paragraph 6 "
    The integrated headset hack at least was free"
    spelling error
  • JarredWalton - Friday, June 20, 2014 - link

    LOL... 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 - link

    I 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 - link

    The 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 - link

    I 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 - link

    There are more powerful dualcores, namely the 28W parts.
  • JarredWalton - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    Which is obviously not a 15W ULV part.

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