Notebookcheck

Asus PU551JH Workstation Review

Tobias Winkler, Stefanie Voigt (translated by Markus Doepfert), 05/29/2015

Quiet. Without making a big fuss, Asus has included a mobile 15-inch workstation in its product line. The PU551JH is already available for less than 1,000 Euros (~$1098) and might be a genuine price-cutter thanks to its matte Full HD display and Nvidia Quadro K1100M. We have tested it extensively to see if this is the case.

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For the original German review, see here.

A mobile workstation from Asus? For less than 1,000 Euros (~$1098)? Not that we would think that Asus is not capable of doing so but it is quite a surprise to find such a relatively exotic model unannounced in the price lists. Without making a big scene, Asus has introduced a laptop that has equipment which is even difficult to come by in second-hand or phase-out models on sale for such a price.

To do so, Asus takes advantage of a method that other manufacturers have been putting into practice for quite some time: Take an already existing chassis, equip it with a professional graphics unit and claim the result as mobile workstation. Examples for this practice are the Dell Precision M2800, the Lenovo ThinkPad W550s, the HP ZBook 14 or the Toshiba Tecra W50. Admittedly, the ASUSPRO PU551 series has already been around for some time and represents an inexpensive midrange model for business demands. Prices for weaker-equipped versions range between around 400 and 650 Euros (~$439 and ~$713). Our test sample is therefore the top model of the series and equipped with a viewing-angle stable and matte Full HD Display, an Nvidia Quadro K1100M, 8 GB RAM, an Intel Core i5-4210M processor and a conventional 500 GB hard drive.

Popular online retailers are currently starting prices at around 920 euros (~$1010). As mentioned before, this is a real declaration of war and might cause disturbances in the established market. A comparably equipped Lenovo ThinkPad W541 starts at around 1,500 Euros (~$1647), Dell demands about 1,400 Euros (~$1537, gross) for a Precision M2800 (FirePro W4170M, HD display) and an HP ZBook 15 G2 (however, with Intel Core i5-4340M), which was configured in the HP shop, costs more than 2,800 Euros (~$3075).

Asus PU551JH (ASUSPRO Series)
Graphics adapter
NVIDIA Quadro K1100M - 2048 MB, Core: 705 MHz, Memory: 700 MHz, GDDR5, 9.18.13.3349, Nvidia Optimus with Intel HD Graphics 4600
Memory
8096 MB 
, 8 GB PC3-12800, 1 Slot free, Single-Channel
Display
15.6 inch 16:9, 1920 x 1080 pixel, Samsung 156HL01_102, IPS LED, glossy: no
Storage
Hitachi Travelstar Z7K500 HTS725050A7E630, 500 GB 
, 7200 rpm
Soundcard
CX20751/2 @ Intel Lynx Point PCH - High Definition Audio Controller
Connections
4 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 1 VGA, 1 HDMI, 1 Kensington Lock, Audio Connections: combined audio in/out 3.5 mm jack, Card Reader: Sd, SDHC, SDXC, UHS-I , 1 Fingerprint Reader
Networking
Realtek RTL8168/8111 Gigabit-LAN (10/100/1000MBit), Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 7260 (a/b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 4.0
Optical drive
MATSHITADVD-RAM
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 36 x 380 x 256 ( = 1.42 x 14.96 x 10.08 in)
Battery
56 Wh Lithium-Ion, 10.8V
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 7 Professional (64 Bit) + Windows 8 Pro (64 Bit)
Camera
Webcam: 1 MP
Additional features
Keyboard: Chiclet, Keyboard Light: no, 24 Months Warranty
Weight
2.51 kg ( = 88.54 oz / 5.53 pounds), Power Supply: 570 g ( = 20.11 oz / 1.26 pounds)
Price
1000 Euro
Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.

 

Case

ASUSPRO PU551JH
ASUSPRO PU551JH
A slim look hides the actual dimensions.
A slim look hides the actual dimensions.
A brushed look is chic but prone to dust.
A brushed look is chic but prone to dust.

Asus has previously proven that they offer quite sturdy and well manufactured business laptops. According to advertising claims, the ASUSPRO PU551 is supposed to "exceed the common industry standards regarding stability, reliability and sturdiness." It is not mentioned though which standards they mean exactly. The Asus PU551's case makes a significantly slimmer and flatter impression in the product photos than in reality. This can easily be revealed when having a look at the product dimensions (380 x 256 x 36 mm) and the weight of 2.5 kg. Asus has skillfully concealed the actual case dimensions with a slanted surface at the bottom and hence achieves at least visually very slim side parts.

Our test sample is impeccably manufactured and has a very appealing look due to the modest black coloration. Spots of color, chrome or glossy surfaces are nowhere to be found. This underlines the understatement claim of the business clientele and should generally be accepted. The palm rest and the display lid are furnished with a finely structured, brushed design and this gives the ASUSPRO PU551JH a premium-quality look. Unfortunately, these areas are also very susceptible to dust and fingerprints and therefore require regular maintenance.

