Notebookcheck

HP ZBook 15u G4 (7500U, FirePro W4190M) Workstation Review

Benjamin Herzig, 👁 Andreas Osthoff, Tanja Hinum (translated by Martin Jungowski), 10/04/2017

Ultrabook or workstation. The ZBook 15u G4 is a mobile workstation made by HP that - while cheaper than its brethren - still manages to meet the ZBook’s high quality standards. Unfortunately, the light and thin workstation also comes with lower performance hardware. Find out whether or not the concept works as expected in our extensive review.

For the original German article, see here.

When imagining a mobile workstation, images of bulky notebooks with top-of-the-line components come to mind. However, the thinner-and-lighter trend has crept up and invaded this segment as well, and OEMs are more than happy to abide.

The current review unit, the ZBook 15u G4, is one of those “ultrabook workstations”. In 2016, we’ve already had last year’s Skylake-based G3 in review. This year’s G4 is equipped with Kaby Lake processors, and we don’t expect to see Kaby Lake-Refresh CPUs in workstations for another six months.

Unlike the ZBook Studio, the ZBook 15u not only shares its footprint with ultrabooks but also shares its processor. Instead of powerful HQ-class quad-core CPUs you’ll find U-class dual-core processors promising longer battery life, lower temperatures, and a lower price. The main downside is their lower performance. Its main competitor is Lenovo’s ThinkPad P51s – a notebook that is based around the exact same idea and concept as the ZBook 15u G4. Other noteworthy competitors are the Dell Precision 5520, the Apple MacBook Pro 15, and the ZBook Studio G4, every single one of which is equipped with an Intel HQ-class quad-core microprocessor.

Given that HP has refrained from modifying the case compared to the G4’s direct predecessor we’ll skip over reviewing connectivity, case, and input devices. If you’re interested in these aspects we would like to refer you to last year’s review of the ZBook 15u G3

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HP ZBook 15u G4 (ZBook 15u Series)
Graphics adapter
AMD FirePro W4190M - 2048 MB, Core: 825 MHz, Memory: 1000 MHz, GDDR5 memory, 16.40.2902, Switchable Graphics
Memory
16384 MB 
, DDR4-2133
Display
15.6 inch 16:9, 1920 x 1080 pixel 141 PPI, LP156WF6, IPS LED, glossy: no
Mainboard
Intel Kaby Lake-U Premium PCH
Storage
Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e, 512 GB 
, 411 GB free
Soundcard
Intel Kaby Lake-U/Y PCH - High Definition Audio
Connections
3 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 1 VGA, 1 DisplayPort, 1 Kensington Lock, 1 Docking Station Port, Audio Connections: audio combo jack, Card Reader: SD card reader, 1 SmartCard, 1 Fingerprint Reader, NFC
Networking
Intel Ethernet Connection I219-V (10/100/1000/2500/5000MBit/s), Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265 (a/b/g/n = Wi-Fi 4/ac = Wi-Fi 5), Bluetooth 4.2
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 20 x 383 x 258 ( = 0.79 x 15.08 x 10.16 in)
Battery
51 Wh Lithium-Polymer
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 10 Pro 64 Bit
Camera
Webcam: 720p
Additional features
Speakers: stereo speakers, Keyboard: 6-row chiclet, Keyboard Light: yes, 65 W power supply, driver CD, Microsoft Office Trial, HP WorkWise, HP Sure Connect, HP Notifications, HP Client Security Manager, HP Performance Advisor, HP Support Assistant, 36 Months Warranty
Weight
1.9 kg ( = 67.02 oz / 4.19 pounds), Power Supply: 280 g ( = 9.88 oz / 0.62 pounds)
Price
2239 Euro
Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.

 

Size Comparison

383 mm / 15.1 inch 258 mm / 10.2 inch 20 mm / 0.787 inch 1.9 kg4.19 lbs375 mm / 14.8 inch 255 mm / 10 inch 18 mm / 0.709 inch 2.1 kg4.54 lbs357 mm / 14.1 inch 253 mm / 9.96 inch 22 mm / 0.866 inch 2.2 kg4.85 lbs358 mm / 14.1 inch 237 mm / 9.33 inch 21 mm / 0.827 inch 2.1 kg4.58 lbs349 mm / 13.7 inch 241 mm / 9.49 inch 16 mm / 0.63 inch 1.8 kg4.03 lbs

Connectivity

Left: Kensington lock, VGA, USB 3.0 Type-A, smart-card reader
Left: Kensington lock, VGA, USB 3.0 Type-A, smart-card reader
Right: USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C, DisplayPort, SD-card reader, audio combo, USB  3.0 Type-A, ethernet, docking port, SIM slot, power
Right: USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C, DisplayPort, SD-card reader, audio combo, USB 3.0 Type-A, ethernet, docking port, SIM slot, power

SD-Card Reader

The SD-card reader is located somewhat hidden on the right-hand side. Benchmarked with our usual 64 GB Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC UHS-II reference card it performed very similar to the ThinkPad's SD-card reader: mediocre at best. The other two competitors, the Dell Precision 5520 and the ZBook Studio G4, were much faster.

SDCardreader Transfer Speed
average JPG Copy Test (av. of 3 runs)
HP ZBook Studio G4-Y6K17EA
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
185 MB/s ∼100% +137%
Dell Precision 5520 UHD
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
157.5 MB/s ∼85% +101%
HP ZBook 15u G4
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
78.2 MB/s ∼42%
Lenovo ThinkPad P51s 20HB000SGE
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
76.8 MB/s ∼42% -2%
maximum AS SSD Seq Read Test (1GB)
Dell Precision 5520 UHD
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
254.5 MB/s ∼100% +193%
HP ZBook Studio G4-Y6K17EA
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
210.7 MB/s ∼83% +143%
Lenovo ThinkPad P51s 20HB000SGE
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
89 MB/s ∼35% +3%
HP ZBook 15u G4
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
86.8 MB/s ∼34%

Communication

One of the updates compared to last year’s model is the Wi-Fi chip. Instead of Intel’s Wireless 8260 the G4 is now equipped with the Intel Wireless 8265, a very frequently used 2x2 AC Wi-Fi modem. While the ZBook performed worse than expected, especially when receiving data, this remained unnoticeable in everyday use.

Networking
iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2017 (2.8 GHz, 555)
Broadcom BCM15700A2 802.11ac
949 MBit/s ∼100% +84%
Lenovo ThinkPad P51s 20HB000SGE
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
672 MBit/s ∼71% +30%
HP ZBook Studio G4-Y6K17EA
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
632 MBit/s ∼67% +23%
Dell Precision 5520 UHD
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
622 MBit/s ∼66% +21%
HP ZBook 15u G4
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
515 MBit/s ∼54%
iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2017 (2.8 GHz, 555)
Broadcom BCM15700A2 802.11ac
845 MBit/s ∼100% +67%
Lenovo ThinkPad P51s 20HB000SGE
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
508 MBit/s ∼60% 0%
Dell Precision 5520 UHD
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
506 (min: 622) MBit/s ∼60% 0%
HP ZBook 15u G4
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
506 MBit/s ∼60%
HP ZBook Studio G4-Y6K17EA
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
480 MBit/s ∼57% -5%

Display

ZBook 15u G4 subpixel geometry
ZBook 15u G4 subpixel geometry
Minor backlight-bleeding
Minor backlight-bleeding

Four different display options are available for the ZBook 15u, three of which are different FHD panels (1920x1080): two are matte, one is reflective. The latter is equipped with a touch-sensitive surface. Only one of these three is an IPS panel (referred to as UWVA in HP terminology) while the other two are TN panels (SVA). Our review unit was equipped with a matte FHD IPS panel without touch. The fourth display option is a UHD / 4K IPS panel (3840x2160) which is currently not available in all countries.

Fortunately, our review unit’s panel was very decent overall. Its brightness of 309 nits on average was okay; the P51s' UHD panel is 20 nits darker, the Precision 5520's and ZBook Studio G4's UHD panels are 30 and 60 nits darker, respectively. Only the MacBook Pro 15's excellent display outshines the entire competition by a huge margin. Unfortunately, the ZBook’s contrast ratio of only 711:1 is less than adequate.

We found almost no traces of backlight-bleeding, and while the display does use PWM for brightness regulation the frequency was very high and should thus not be a problem for anyone.

298
cd/m²
299
cd/m²
298
cd/m²
322
cd/m²
320
cd/m²
316
cd/m²
323
cd/m²
302
cd/m²
308
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
LP156WF6
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 323 cd/m² Average: 309.6 cd/m² Minimum: 10 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 92 %
Center on Battery: 318 cd/m²
Contrast: 711:1 (Black: 0.45 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 5.5 | 0.6-29.43 Ø6
ΔE Greyscale 4.8 | 0.64-98 Ø6.3
83.8% sRGB (Argyll 3D) 55% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll 3D)
Gamma: 2.28
HP ZBook 15u G4
LP156WF6, , 1920x1080, 15.6
Lenovo ThinkPad P51s 20HB000SGE
BOE NV156QUM-N44, , 3840x2160, 15.6
Dell Precision 5520 UHD
SHP1476, , 3840x2160, 15.6
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2017 (2.8 GHz, 555)
APPA031, , 2880x1800, 15.4
HP ZBook Studio G4-Y6K17EA
SHP1445, , 3840x2160, 15.6
HP ZBook 15u G3
CMN15C3, , 1920x1080, 15.6
Response Times
-35%
-69%
132%
-47%
-57%
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
39.6 (22.4, 17.2)
38.4 (20.4, 18)
3%
59.2 (27.6, 31.6)
-49%
48 (23.6, 24.4)
-21%
44.8 (22, 22.8)
-13%
45.6 (25.6, 20)
-15%
Response Time Black / White *
22 (12, 10)
24.8 (13.6, 11.2)
-13%
41.6 (26.8, 14.8)
-89%
33.8 (19.6, 14.2)
-54%
30 (17.2, 12.8)
-36%
34.4 (16.4, 18)
-56%
PWM Frequency
20830 (90)
980.4 (90)
-95%
119000 (80, 210)
471%
1497 (50)
-93%
198.4 (90)
-99%
Screen
14%
18%
50%
32%
-39%
Brightness middle
320
317
-1%
372.4
16%
545
70%
324
1%
297.8
-7%
Brightness
310
290
-6%
368
19%
523
69%
338
9%
284
-8%
Brightness Distribution
92
85
-8%
90
-2%
86
-7%
78
-15%
89
-3%
Black Level *
0.45
0.32
29%
0.48
-7%
0.44
2%
0.3
33%
0.849
-89%
Contrast
711
991
39%
776
9%
1239
74%
1080
52%
351
-51%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
5.5
3.6
35%
2.6
53%
1.6
71%
1.6
71%
8.68
-58%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
9
6.6
27%
5.6
38%
3.8
58%
4.6
49%
14.98
-66%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
4.8
4.2
12%
3.7
23%
1.9
60%
2.5
48%
9.3
-94%
Gamma
2.28 96%
2.24 98%
2.14 103%
2.26 97%
2.21 100%
2.27 97%
CCT
6987 93%
6740 96%
7096 92%
6834 95%
6273 104%
10585 61%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
55
59.5
8%
63
15%
85.7
56%
50.99
-7%
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
83.8
91.1
9%
99
18%
98.9
18%
80.42
-4%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
-11% / 3%
-26% / 4%
91% / 72%
-8% / 14%
-48% / -43%

* ... smaller is better

Colors
Colors
Saturation
Saturation
Grayscales
Grayscales
Colors (calibrated)
Colors (calibrated)
Saturation (calibrated)
Saturation (calibrated)
Grayscales (calibrated)
Grayscales (calibrated)

The reason for the comparatively low contrast ratio (for an IPS panel, that is) can be traced back to the comparatively high black level of 0.45. Accordingly, blacks look more like dark grays but we must add that there are panels worse than this one. This issue aside we found no faults with image quality overall – the panel was very sharp and color representation was even somewhat accurate after calibration. As always, the resulting ICC profile can be found for downloading in the box above.

Color-space coverage was decent but far from perfect. At 83.3% sRGB coverage colors pop when compared to cheaper IPS panels that often only manage to reach 60% color coverage at best. However, photo-editing professionals will require an sRGB coverage higher than 90%, and accordingly the display is neither really good nor is it really bad – it’s mediocre.

sRGB: 83.8%
sRGB: 83.8%
AdobeRGB: 55%
AdobeRGB: 55%

200 nits is the minimum for a matte display to be usable outdoors in the shadows, and our review unit’s 300 nits render the device usable in sunlight as well. At least, as long as it is not exposed to direct sunlight shining right onto the display.

Outdoors in the shade
Outdoors in the shade
Outdoors in sunlight
Outdoors in sunlight

Display Response Times

Display response times show how fast the screen is able to change from one color to the next. Slow response times can lead to afterimages and can cause moving objects to appear blurry (ghosting). Gamers of fast-paced 3D titles should pay special attention to fast response times.
       Response Time Black to White
22 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 12 ms rise
↘ 10 ms fall
The screen shows good response rates in our tests, but may be too slow for competitive gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 26 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is better than the average of all tested devices (25 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
39.6 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 22.4 ms rise
↘ 17.2 ms fall
The screen shows slow response rates in our tests and will be unsatisfactory for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.9 (minimum) to 636 (maximum) ms. » 45 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is similar to the average of all tested devices (39.8 ms).