 

As promised by the manufacturer, the good optical impression extends to a solid quality standard. The palm rest is tight, the base unit is sturdy and the keyboard can only slightly be bent in the middle when applying pressure. Even the often critical areas above the battery slot and above the optical drive have been stabilized successfully by Asus. The display lid is relatively thin and can be twisted under force. Nevertheless, it makes a solid and tough impression. Image interferences did not occur with the test sample under normal levels of strain.

The connectivity of the ASUSPRO PU551 is a good basis but lacks typical business interfaces such as DisplayPort, docking connection or Thunderbolt. However, outdated VGA displays can be easily connected, which is not self-evident anymore, even in the business segment. The interface layout turns out to be rather inconvenient in our opinion. 4x USB 3.0, HDMI, LAN and the combined audio jack are positioned at the very front of both sides. Connected cables and peripherals often get in the way and are thus bothersome when working. A conventional dockingport could provide a remedy but is not available. The card-reader works in the USH-I standard and theoretically offers data rates of up to 104 MB/s. In our test with our Toshiba Exceria Pro UHS-II SDHC card it achieved a maximum of 86 MB/s and therefore provides a good performance. The actual potential of the memory card can, however, only be accessed by a USH-II card-reader, which allows speeds of more than 200 MB/s. When connecting an external Samsung T1 SSD via USB 3.0 port, we have established maximum reading speeds of 263 MB/s and writing speeds of 299 MB/s.

Front: UHS-I card-reader
Front: UHS-I card-reader
Left: power connection, VGA, LAN, HDMI, 2 x USB 3.0
Left: power connection, VGA, LAN, HDMI, 2 x USB 3.0
Back: no connections
Back: no connections
Right: combined audio in/out, 2 x USB 3.0, DVD drive, Kensington lock
Right: combined audio in/out, 2 x USB 3.0, DVD drive, Kensington lock

Communication

With Gigabit LAN, 802.11ac WLAN and Bluetooth 4.0, the communication equipment covers the current standards. The 1 MP webcam, however, only suffices in well-lit rooms with slow moving objects. The worse the lighting conditions, the stronger the image noise, color deviations, smearing and inverting are. A modem for cellular communication is not available for this series.

Security

The ASUSPRO PU551 offers business security equipment that is common for entry-level models. Fingerprint reader, TPM chip and the well-known password security on BIOS and system level are on board. Additionally, an Asus Shockshield hard-drive protection, splash water protection of the keyboard and a Kensington lock connection are supposed to protect the laptop from physical damage. The sensitivity of the hard-drive protection can be adjusted to personal needs with the Asus HDD Protection Tool.

Accessories

The system specific accessory choice, which is typical for business notebooks, is limited to a bigger 87-Wh battery for the ASUSPRO PU551. Modular drives, proprietary docking stations or other special accessories are not part of Asus' configuration list. If necessary, the user has to fall back on all-round solutions.

Maintenance

As addressed before, the manual does not contain any information on how to open the case and exchange specific components. The rather common maintenance hatches for the main and mass memory are also missing. We have refrained from any further checks since our test sample is a rental device from an online retailer, which is still supposed to go on sale.

Warranty

Asus grants for the ASUSPRO PU551 a 2-year manufacturer's warranty and for the battery a 1-year warranty. The manufacturer's warranty can, for example, be extended for around 80 Euros (~$87) from 2 to 3 years. Concerning defective pixels on the display, the rule is rather strict and up to 8 defective pixels are still seen as tolerable for the customer. As usual, damages caused by the customer or unauthorized personnel are not covered. If in doubt about Asus allowing component upgrades, the customer support should be contacted. We could not find a list of components which can be replaced or added by the customer. However, the 136-page digital manual contains many operating instructions for beginners and a short introduction to Windows 8.

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Input Devices

Keyboard

Asus puts special emphasis on the quality of the built-in input devices, which is a good thing, since the interfaces with the user are of especially great importance in the business area. The keyboard is comprised of 102 keys in a 19 mm grid and comes by default with a separate numeric keypad. The ratio, the layout and the integrated special functions are conceived in a practice-oriented way. The small arrow keys, which are also too close to each other, are the only part that requires getting used to. Asus calls the keyboard of the PU 551 "Comfort Keyboard" and tries to achieve a comfortable feeling when typing by optimizing the key stroke. Indeed, the keyboard is suitable for frequent typists, and it delivers a precise pressure point and rests tightly on the whole surface. We could not ascertain any display bounce or sagging of individual keys under normal use. The typing speed is high right from the start and appeals with a modest tapping sound. The only drawback of the splash water-protected keyboard is the missing backlighting. This practical feature should be self-evident in such a price and product class, making it the first real gaffe of the test device.