Screen Flickering / PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation)

To dim the screen, some notebooks will simply cycle the backlight on and off in rapid succession - a method called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) . This cycling frequency should ideally be undetectable to the human eye. If said frequency is too low, users with sensitive eyes may experience strain or headaches or even notice the flickering altogether.
Screen flickering / PWM detected 20830 Hz ≤ 90 % brightness setting

The display backlight flickers at 20830 Hz (Likely utilizing PWM) Flickering detected at a brightness setting of 90 % and below. There should be no flickering or PWM above this brightness setting.

The frequency of 20830 Hz is quite high, so most users sensitive to PWM should not notice any flickering.

In comparison: 51 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 9418 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 142900) Hz was measured.

As expected of an IPS panel the ZBook 15u’s viewing angles are superb. Even at acute angles we found no traces of decreased brightness or IPS glow that is so common for cheap IPS displays.

ZBook 15u G4 viewing angles
ZBook 15u G4 viewing angles

Performance

Five different SKUs are currently available through various channels but the overall differences are fairly small. You can choose between 8 and 16 GB of RAM (one module, one free slot), a 256 or 512 GB SSD, and a Core i5-7300U or i7-7500U (the former is only available for the most expensive SKU). The GPU, on the other hand, is a constant throughout the entire line: AMD's FirePro W4190M. Prices range from slightly under $1,100 to around $2,000.

HWiNFO
HWiNFO
CPU-Z
CPU-Z
CPU-Z Caches
CPU-Z Caches
CPU-Z Mainboard
CPU-Z Mainboard
CPU-Z Memory
CPU-Z Memory
CPU-Z  SPD
CPU-Z SPD
GPU-Z Intel HD Graphics 620
GPU-Z Intel HD Graphics 620
LatencyMon
LatencyMon

Processor

Our review unit was equipped with the frequently used Core i7-7500U processor – the second-fastest currently available U-series CPU with a 15 W TDP. The dual-core CPU supports four threads thanks to Hyper-Threading, and it offers a maximum turbo boost of 3.5 GHz (base frequency: 2.7 GHz). For further comparisons with other CPUs see our CPU benchmark list.

The 30-minute Cinebench R15 multi-core loop is used to determine whether or not the CPU throttles under long-lasting intense load, and we found no evidence of this in our review unit. Even though the first iteration scores a little bit higher than the second the scores leveled out at around 350 points throughout the rest of the test.

0102030405060708090100110120130140150160170180190200210220230240250260270280290300310320330340350360Tooltip
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64 Bit

This slightly higher initial score can be explained by taking a closer look at Intel’s thermal specifications: a U-class CPU is allowed a TDP of up to 19 W for up to 30 seconds, after which the power limit is reduced to 15 W. Consequently, the CPU runs at its full 3.5 GHz turbo boost frequency for the first 30 seconds of this test until the 15 W TDP limit hits, reducing the turbo boost frequency to 3.2 GHz. All things considered, performance is nothing to write home about, especially when compared to workstations equipped with quad-core processors that are around 50% faster.

Since turbo boost on battery is disabled in BIOS setup out-of-the-box, CPU performance on battery is limited. In order to attain maximum performance on battery as well you have to change this setting accordingly.

Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit
Dell Precision 5520 UHD
Intel Xeon E3-1505M v6
170 Points ∼100% +16%
HP ZBook Studio G4-Y6K17EA
Intel Xeon E3-1505M v6
170 Points ∼100% +16%
Lenovo ThinkPad P51s 20HB000SGE
Intel Core i7-7600U
162 Points ∼95% +10%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2017 (2.8 GHz, 555)
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
159.95 Points ∼94% +9%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2017 (2.8 GHz, 555)
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
156 Points ∼92% +6%
HP ZBook 15u G4
Intel Core i7-7500U
147 Points ∼86%
HP ZBook 15u G3
Intel Core i7-6600U
143 Points ∼84% -3%
CPU Multi 64Bit
HP ZBook Studio G4-Y6K17EA
Intel Xeon E3-1505M v6
737 Points ∼100% +106%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2017 (2.8 GHz, 555)
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
732 (min: 729, max: 733) Points ∼99% +105%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2017 (2.8 GHz, 555)
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
726.78 (min: 704.77, max: 731.97) Points ∼99% +104%
Dell Precision 5520 UHD
Intel Xeon E3-1505M v6
654 Points ∼89% +83%
Lenovo ThinkPad P51s 20HB000SGE
Intel Core i7-7600U
379 Points ∼51% +6%
HP ZBook 15u G4
Intel Core i7-7500U
357 Points ∼48%
HP ZBook 15u G3
Intel Core i7-6600U
330 Points ∼45% -8%
Cinebench R15 Ref. Match 64Bit
98 %
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
48.99 fps
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
357 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
147 Points
Help

System Performance

All workstations in our test group performed very quickly, whether in everyday use or synthetic benchmarks such as PCMark 8. The latter was the ZBook 15u G4’s strong point as it outperformed the entire competition. In everyday use the system was fast and responsive at all times, and we found no evidence of lag whatsoever.