Touchpad

The touchpad offers a relatively big input surface of 107 x 61 mm. It possesses separate touchpad keys with good operability. A few common two- and three-finger gestures, like rotating objects or navigating through applications and sites can be configured in the Asus Smart Gesture Tool. The gliding characteristics are good; however, the precision cannot win us over completely. Additionally, the cursor jumps from time to time and finger input is not always interpreted correctly.

Display

The ASUSPRO PU551JH is equipped with a very good display.
The ASUSPRO PU551JH is equipped with a very good display.
4k displays can only run at 30 Hz in native resolution due to the missing interface (here Viewsonic VP2780-4k, picture: Viewsonic).
4k displays can only run at 30 Hz in native resolution due to the missing interface (here Viewsonic VP2780-4k, picture: Viewsonic).

The ASUSPRO PU551JH is currently the only version of the series that does not come with a standard display with 1366x768 pixels but a Full HD display (1920x1080 pixels). Apart from the in practice more suitable resolution, Asus also promises wide viewing angles, a high brightness and a good contrast. Indeed, Asus installs a high-grade display that is convincing in many respects.

Unfortunately, this is not true for the external connectivity. Since Asus has treated the PU551JH to "only" an HDMI 1.4 port, 4k displays can merely be connected with 30 Hz instead of 60 Hz. Although this still allows using all of the 3840x2160 pixels on an external monitor, fast movements from windows show clearly visible streaks, which are down to the lower refresh rate. We used a 27-inch Viewsonic VP2780-4k for the test, which delivers a perfectly fine image in combination with a nominally less powerful Acer Revo One RL 85 (Intel HD Graphics 5500) thanks to DisplayPort (read the review of the Viewsonic VP2780-4k here).

 

 

319
cd/m²
333
cd/m²
322
cd/m²
318
cd/m²
337
cd/m²
316
cd/m²
313
cd/m²
297
cd/m²
308
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 337 cd/m² Average: 318.1 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 88 %
Center on Battery: 342 cd/m²
Contrast: 864:1 (Black: 0.39 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 4.5 | 0.4-29.43 Ø6.3
ΔE Greyscale 5.94 | 0.64-98 Ø6.5
96% sRGB (Argyll 3D) 62% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll 3D)
Gamma: 2.32

The display brightness of the ASUSPRO PU551JH achieves on average a maximum of 318 cd/m² and is hence very well qualified to be used outside as well. The illumination lies at a solid 88% and subjectively creates a homogenous brightness distribution. Minor bleeding around the perimeter is visible; however, we could not ascertain noticeable clouding even with plain-colored images. The display brightness can be adjusted adequately precisely in 10 steps of 16 cd/m² up to the maximum setting. We measured 145 cd/m² on step 6, which we have also used for some of our battery tests. The black value of 0.39 cd/m² results in combination with the maximum luminance in a contrast of 864:1. The displayable colors cover 97% of the sRGB color space, which is a great value for a notebook display. To put the result into perspective, the desktop monitor Viewsonic VP2780-4k, which is designed for CAD, video and image tasks, also reaches 97% of the sRGB color space. Currently, only RGB LED displays achieve a noticeably bigger color space, regardless of stationary or mobile computers.

97% sRGB coverage
97% sRGB coverage
62% AdobeRGB coverage
62% AdobeRGB coverage

When going outside, the matte display surface and the maximum brightness, which is also available in battery mode, make a good impression. To achieve this level of brightness you must choose the appropriate power plan, since Asus' energy management limits the maximum to 108 cd/m² in power-saver mode. In the balanced plan as well as the high performance plan no limitations exist. Otherwise, you need to adjust the display when working under the clear sky, to avoid being disturbed by direct sunlight. Although this allows reading the image content, it still strains more than usual when working for longer periods of time.

Another issue that is of special importance to image editors besides color-space coverage is an exact color display. Like many times before, the test sample cannot be worked with accurately with factory settings. Even the Asus Splendid Utility does not change this fundamentally. At least with its settings normal, vivid, cinema and manual it allows a simple configuration of the color temperature. At a maximum DeltaE 2000 of 7.57 regarding combination colors and 7.59 for white on delivery, the results are far from the boundary values 3 and 5.

After calibration, we receive a completely different picture revealing the true potential of the display. An even-tempered RGB balance, a close to perfect gamma curve and DeltaE 2000 values of a maximum of 1.74 make the device almost a role model and will certainly make many customers happy.

 

 

Grayscale
Grayscale
Basic colors
Basic colors
Saturation
Saturation
Combination colors
Combination colors
Grayscale calibrated
Grayscale calibrated
Basic colors calibrated
Basic colors calibrated
Saturation calibrated
Saturation calibrated
Combination colors calibrated
Combination colors calibrated

The viewing-angle stability is at a high level, which is typical for IPS panels. Barely any color or brightness changes occur horizontally or vertically. Inverting or fading, as is familiar from cheap TN panels, is unknown to this IPS solution. Only at acute angles from above are you able to notice visible changes, which are in practice almost irrelevant due to the absolutely nonsensical viewing angle. Please note that this effect shows more than usual in the viewing-angle pictures due to the display brightness that is reflected from the base unit.