PCMark 8
Work Score Accelerated v2
HP ZBook 15u G4
FirePro W4190M, 7500U, Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
5100 Points ∼100%
HP ZBook 15u G3
FirePro W4190M, 6600U, Samsung SM951 MZVPV256HDGL m.2 PCI-e
4900 Points ∼96% -4%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2017 (2.8 GHz, 555)
Radeon Pro 555, 7700HQ, Apple SSD SM0256L
4648 Points ∼91% -9%
HP ZBook Studio G4-Y6K17EA
Quadro M1200, E3-1505M v6, Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
4408 Points ∼86% -14%
Dell Precision 5520 UHD
Quadro M1200, E3-1505M v6, Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
4291 Points ∼84% -16%
Lenovo ThinkPad P51s 20HB000SGE
Quadro M520, 7600U, Samsung SSD PM961 1TB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe (MZVLW1T0)
4193 Points ∼82% -18%
Home Score Accelerated v2
HP ZBook 15u G4
FirePro W4190M, 7500U, Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
4169 Points ∼100%
HP ZBook Studio G4-Y6K17EA
Quadro M1200, E3-1505M v6, Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
4093 Points ∼98% -2%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2017 (2.8 GHz, 555)
Radeon Pro 555, 7700HQ, Apple SSD SM0256L
4054 Points ∼97% -3%
HP ZBook 15u G3
FirePro W4190M, 6600U, Samsung SM951 MZVPV256HDGL m.2 PCI-e
3974 Points ∼95% -5%
Dell Precision 5520 UHD
Quadro M1200, E3-1505M v6, Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
3504 Points ∼84% -16%
Lenovo ThinkPad P51s 20HB000SGE
Quadro M520, 7600U, Samsung SSD PM961 1TB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe (MZVLW1T0)
3232 Points ∼78% -22%
PCMark 10
Digital Content Creation
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2017 (2.8 GHz, 555)
Radeon Pro 555, 7700HQ, Apple SSD SM0256L
3999 Points ∼100% +46%
HP ZBook Studio G4-Y6K17EA
Quadro M1200, E3-1505M v6, Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
3926 Points ∼98% +44%
HP ZBook 15u G4
FirePro W4190M, 7500U, Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
2734 Points ∼68%
Productivity
HP ZBook 15u G4
FirePro W4190M, 7500U, Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
7201 Points ∼100%
HP ZBook Studio G4-Y6K17EA
Quadro M1200, E3-1505M v6, Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
6561 Points ∼91% -9%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2017 (2.8 GHz, 555)
Radeon Pro 555, 7700HQ, Apple SSD SM0256L
5765 Points ∼80% -20%
Essentials
HP ZBook Studio G4-Y6K17EA
Quadro M1200, E3-1505M v6, Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
8514 Points ∼100% +11%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2017 (2.8 GHz, 555)
Radeon Pro 555, 7700HQ, Apple SSD SM0256L
8250 Points ∼97% +8%
HP ZBook 15u G4
FirePro W4190M, 7500U, Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
7673 Points ∼90%
Score
HP ZBook Studio G4-Y6K17EA
Quadro M1200, E3-1505M v6, Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
4323 Points ∼100% +13%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2017 (2.8 GHz, 555)
Radeon Pro 555, 7700HQ, Apple SSD SM0256L
4122 Points ∼95% +8%
HP ZBook 15u G4
FirePro W4190M, 7500U, Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
3818 Points ∼88%
PCMark 8 Home Score Accelerated v2
4169 points
PCMark 8 Creative Score Accelerated v2
5127 points
PCMark 8 Work Score Accelerated v2
5100 points
Help

Storage Devices

The 512 GB PCIe NVMe SM961 SSD is made by Samsung. As its SM name indicates, this is an OEM version of a fast NVMe SSD. The cheaper PM-series SSDs, such as for example the PM961 in Lenovo’s ThinkPad P51s, are unable to keep up in sequential read/write performance but otherwise the difference between these two is negligible. Since notebooks at this price point are almost always equipped with fast PCIe-SSDs this is also true for all other devices in our test group.

Further details and SM961 performance comparisons can be found in our extensive SSD benchmark list.

HP ZBook 15u G4
Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
Lenovo ThinkPad P51s 20HB000SGE
Samsung SSD PM961 1TB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe (MZVLW1T0)
Dell Precision 5520 UHD
Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2017 (2.8 GHz, 555)
Apple SSD SM0256L
HP ZBook Studio G4-Y6K17EA
Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
HP ZBook 15u G3
Samsung SM951 MZVPV256HDGL m.2 PCI-e
CrystalDiskMark 3.0
3%
9%
-10%
7%
13%
Write 4k QD32
478.3
548.6
15%
506.1
6%
468.37
-2%
595.1
24%
382.2
-20%
Read 4k QD32
551.8
641.7
16%
633.1
15%
630.82
14%
645.3
17%
584.9
6%
Write 4k
152.7
161.4
6%
169.4
11%
12.87
-92%
182
19%
136.9
-10%
Read 4k
53.35
54.8
3%
56.08
5%
10.76
-80%
56.54
6%
51.94
-3%
Write 512
1535
959.4
-37%
1611
5%
1124.03
-27%
1279
-17%
1240
-19%
Read 512
413.4
782.1
89%
459.1
11%
967.57
134%
391.4
-5%
1216
194%
Write Seq
1580
1138
-28%
1662
5%
1505.1
-5%
1562
-1%
1247
-21%
Read Seq
2042
1189
-42%
2253
10%
1556.5
-24%
2229
9%
1617
-21%
Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
Sequential Read: 2042 MB/s
Sequential Write: 1580 MB/s
512K Read: 413.4 MB/s
512K Write: 1535 MB/s
4K Read: 53.35 MB/s
4K Write: 152.7 MB/s
4K QD32 Read: 551.8 MB/s
4K QD32 Write: 478.3 MB/s

GPU Performance

GPU-Z AMD FirePro W4190
GPU-Z AMD FirePro W4190

If you’re familiar with the G4’s predecessor then the graphics card will be very familiar: like many other things, the AMD FirePro W4190M has also remained unchanged. This GPU, first introduced in 2015, comes with 2 GB of GDDR5 memory and 384 shader units running at up to 900 MHz. Further details for this outdated GPU can be found in our GPU benchmark list.

The only thing we can really say about this GPU is that it should have been discontinued a long time ago. A quick look at our GPU benchmark list reveals that even the slowest Quadro GPU, the Quadro M520 that the ThinkPad P51s is equipped with, is noticeably faster in all benchmarks. Sometimes by a bit, sometimes by a lot. For example, the difference between these two in 3DMark FireStrike is a whopping 30 %, and in some SPECviewperf12 sub-categories it is even larger than that.

Unlike CPU performance, the GPU does not run at reduced speed on battery.

3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance GPU
HP ZBook Studio G4-Y6K17EA
NVIDIA Quadro M1200, Intel Xeon E3-1505M v6
5515 Points ∼100% +132%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2017 (2.8 GHz, 555)
AMD Radeon Pro 555, Intel Core i7-7700HQ
5185 Points ∼94% +118%
Dell Precision 5520 UHD
NVIDIA Quadro M1200, Intel Xeon E3-1505M v6
5105 Points ∼93% +115%
Lenovo ThinkPad P51s 20HB000SGE
NVIDIA Quadro M520, Intel Core i7-7600U
2658 Points ∼48% +12%
HP ZBook 15u G4
AMD FirePro W4190M, Intel Core i7-7500U
2379 Points ∼43%
HP ZBook 15u G3
AMD FirePro W4190M, Intel Core i7-6600U
1932 Points ∼35% -19%
3DMark
1920x1080 Fire Strike Graphics
Dell Precision 5520 UHD
NVIDIA Quadro M1200, Intel Xeon E3-1505M v6
4165 Points ∼100% +131%
HP ZBook Studio G4-Y6K17EA
NVIDIA Quadro M1200, Intel Xeon E3-1505M v6
4118 Points ∼99% +128%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2017 (2.8 GHz, 555)
AMD Radeon Pro 555, Intel Core i7-7700HQ
3721 Points ∼89% +106%
Lenovo ThinkPad P51s 20HB000SGE
NVIDIA Quadro M520, Intel Core i7-7600U
2342 Points ∼56% +30%
HP ZBook 15u G4
AMD FirePro W4190M, Intel Core i7-7500U
1806 Points ∼43%
HP ZBook 15u G3
AMD FirePro W4190M, Intel Core i7-6600U
1588 Points ∼38% -12%
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Graphics
Dell Precision 5520 UHD
NVIDIA Quadro M1200, Intel Xeon E3-1505M v6
28254 Points ∼100% +124%
HP ZBook Studio G4-Y6K17EA
NVIDIA Quadro M1200, Intel Xeon E3-1505M v6
26860 Points ∼95% +113%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2017 (2.8 GHz, 555)
AMD Radeon Pro 555, Intel Core i7-7700HQ
22624 Points ∼80% +80%
Lenovo ThinkPad P51s 20HB000SGE
NVIDIA Quadro M520, Intel Core i7-7600U
13394 Points ∼47% +6%
HP ZBook 15u G4
AMD FirePro W4190M, Intel Core i7-7500U
12601 Points ∼45%
HP ZBook 15u G3
AMD FirePro W4190M, Intel Core i7-6600U
8513 Points ∼30% -32%
SPECviewperf 12
1900x1060 Solidworks (sw-03)
HP ZBook Studio G4-Y6K17EA
NVIDIA Quadro M1200, Intel Xeon E3-1505M v6
78.37 fps ∼100% +160%
Dell Precision 5520 UHD
NVIDIA Quadro M1200, Intel Xeon E3-1505M v6
69.01 fps ∼88% +129%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2017 (2.8 GHz, 555)
AMD Radeon Pro 555, Intel Core i7-7700HQ
48.83 fps ∼62% +62%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2017 (2.8 GHz, 555)
AMD Radeon Pro 555, Intel Core i7-7700HQ
48.8 fps ∼62% +62%
Lenovo ThinkPad P51s 20HB000SGE
NVIDIA Quadro M520, Intel Core i7-7600U
45.9 fps ∼59% +52%
HP ZBook 15u G3
AMD FirePro W4190M, Intel Core i7-6600U
31.41 fps ∼40% +4%
HP ZBook 15u G4
AMD FirePro W4190M, Intel Core i7-7500U
30.12 fps ∼38%
1900x1060 Siemens NX (snx-02)
HP ZBook Studio G4-Y6K17EA
NVIDIA Quadro M1200, Intel Xeon E3-1505M v6
34.66 fps ∼100% +74%
Dell Precision 5520 UHD
NVIDIA Quadro M1200, Intel Xeon E3-1505M v6
34.18 fps ∼99% +72%
Lenovo ThinkPad P51s 20HB000SGE
NVIDIA Quadro M520, Intel Core i7-7600U
24.13 fps ∼70% +21%
HP ZBook 15u G4
AMD FirePro W4190M, Intel Core i7-7500U
19.91 fps ∼57%
HP ZBook 15u G3
AMD FirePro W4190M, Intel Core i7-6600U
19.89 fps ∼57% 0%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2017 (2.8 GHz, 555)
AMD Radeon Pro 555, Intel Core i7-7700HQ
14.2 fps ∼41% -29%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2017 (2.8 GHz, 555)
AMD Radeon Pro 555, Intel Core i7-7700HQ
14.17 fps ∼41% -29%
1900x1060 Showcase (showcase-01)
Dell Precision 5520 UHD
NVIDIA Quadro M1200, Intel Xeon E3-1505M v6
26.2 fps ∼100% +157%
HP ZBook Studio G4-Y6K17EA
NVIDIA Quadro M1200, Intel Xeon E3-1505M v6
22.17 fps ∼85% +117%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2017 (2.8 GHz, 555)
AMD Radeon Pro 555, Intel Core i7-7700HQ
19.9 fps ∼76% +95%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2017 (2.8 GHz, 555)
AMD Radeon Pro 555, Intel Core i7-7700HQ
19.86 fps ∼76% +95%
Lenovo ThinkPad P51s 20HB000SGE
NVIDIA Quadro M520, Intel Core i7-7600U
11.8 fps ∼45% +16%
HP ZBook 15u G4
AMD FirePro W4190M, Intel Core i7-7500U
10.21 fps ∼39%
HP ZBook 15u G3
AMD FirePro W4190M, Intel Core i7-6600U
4.98 fps ∼19% -51%
1900x1060 Medical (medical-01)
HP ZBook Studio G4-Y6K17EA
NVIDIA Quadro M1200, Intel Xeon E3-1505M v6
17.77 fps ∼100% +294%
Dell Precision 5520 UHD
NVIDIA Quadro M1200, Intel Xeon E3-1505M v6
17.49 fps ∼98% +288%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2017 (2.8 GHz, 555)
AMD Radeon Pro 555, Intel Core i7-7700HQ
9.1 fps ∼51% +102%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2017 (2.8 GHz, 555)
AMD Radeon Pro 555, Intel Core i7-7700HQ
9.06 fps ∼51% +101%
Lenovo ThinkPad P51s 20HB000SGE
NVIDIA Quadro M520, Intel Core i7-7600U
8.29 fps ∼47% +84%
HP ZBook 15u G3
AMD FirePro W4190M, Intel Core i7-6600U
6.09 fps ∼34% +35%
HP ZBook 15u G4
AMD FirePro W4190M, Intel Core i7-7500U
4.51 fps ∼25%
1900x1060 Maya (maya-04)
HP ZBook Studio G4-Y6K17EA
NVIDIA Quadro M1200, Intel Xeon E3-1505M v6
37.29 fps ∼100% +124%
Dell Precision 5520 UHD
NVIDIA Quadro M1200, Intel Xeon E3-1505M v6
32.07 fps ∼86% +92%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2017 (2.8 GHz, 555)
AMD Radeon Pro 555, Intel Core i7-7700HQ
30.54 fps ∼82% +83%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2017 (2.8 GHz, 555)
AMD Radeon Pro 555, Intel Core i7-7700HQ
30.5 fps ∼82% +83%
Lenovo ThinkPad P51s 20HB000SGE
NVIDIA Quadro M520, Intel Core i7-7600U
19.51 fps ∼52% +17%
HP ZBook 15u G4
AMD FirePro W4190M, Intel Core i7-7500U
16.66 fps ∼45%
HP ZBook 15u G3
AMD FirePro W4190M, Intel Core i7-6600U
16.38 fps ∼44% -2%
1900x1060 Energy (energy-01)
HP ZBook Studio G4-Y6K17EA
NVIDIA Quadro M1200, Intel Xeon E3-1505M v6
3.85 fps ∼100% +1032%
Dell Precision 5520 UHD
NVIDIA Quadro M1200, Intel Xeon E3-1505M v6
3.78 fps ∼98% +1012%
Lenovo ThinkPad P51s 20HB000SGE
NVIDIA Quadro M520, Intel Core i7-7600U
0.53 fps ∼14% +56%
HP ZBook 15u G3
AMD FirePro W4190M, Intel Core i7-6600U
0.41 fps ∼11% +21%