Viewing angles ASUSPRO PU551JH with Samsung 156HL01.102
Viewing angles ASUSPRO PU551JH with Samsung 156HL01.102

Performance

According to the specifications, Asus basically offers three different processors for the ASUSPRO PU551JH: You can choose between an Intel Core i3-4000M, an Intel Core i5-4210M and the quad-core Intel Core i7-4712MQ. On top of that there are several storage solutions and the Nvidia Optimus combination consisting of Intel HD Graphics 4600 and Nvidia Quadro K1100M. The reviewed configuration with i5 processor, 8 GB RAM and a 500 GB hard drive is currently the only one that can be ordered with a professional graphics card.

Processor

The Intel Core i5-4210M is a classic dual-core processor with a thermal design power (TDP) of 35 watts. It can process up to 4 threads simultaneously and reaches a maximum clock speed of 3.2 GHz in turbo mode.

In comparison to ultra low voltage processors, which can also be found in slimline workstations, the clock frequencies turn out to be consistently high especially under constant load resulting in more steadfastness. In comparison to quad-core CPUs, which are often found in standard workstations, it is especially the multithread performance that falls behind significantly. On the bright side, the difference in the single-thread performance, which is by a few hundred MHz lower, is barely noticeable in practice. The Cinebench R10 64-bit CPU rendering returns, for example, 5,582 points (single) and 12,149 points (multi).

One strong suit of the standard CPU, especially when compared to the ULV alternative, is the unabated performance. In our stress test (Furmark + Prime95), which the ASUSPRO PU551JH had to endure for more than 4 hours as an exception, no speed reduction occurred. The dual-core processor exemplarily processes one task after the other at a consistent 3.1 GHz.

In battery mode, Asus does not put the system on a leash. Apart from minor differences, we once again obtained the same results as in the regular tests with the power supply. Cinebench R11.5 (multi) resulted, for example, in 3.30 instead of 3.34 points.

 

 

Cinebench R10
Rendering Single CPUs 64Bit (sort by value)
Asus PU551JH
5582 Points ∼54%
Lenovo ThinkPad W550s 20E2-000PGE
6100 Points ∼59% +9%
HP ZBook 15 G2
6511 Points ∼63% +17%
Lenovo ThinkPad T450s-20BWS1UT00
5424 Points ∼53% -3%
Rendering Multiple CPUs 64Bit (sort by value)
Asus PU551JH
12149 Points ∼16%
Lenovo ThinkPad W550s 20E2-000PGE
11616 Points ∼15% -4%
HP ZBook 15 G2
24653 Points ∼32% +103%
Lenovo ThinkPad T450s-20BWS1UT00
11244 Points ∼15% -7%

Legend

 
Asus PU551JH Intel Core i5-4210M, NVIDIA Quadro K1100M, Hitachi Travelstar Z7K500 HTS725050A7E630
 
Lenovo ThinkPad W550s 20E2-000PGE Intel Core i7-5500U, NVIDIA Quadro K620M, Samsung SSD PM851 512 GB MZ7TE512HMHP
 
HP ZBook 15 G2 Intel Core i7-4710MQ, AMD FirePro M5100, HGST Travelstar 5K1000 HTS541075A9E680
 
Lenovo ThinkPad T450s-20BWS1UT00 Intel Core i5-5200U, NVIDIA GeForce 940M, Samsung SSD PM871 MZ7LN256HCHP
Cinebench R10 Shading 32Bit
5727
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
10082
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single 32Bit
4276
Cinebench R10 Shading 64Bit
5424 Points
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 64Bit
12149 Points
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single CPUs 64Bit
5582 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
3.34 Points
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
43.75 fps
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
1.39 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
302 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
119 Points
Cinebench R15 Ref. Match 64Bit
99.6 %
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
50.29 fps
Help

System Performance

In terms of system performance two things immediately strike the eye: For one, the main memory runs in single-channel mode because only one RAM module of 8 GB is installed. Apart from the lower memory speed, this affects the performance of the integrated Intel HD Graphics 4600, since it does not have its own graphics memory but has to rely on the main memory with the shared-memory method. The alternative graphics option is the dedicated Nvidia Quadro, which has its own 2 GB GDDR5 graphics memory. The other issue is the conventional hard drive installed in the test sample, which is unable to convince us with its access times and data transfer rates in comparison to modern solid state drives. In principle, the test device copes with many tasks but the user will often notice the hesitant responding qualities of the 500 GB hard drive during everyday use. Thus the PCMark 8 Creative result is a meager 2,399 points and that of PCMark 8 Work is 3,311 points.