HP ZBook 15u G4
AMD FirePro W4190M, Intel Core i7-7500U
0.34 fps ∼9%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2017 (2.8 GHz, 555)
AMD Radeon Pro 555, Intel Core i7-7700HQ
0.32 fps ∼8% -6%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2017 (2.8 GHz, 555)
AMD Radeon Pro 555, Intel Core i7-7700HQ
0.32 fps ∼8% -6%
1900x1060 Creo (creo-01)
HP ZBook Studio G4-Y6K17EA
NVIDIA Quadro M1200, Intel Xeon E3-1505M v6
46.97 fps ∼100% +178%
Dell Precision 5520 UHD
NVIDIA Quadro M1200, Intel Xeon E3-1505M v6
46.12 fps ∼98% +173%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2017 (2.8 GHz, 555)
AMD Radeon Pro 555, Intel Core i7-7700HQ
33.4 fps ∼71% +98%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2017 (2.8 GHz, 555)
AMD Radeon Pro 555, Intel Core i7-7700HQ
33.39 fps ∼71% +98%
Lenovo ThinkPad P51s 20HB000SGE
NVIDIA Quadro M520, Intel Core i7-7600U
27.98 fps ∼60% +66%
HP ZBook 15u G3
AMD FirePro W4190M, Intel Core i7-6600U
16.87 fps ∼36% 0%
HP ZBook 15u G4
AMD FirePro W4190M, Intel Core i7-7500U
16.87 fps ∼36%
1900x1060 Catia (catia-04)
HP ZBook Studio G4-Y6K17EA
NVIDIA Quadro M1200, Intel Xeon E3-1505M v6
45.86 fps ∼100% +153%
Dell Precision 5520 UHD
NVIDIA Quadro M1200, Intel Xeon E3-1505M v6
45.75 fps ∼100% +152%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2017 (2.8 GHz, 555)
AMD Radeon Pro 555, Intel Core i7-7700HQ
30.8 fps ∼67% +70%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2017 (2.8 GHz, 555)
AMD Radeon Pro 555, Intel Core i7-7700HQ
30.79 fps ∼67% +70%
Lenovo ThinkPad P51s 20HB000SGE
NVIDIA Quadro M520, Intel Core i7-7600U
26.22 fps ∼57% +45%
HP ZBook 15u G3
AMD FirePro W4190M, Intel Core i7-6600U
18.62 fps ∼41% +3%
HP ZBook 15u G4
AMD FirePro W4190M, Intel Core i7-7500U
18.13 fps ∼40%
1900x1060 3ds Max (3dsmax-05)
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2017 (2.8 GHz, 555)
AMD Radeon Pro 555, Intel Core i7-7700HQ
26.74 fps ∼100% +134%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2017 (2.8 GHz, 555)
AMD Radeon Pro 555, Intel Core i7-7700HQ
26.7 fps ∼100% +134%
Lenovo ThinkPad P51s 20HB000SGE
NVIDIA Quadro M520, Intel Core i7-7600U
19.73 fps ∼74% +73%
HP ZBook 15u G4
AMD FirePro W4190M, Intel Core i7-7500U
11.42 fps ∼43%
SiSoft Sandra 2016
Image Processing
HP ZBook 15u G4
AMD FirePro W4190M, Intel Core i7-7500U
191.42 MPix/s ∼100%
Lenovo ThinkPad P51s 20HB000SGE
NVIDIA Quadro M520, Intel Core i7-7600U
149.34 MPix/s ∼78% -22%
HP ZBook Studio G4-Y6K17EA
NVIDIA Quadro M1200, Intel Xeon E3-1505M v6
140.2 MPix/s ∼73% -27%
GP Cryptography (Higher Security AES256+SHA2-512)
HP ZBook Studio G4-Y6K17EA
NVIDIA Quadro M1200, Intel Xeon E3-1505M v6
8 GB/s ∼100% +104%
Lenovo ThinkPad P51s 20HB000SGE
NVIDIA Quadro M520, Intel Core i7-7600U
4.86 GB/s ∼61% +24%
HP ZBook 15u G4
AMD FirePro W4190M, Intel Core i7-7500U
3.92 GB/s ∼49%
GP Financial Analysis (FP High/Double Precision)
HP ZBook 15u G4
AMD FirePro W4190M, Intel Core i7-7500U
42 KOPT/s ∼100%
HP ZBook Studio G4-Y6K17EA
NVIDIA Quadro M1200, Intel Xeon E3-1505M v6
19.32 KOPT/s ∼46% -54%
Lenovo ThinkPad P51s 20HB000SGE
NVIDIA Quadro M520, Intel Core i7-7600U
14 KOPT/s ∼33% -67%
Unigine Valley 1.0
1920x1080 Extreme HD DirectX AA:x8
HP ZBook Studio G4-Y6K17EA
NVIDIA Quadro M1200, Intel Xeon E3-1505M v6
27.7 fps ∼100% +347%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2017 (2.8 GHz, 555)
AMD Radeon Pro 555, Intel Core i7-7700HQ
16 (min: 9, max: 29) fps ∼58% +158%
Lenovo ThinkPad P51s 20HB000SGE
NVIDIA Quadro M520, Intel Core i7-7600U
11.4 fps ∼41% +84%
HP ZBook 15u G4
AMD FirePro W4190M, Intel Core i7-7500U
6.2 fps ∼22%
1920x1080 Extreme HD Preset OpenGL AA:x8
HP ZBook Studio G4-Y6K17EA
NVIDIA Quadro M1200, Intel Xeon E3-1505M v6
23.9 fps ∼100% +185%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2017 (2.8 GHz, 555)
AMD Radeon Pro 555, Intel Core i7-7700HQ (OS X)
16.1 (min: 16, max: 16.1) fps ∼67% +92%
Lenovo ThinkPad P51s 20HB000SGE
NVIDIA Quadro M520, Intel Core i7-7600U
9.9 fps ∼41% +18%
HP ZBook 15u G4
AMD FirePro W4190M, Intel Core i7-7500U
8.4 fps ∼35%
Unigine Heaven 4.0
Extreme Preset OpenGL
Lenovo ThinkPad P51s 20HB000SGE
NVIDIA Quadro M520, Intel Core i7-7600U
9.9 fps ∼100% +32%
HP ZBook 15u G4
AMD FirePro W4190M, Intel Core i7-7500U
7.5 fps ∼76%
Extreme Preset DX11
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2017 (2.8 GHz, 555)
AMD Radeon Pro 555, Intel Core i7-7700HQ (Win 10)
20.4 (min: 7, max: 43) fps ∼100% +132%
Lenovo ThinkPad P51s 20HB000SGE
NVIDIA Quadro M520, Intel Core i7-7600U
10.6 fps ∼52% +20%
HP ZBook 15u G4
AMD FirePro W4190M, Intel Core i7-7500U
8.8 fps ∼43%
LuxMark v2.0 64Bit
Room GPUs-only
Dell Precision 5520 UHD
NVIDIA Quadro M1200, Intel Xeon E3-1505M v6
979 Samples/s ∼100% +127%
HP ZBook Studio G4-Y6K17EA
NVIDIA Quadro M1200, Intel Xeon E3-1505M v6
656 Samples/s ∼67% +52%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2017 (2.8 GHz, 555)
AMD Radeon Pro 555, Intel Core i7-7700HQ
506 Samples/s ∼52% +17%
HP ZBook 15u G4
AMD FirePro W4190M, Intel Core i7-7500U
431 Samples/s ∼44%
Lenovo ThinkPad P51s 20HB000SGE
NVIDIA Quadro M520, Intel Core i7-7600U
405 Samples/s ∼41% -6%
Sala GPUs-only
Dell Precision 5520 UHD
NVIDIA Quadro M1200, Intel Xeon E3-1505M v6
1562 Samples/s ∼100% +59%
HP ZBook 15u G3
AMD FirePro W4190M, Intel Core i7-6600U
1034 Samples/s ∼66% +5%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2017 (2.8 GHz, 555)
AMD Radeon Pro 555, Intel Core i7-7700HQ
1001 Samples/s ∼64% +2%
HP ZBook 15u G4
AMD FirePro W4190M, Intel Core i7-7500U
984 Samples/s ∼63%
HP ZBook Studio G4-Y6K17EA
NVIDIA Quadro M1200, Intel Xeon E3-1505M v6
852 Samples/s ∼55% -13%
Lenovo ThinkPad P51s 20HB000SGE
NVIDIA Quadro M520, Intel Core i7-7600U
708 Samples/s ∼45% -28%
3DMark 11 Performance
2611 points
3DMark Cloud Gate Standard Score
7894 points
3DMark Fire Strike Score
1711 points
Help