PCMark 7 Score
2905 points
PCMark 8 Home Score Accelerated v2
2343 points
PCMark 8 Creative Score Accelerated v2
2399 points
PCMark 8 Work Score Accelerated v2
3311 points
Help

Storage Solution

Conventional hard drives still have two important strong suits: The price and the available storage capacity are the main benefits as opposed to the considerably faster solid state drives. Thus it is especially understandable that ordinary hard drives are still in use for entry-level devices. The ASUSPRO PU551JH, which is very convincing regarding the key properties, falls into the category where Asus apparently had to make cuts in terms of storage solution. A fact that is not uncommon, even in the high-priced workstation segment, but rather an effective tool to keep entry-level prices low. An average data transfer rate of about 100 MB/s (read) and access time of 16.6 ms prove that Asus at least installed one of the faster drives, hence minimizing the possible performance flaws.

Hitachi Travelstar Z7K500 HTS725050A7E630
Transfer Rate Minimum: 63.9 MB/s
Transfer Rate Maximum: 127.4 MB/s
Transfer Rate Average: 100.4 MB/s
Access Time: 16.6 ms
Burst Rate: 254.9 MB/s
CPU Usage: 1 %

Graphics Card

Besides the integrated Intel HD Graphics 4600, which is the standard card for less powerful configurations of the ASUSPRO PU 551 series, the ASUSPRO PU551JH is also equipped with a dedicated Nvidia Quadro K1100M. It is a professional solution, equipped with its own BIOS and special drivers that are designed for OpenGL tasks. Certified software guarantees smooth cooperation and promises high reliability as well as precision. Depending on the application an Nvidia Quadro K1100M, which is rather weak on the hardware side, can in fact outdo a more powerful gaming competitor. These special features are tested with the SPECviewperf benchmarks, which cover various typical application examples of CAD programs, 3D design, 3D visualization, oil and gas exploration, and a medical MRI. As always, these benchmarks only serve as indicators for potential performance capabilities in explicit scenarios. The specific software, the particular program version, the installed drivers and many more influences can have a substantial impact on the actual possible performance power.

In comparison with the professional competitors of the entry-level range, the Nvidia Quadro K1100M can often only outshine the Nvidia Quadro K610M in this area. Even AMD's entry-level graphics card FirePro W4170M runs faster in many test scenarios. Nevertheless, the test configuration is worth consideration when an inexpensive entry-level model is wanted and applications used, which are optimized for drivers. For example, the Nvidia Quadro K1100M can often significantly outperform the Nvidia GeForce GTX960M in 6 out of 8 tests in SPECviewperf 12. This time the optimized drivers show through, making the difference in comparison to sheer computing power.

 

 

SPECviewperf 11
1920x1080 Siemens NX (sort by value)
Asus PU551JH
23.39 fps ∼17%
Dell Precision M2800
25.04 fps ∼18% +7%
HP ZBook 17 E9X11AA-ABA
21.28 fps ∼15% -9%
MSI WS60 2OJ8H11W7P
30.48 fps ∼22% +30%
1920x1080 Tcvis (sort by value)
Asus PU551JH
27.27 fps ∼46%
Dell Precision M2800
9.81 fps ∼16% -64%
HP ZBook 17 E9X11AA-ABA
25.26 fps ∼42% -7%
MSI WS60 2OJ8H11W7P
35.1 fps ∼59% +29%
1920x1080 SolidWorks (sort by value)
Asus PU551JH
36.55 fps ∼44%
Dell Precision M2800
47.75 fps ∼58% +31%
HP ZBook 17 E9X11AA-ABA
36.1 fps ∼44% -1%
MSI WS60 2OJ8H11W7P
42.18 fps ∼51% +15%
1920x1080 Pro/ENGINEER (sort by value)
Asus PU551JH
12.9 fps ∼54%
Dell Precision M2800
11 fps ∼46% -15%
HP ZBook 17 E9X11AA-ABA
15.9 fps ∼66% +23%
MSI WS60 2OJ8H11W7P
15.53 fps ∼65% +20%
1920x1080 Maya (sort by value)
Asus PU551JH
45.88 fps ∼35%
Dell Precision M2800
68.39 fps ∼52% +49%
HP ZBook 17 E9X11AA-ABA
35.14 fps ∼27% -23%
MSI WS60 2OJ8H11W7P
51.64 fps ∼39% +13%
1920x1080 Lightwave (sort by value)
Asus PU551JH
45.89 fps ∼49%
Dell Precision M2800
71.61 fps ∼77% +56%
HP ZBook 17 E9X11AA-ABA
49.84 fps ∼53% +9%
MSI WS60 2OJ8H11W7P
47.96 fps ∼51% +5%
1920x1080 Ensight (sort by value)
Asus PU551JH
17.21 fps ∼8%
Dell Precision M2800
19.94 fps ∼10% +16%
HP ZBook 17 E9X11AA-ABA
17.02 fps ∼8% -1%
MSI WS60 2OJ8H11W7P
23.89 fps ∼11% +39%
1920x1080 Catia (sort by value)
Asus PU551JH
32.22 fps ∼39%
Dell Precision M2800
26.24 fps ∼32% -19%
HP ZBook 17 E9X11AA-ABA
28.32 fps ∼34% -12%
MSI WS60 2OJ8H11W7P
41.31 fps ∼50% +28%
SPECviewperf 12
1900x1060 Solidworks (sw-03) (sort by value)
Asus PU551JH
24.72 fps ∼15%
Dell Precision M2800
37.52 fps ∼23% +52%
MSI WS60 2OJ8H11W7P
31.6 fps ∼19% +28%
1900x1060 Siemens NX (snx-02) (sort by value)
Asus PU551JH
15.31 fps ∼8%
Dell Precision M2800
23.52 fps ∼13% +54%
MSI WS60 2OJ8H11W7P
21.95 fps ∼12% +43%
1900x1060 Showcase (showcase-01) (sort by value)
Asus PU551JH
8.66 fps ∼6%
Dell Precision M2800
12.75 fps ∼8% +47%
MSI WS60 2OJ8H11W7P
10.61 fps ∼7% +23%
1900x1060 Medical (medical-01) (sort by value)
Asus PU551JH
4.15 fps ∼6%
Dell Precision M2800
5.84 fps ∼8% +41%
MSI WS60 2OJ8H11W7P
5.69 fps ∼8% +37%
1900x1060 Maya (maya-04) (sort by value)
Asus PU551JH
14 fps ∼7%
Dell Precision M2800
22.75 fps ∼12% +63%
MSI WS60 2OJ8H11W7P
17.77 fps ∼9% +27%
1900x1060 Energy (energy-01) (sort by value)
Asus PU551JH
0.31 fps ∼1%
Dell Precision M2800
0.35 fps ∼1% +13%
MSI WS60 2OJ8H11W7P
0.32 fps ∼1% +3%
1900x1060 Creo (creo-01) (sort by value)
Asus PU551JH
15.59 fps ∼12%
Dell Precision M2800
18.8 fps ∼14% +21%
MSI WS60 2OJ8H11W7P
19.88 fps ∼15% +28%
1900x1060 Catia (catia-04) (sort by value)
Asus PU551JH
15.48 fps ∼10%
Dell Precision M2800
19.33 fps ∼12% +25%
MSI WS60 2OJ8H11W7P
21.2 fps ∼14% +37%