Gaming Performance

Given that workstation GPUs are not really made for gaming, their somewhat limited gaming performance should be no surprise to anyone. Nevertheless, it is an important benchmark with real-world implications.

In our The Witcher 3 benchmark loop simulating consistent long-term high GPU load, the graphics card almost managed to hold its own. The frame rate dropped from 7 to 6 FPS after a few minutes but remained at that level afterwards. We do not consider this to constitute a significant amount of throttling.

01234567Tooltip
The Witcher 3 ultra

Our expectations were crushed almost instantly by the fact that the GPU turned out to be even slower than the almost ancient GeForce 940MX. Consequently, the FirePro is not really usable for gaming purposes and will only be able to run older or very simple games smoothly.

BioShock Infinite - 1920x1080 Ultra Preset, DX11 (DDOF)
Dell Precision 5520 UHD
Quadro M1200, E3-1505M v6, Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
47 fps ∼100% +204%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2017 (2.8 GHz, 555)
Radeon Pro 555, 7700HQ, Apple SSD SM0256L
37.6 (min: 11, max: 191) fps ∼80% +143%
Lenovo ThinkPad P51s 20HB000SGE
Quadro M520, 7600U, Samsung SSD PM961 1TB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe (MZVLW1T0)
24.2 fps ∼51% +57%
Lenovo ThinkPad T570-20HAS01E00
GeForce 940MX, 7500U, Samsung PM961 NVMe MZVLW512HMJP
21.5 fps ∼46% +39%
HP ZBook 15u G4
FirePro W4190M, 7500U, Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
15.45 fps ∼33%
HP ZBook 15u G3
FirePro W4190M, 6600U, Samsung SM951 MZVPV256HDGL m.2 PCI-e
13.64 fps ∼29% -12%
low med. high ultra
BioShock Infinite (2013) 101.9453.8946.8615.45fps
Company of Heroes 2 (2013) 39.3230.5117.17fps
The Witcher 3 (2015) 28.517.399.696fps

Emissions

System Noise

By using ultrabook components HP has sacrificed performance somewhat, but there are some notable advantages, too. For one, the fan is almost always completely off when idle, and while it was obviously spinning during our stress-test scenario it remained unobtrusive overall. Its sound characteristics were reminiscent of a gentle low-frequency hum with no high frequencies or fluctuations.

Unfortunately, the ZBook 15u G4 suffers from coil-whining. It was barely noticeable during regular use but very clear and irritating when we put our ear directly on top of the device. It will thus very likely be more or less disturbing for more sensitive users.

Noise Level

Idle
29.5 / 29.5 / 30.5 dB(A)
Load
35 / 37.4 dB(A)
  red to green bar
 
 
30 dB
silent
40 dB(A)
audible
50 dB(A)
loud
 
min: dark, med: mid, max: light   Audix TM1, Arta (15 cm distance)   environment noise: 29.5 dB(A)
dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs2029.53027.826.329.929.328.82526.53028.926.729.128.927.33126.526.125.927.926.626.527.74025.625.727.125.626.927.523.75024.124.32424.426.324.623.16322.323.922.924.52524.7258022.124.723.823.924.625.523.91002122.622.821.122.622.52312521.222.421.721.422.6232116018.720.419.919.320.419.61920019.42020.318.819.719.819.42501919.618.71918.418.119.431518.719.418.918.317.91818.940017.819.517.91817.617.7195001819.418.117.617.216.919.463018.920.319.81917.516.521.180019.322.721.220.917.716.721.910002024.521.120.417.716.724.9125020.62523.222.618.817.324.4160021.326.624.222.918.917.526.2200021.326.224.123.11917.626.5250023.529.226.725.319.617.829.1315023.129.426.224.71918.129.1400020.126.222.921.618.317.825.8500018.622.820.319.51817.822.4630017.620.619.118.41817.420.2800017.118.918.218.118.217.318.41000016.517.917.317.617.416.617.8125001618.41817.718.216.117.71600015.818.218.718.918.715.616.9SPL32.537.53533.930.529.537.3N1.62.421.81.41.22.4median 19median 20.6median 20.3median 19.3median 18.3median 17.6median 21Delta1.42.62.21.710.833529.231.334.8313534.43434.834.73334.43430.830.232.431.63431.230.930.832.529.631.228.928.529.129.328.128.927.128.626.929.72727.127.828.827.728.326.727.826.426.125.325.225.226.426.625.224.524.926.426.624.323.923.423.923.124.325.124.723.723.72425.126.125.222.622.621.926.125.323.32221.920.525.323.823.220.920.619.323.824.923.321.52018.924.925.223.422.319.718.125.225.923.421.619.41725.925.924.121.619.316.625.926.424.621.719.716.226.425.42421.318.216.625.424.923.62118.416.524.926.72421.417.915.926.730.827.723.319.216.330.832.528.523.919.716.632.527.524.820.517.916.327.522.921.218.617.416.922.920.819.618.217.31720.818.418.818.217.316.918.417.518.518.417.316.817.517.720.720.518.117.117.739.436.733.631.129.239.43.12.51.91.51.23.1median 25.3median 23.9median 21.6median 19.4median 17median 25.31.40.81.31.92.41.4hearing rangehide median Fan NoiseHP ZBook 15u G4Lenovo ThinkPad P51s 20HB000SGE