Legend

 
Asus PU551JH Intel Core i5-4210M, NVIDIA Quadro K1100M, Hitachi Travelstar Z7K500 HTS725050A7E630
 
Dell Precision M2800 Intel Core i7-4810MQ, AMD FirePro W4170M, SK hynix SH920
 
HP ZBook 17 E9X11AA-ABA Intel Core i7-4900MQ, NVIDIA Quadro K610M, Micron RealSSD C400 MTFDDAK128MAM
 
MSI WS60 2OJ8H11W7P Intel Core i7-4710HQ, NVIDIA Quadro K2100M, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ128G8NU
 
Asus UX501JW-DS71T Intel Core i7-4720HQ, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M, Samsung SSD SM951 512 GB MZHPV512HDGL

The fact that Nvidia chips show weak performances when it comes to OpenCL has been known for a long time. For these tasks the integrated Intel HD Graphics 4600 of the test sample is better suited. For example, in the Luxmark Raytracing test both test scenarios, sala and room, are rendered more than twice as fast with the integrated card. Intel's Quick Sync Video also computes much more efficiently than Nvidia's CUDA concerning video conversions. Once again we measure considerable speed differences in favor of the Intel chip.

LuxMark v2.0 64Bit
Room GPUs-only (sort by value)
Asus PU551JH
53 Samples/s ∼1%
Dell Precision M2800
256 Samples/s ∼5% +383%
MSI WS60 2OJ8H11W7P
73 Samples/s ∼1% +38%
Wortmann Terra Mobile 1529H
166 Samples/s ∼3% +213%
Sala GPUs-only (sort by value)
Asus PU551JH
113 Samples/s ∼1%
Dell Precision M2800
462 Samples/s ∼4% +309%
MSI WS60 2OJ8H11W7P
154 Samples/s ∼1% +36%
Wortmann Terra Mobile 1529H
262 Samples/s ∼3% +132%

Legend

 
Asus PU551JH Intel Core i5-4210M, NVIDIA Quadro K1100M, Hitachi Travelstar Z7K500 HTS725050A7E630
 
Dell Precision M2800 Intel Core i7-4810MQ, AMD FirePro W4170M, SK hynix SH920
 
MSI WS60 2OJ8H11W7P Intel Core i7-4710HQ, NVIDIA Quadro K2100M, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ128G8NU
 
Wortmann Terra Mobile 1529H Intel Core i5-4200M, Intel HD Graphics 4600, Samsung SSD 840 EVO 250GB

Conventional DirectX applications, which affect the gaming performance most of the time, depend on sheer computing power. This time the Nvidia Quadro K1100M is outpaced without standing a chance against the above mentioned Nvidia GeForce GTX 960M. In the 3DMark 11 test this results in a total score of 1,925 points. The pure graphics performance turns out to be even lower at 1,798 points.

3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance GPU (sort by value)
Asus PU551JH
1798 Points ∼4%
Asus UX501JW-DS71T
5095 Points ∼10% +183%
Dell Precision M2800
2315 Points ∼5% +29%
3DMark
1920x1080 Fire Strike Graphics (sort by value)
Asus PU551JH
1347 Points ∼3%
Asus UX501JW-DS71T
4063 Points ∼10% +202%
Dell Precision M2800
1766 Points ∼4% +31%
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Graphics (sort by value)
Asus PU551JH
9615 Points ∼5%
Asus UX501JW-DS71T
22468 Points ∼12% +134%
Dell Precision M2800
12506 Points ∼7% +30%

Legend

 
Asus PU551JH Intel Core i5-4210M, NVIDIA Quadro K1100M, Hitachi Travelstar Z7K500 HTS725050A7E630
 
Asus UX501JW-DS71T Intel Core i7-4720HQ, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M, Samsung SSD SM951 512 GB MZHPV512HDGL
 
Dell Precision M2800 Intel Core i7-4810MQ, AMD FirePro W4170M, SK hynix SH920
3DMark 06 Standard
11447 points
3DMark 11 Performance
1925 points
3DMark Ice Storm Standard Score
50820 points
3DMark Cloud Gate Standard Score
6559 points
3DMark Fire Strike Score
1285 points
Help

Gaming Performance

Depending on the title, some games can be played as long as the user is okay with a reduced resolution and quality. Medium settings should be no problem for most of the titles to achieve acceptable frame rates. Further scores of the Nvidia Quadro K1100M can be found in our comprehensive gaming benchmark list.

low med. high ultra
Tomb Raider (2013) 103584016fps
Metro: Last Light (2013) 38311810fps
GRID: Autosport (2014) 205753617fps

Emissions

System Noise

The noise generation is under any load conditions relatively low and rewards the user with a modest and sonorous characteristic. The 31.9 dB(A), which we measured during idle, is owed to the conventional hard drive that drowns out the fan noise with its engine-like sound. When the hard drive turns off after a few minutes, you are left with a sound pressure level of 29.1 dB(A). At medium work load, the system noise remains the same at first. Only after a few minutes does the measured sound pressure level increase to 36.4 dB(A). As soon as the load disappears, the fan speed drops once again to the necessary level. Under full load we mostly measured 40.7 dB(A), which increases to 41.6 dB(A) at short peak periods under consistent load only.

Noise Level

Idle
29.1 / 31.9 / 31.9 dB(A)
HDD
31.9 dB(A)
Load
36.4 / 41.6 dB(A)
  red to green bar
 
 
30 dB
silent
40 dB(A)
audible
50 dB(A)
loud
 
min: dark, med: mid, max: light   PCE-322A (15 cm distance)

Temperature

The cooling design handles the relatively frugal components rather well and provides a cool case regardless of the situation. Even after more than 4 hours of full load, we measure a peak value of 36.1 °C, which is far from critical. Only the fan outlet is at 49.1 °C as usual somewhat warmer.

Max. Load
 28.5 °C
83 F
30.4 °C
87 F
24.1 °C
75 F
 
 31.4 °C
89 F
36.1 °C
97 F
26.9 °C
80 F
 
 25.7 °C
78 F
30.4 °C
87 F
25.1 °C
77 F
 
Maximum: 36.1 °C = 97 F
Average: 28.7 °C = 84 F
24 °C
75 F
26.3 °C
79 F
28.5 °C
83 F
24.2 °C
76 F
28.4 °C
83 F
31.1 °C
88 F
25.3 °C
78 F
25.8 °C
78 F
25.1 °C
77 F
Maximum: 31.1 °C = 88 F
Average: 26.5 °C = 80 F
Power Supply (max.)  57.3 °C = 135 F | Room Temperature 20 °C = 68 F | Fennel Firt 550 Pocket
(+) The average temperature for the upper side under maximal load is 28.7 °C / 84 F, compared to the average of 31.2 °C / 88 F for the devices in the class Workstation.
(+) The maximum temperature on the upper side is 36.1 °C / 97 F, compared to the average of 37.2 °C / 99 F, ranging from 23.1 to 69.8 °C for the class Workstation.
(+) The maximum temperature on the bottom side is 31.1 °C / 88 F, compared to the average of 40.3 °C / 105 F, ranging from 23.5 to 77.3 °C for the class Workstation.
(+) In idle usage, the average temperature for the upper side is 26.5 °C / 80 F, compared to the device average of 31.2 °C / 88 F.
(+) The palmrests and touchpad are cooler than skin temperature with a maximum of 30.4 °C / 86.7 F and are therefore cool to the touch.
(-) The average temperature of the palmrest area of similar devices was 28.1 °C / 82.6 F (-2.3 °C / -4.1 F).

Speakers

The sound output of the internal speaker system is, as typical for business notebooks, spare and only delivers basic quality. With too much treble, little mids and no bass at all, the quality merely suffices for simple video chats and Internet clips. If you want more you should fall back on Bluetooth speakers or similar alternatives. The sound is especially insufficient for presentations and screenings. As has been usual for a while, Asus combines the microphone output with the microphone input in a 3.5-mm jack. This is space-efficient but requires an adapter if the user has two separate devices.

Energy Management

Power Consumption

The power consumption turns out to be rather low in comparison to similar notebooks. However, the minimum value of 7.4 watts can only be achieved when the hard drive has switched to hibernation mode. When the display is turned off via the handy FN combination, the measurement drops to 6.9 watts. In this case the Intel graphics card is in charge and all radio adapters deactivated.

In practice, the user should expect around 10 to 13 watts in power-supply mode, since the hard drive, for example, hardly takes a rest while Bluetooth and WLAN are only rarely turned off. At medium load with activated Nvidia graphics, the power consumption rises to 54.7 watts and a maximum of 78.4 watts under full load. Processor and graphics unit run at full speed in this scenario.

The power adapter has a nominal power of 120 watts at its disposal and should therefore provide enough capacity even for potential quad-core configurations in the future.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.1 / 0.3 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 7.4 / 11.7 / 12.6 Watt
Load midlight 54.7 / 78.4 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Voltcraft VC 870 Iso kalibriert

Battery Runtime

Besides the modest consumption values, the ASUSPRO PU551JH offers the usual 56-Wh battery capacity. Alternatively, Asus includes an 87-Wh battery in the configuration list. However, we could not ascertain the availability and price at the time of writing. Anyhow, even with the smaller battery the test sample achieves quite practical battery runtimes.

For common tasks such as web browsing via Wi-Fi or watching movies with adjusted brightness (145 cd/m² at level 6) 4.5 hours of runtime is possible. Whenever you require all of its power, the battery is drained in less than 1.5 hours.

When in battery mode, a general speed reduction is not detectable under full load. Various benchmark scores lie level with the regular tests with the power adapter. Hence the ASUSPRO PU551JH has a clear performance advantage over some competitors in battery mode. Part of this list includes the Lenovo ThinkPad W550s or the Lenovo ThinkPad W541.

Battery Eater Reader's test
Battery Eater Reader's test
WLAN test
WLAN test
Video test
Video test
Battery Eater Classic test
Battery Eater Classic test
Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
7h 25min
NBC WiFi Websurfing Battery Test 1.3
4h 27min
Big Buck Bunny H.264 1080p
4h 31min
Load (maximum brightness)
1h 29min

Pros

+ Case
+ Keyboard
+ Display
+ Battery runtimes
+ Performance under constant load
+ CAD performance
+ Full performance in battery mode
+ Noise levels
+ Heat generation

Cons

- Missing keyboard lighting
- Missing business interfaces
- Performance of the harddrive
- Interface layout
- Official upgradeability
- "only" 24-month warranty
- 4k displays natively only selectible with 30 Hz

Verdict

ASUSPRO PU551JH. Test model courtesy of Cyberport.de
ASUSPRO PU551JH. Test model courtesy of Cyberport.de

Despite some equipment flaws, the ASUSPRO PU551JH presents an appealing, mobile entry-level workstation. The main components add up and form a solid basis for professional tasks.

The display, the keyboard, the system performance and especially the CAD performance provide a well-rounded basis that is satisfactory for many novices as well as amateur design engineers. If you see the ASUSPRO PU551JH as an inexpensive entry-level solution with CAD capabilities, you are at the right place.

After all, the performance suffices to challenge some of the considerably pricier top dogs.

However, the tight-laced corset inevitably harbors some drawbacks concerning the configuration as well, which are ultimately owed to the dirt-cheap price. Asus failed to include a faster solid state drive or a backlit keyboard. Furthermore, the user has to be content with an impractical interface layout as well as some missing business interfaces. Those who come to terms with these flaws receive an overall solid entry-level workstation with great hardware at an extremely fair price.

 

 

Asus PU551JH - 03/17/2016 v5
Tobias Winkler

Chassis
87 / 98 → 88%
Keyboard
89%
Pointing Device
82%
Connectivity
53 / 81 → 65%
Weight
60 / 10-66 → 89%
Battery
77%
Display
87%
Games Performance
80%
Application Performance
71%
Temperature
94 / 95 → 99%
Noise
89 / 90 → 99%
Audio
48%
Camera
22 / 85 → 26%
Add Points
+2%
Average
66%
76%
Workstation - Weighted Average

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > Asus PU551JH Workstation Review
Tobias Winkler, 2015-05-29 (Update: 2018-05-15)