Temperature

Stress test (Prime95 + FurMark)
Stress test (Prime95 + FurMark)

When idle, temperatures were consistent and low. Under load, the ZBook 15u turned out to be quite a hothead indeed. 54 °C at the bottom and 50 °C at the top are definitely too high. At least the palm rests remained somewhat cool but using the device on your lap can turn out to become quite uncomfortable. The notebook remained a little bit cooler during the The Witcher 3 benchmark loop but only slightly so. The case still got uncomfortably warm.

The good news is that internal temperatures remained fairly low overall. Under load (FurMark + Prime95 simultaneously running) both CPU and GPU reached a maximum temperature of 82 °C. We have to add though that while running our stress test the ZBook ran at reduced speeds from the very beginning. The CPU and GPU clocked at 2.9 GHz and 650 MHz throughout the entire test, respectively. In other words: while the CPU did not throttle, it also didn’t run at peak turbo boost performance levels. The GPU, on the other hand, was significantly slower than it could and should have been.

Running 3DMark 11 immediately after performing the stress test yielded exactly the same score as before the test.

Max. Load
 47.5 °C
118 F
49.9 °C
122 F
47.2 °C
117 F
 
 44.4 °C
112 F
53.2 °C
128 F
46.8 °C
116 F
 
 31.3 °C
88 F
31 °C
88 F
30.5 °C
87 F
 
Maximum: 53.2 °C = 128 F
Average: 42.4 °C = 108 F
48.1 °C
119 F
54 °C
129 F
48.9 °C
120 F
44.7 °C
112 F
47.1 °C
117 F
46.4 °C
116 F
35.5 °C
96 F
38.1 °C
101 F
37.9 °C
100 F
Maximum: 54 °C = 129 F
Average: 44.5 °C = 112 F
Power Supply (max.)  51.7 °C = 125 F | Room Temperature 22.4 °C = 72 F | Voltcraft IR-900
(-) The average temperature for the upper side under maximal load is 42.4 °C / 108 F, compared to the average of 31.1 °C / 88 F for the devices in the class Workstation.
(-) The maximum temperature on the upper side is 53.2 °C / 128 F, compared to the average of 37.1 °C / 99 F, ranging from 23 to 69.8 °C for the class Workstation.
(-) The bottom heats up to a maximum of 54 °C / 129 F, compared to the average of 40.4 °C / 105 F
(+) In idle usage, the average temperature for the upper side is 23.5 °C / 74 F, compared to the device average of 31.1 °C / 88 F.
(-) Playing The Witcher 3, the average temperature for the upper side is 39 °C / 102 F, compared to the device average of 31.1 °C / 88 F.
(+) The palmrests and touchpad are cooler than skin temperature with a maximum of 31.4 °C / 88.5 F and are therefore cool to the touch.
(-) The average temperature of the palmrest area of similar devices was 27.8 °C / 82 F (-3.6 °C / -6.5 F).
Top (load)
Top (load)
Bottom (load)
Bottom (load)

Speakers

The massive speaker grill housing a set of stereo speakers is located between the keyboard, the display, and the hinges. Despite the Bang & Olufsen software equalizer the speakers are equipped with, they were only mediocre at best, which is quite common for notebooks these days: they were neither very loud nor were they very good.

The headphone jack works as expected and offers a more than decent alternative to the built-in speakers.

dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs2035.629.335.62533.828.933.83132.826.532.84030.327.530.35029.424.629.46330.624.730.68033.425.533.410032.122.532.112536233616042.619.642.620047.419.847.425053.118.153.131555.41855.440057.817.757.850060.416.960.463062.516.562.580059.716.759.7100056.416.756.4125060.117.360.1160056.217.556.2200058.117.658.125006117.861315058.918.158.9400060.117.860.1500060.817.860.8630063.317.463.380006117.3611000056.216.656.21250056.116.156.1160005015.650SPL71.929.571.9N30.81.230.8median 57.8median 17.6median 57.8Delta5.10.85.13338.432.739.329.63830.736.927.834.627.936.727.639.425.237.425.741.524.245.223.653.32262.621.462.520.35819.558.718.861.917.770.217.366.716.858.416.762.616.460.816.458.316.656.616.364.816.664.917.26317.157.617.156.91757.31754.129.675.21.336.9median 17.2median 58.42.34.5hearing rangehide median Pink NoiseHP ZBook 15u G4Lenovo ThinkPad P51s 20HB000SGE
HP ZBook 15u G4 audio analysis

(-) | not very loud speakers (71.9 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(±) | reduced bass - on average 13.4% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (10.2% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 1.8% away from median
(±) | linearity of mids is average (7.1% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 2.8% away from median
(+) | highs are linear (5.8% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(+) | overall sound is linear (13.5% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 10% of all tested devices in this class were better, 3% similar, 87% worse
» The best had a delta of 10%, average was 19%, worst was 31%
Compared to all devices tested
» 10% of all tested devices were better, 3% similar, 87% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Lenovo ThinkPad P51s 20HB000SGE audio analysis

(±) | speaker loudness is average but good (75.2 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(±) | reduced bass - on average 10.7% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (11% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 3.9% away from median
(±) | linearity of mids is average (10.5% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 3.1% away from median
(±) | linearity of highs is average (7.1% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(+) | overall sound is linear (12.9% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 8% of all tested devices in this class were better, 3% similar, 90% worse
» The best had a delta of 10%, average was 19%, worst was 31%
Compared to all devices tested
» 8% of all tested devices were better, 2% similar, 90% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Frequency diagram in comparison (checkboxes are selectable!)

Energy Management

Power Consumption

Due to the ULV processor and the FHD display, idle power consumption was fairly low. The ThinkPad P51s drew more power but was also equipped with a more power hungry higher resolution 4K display in return. The maximum idle power consumption of 11.8 W was reached with the keyboard backlight activated at its highest possible brightness level.

The included 65 W charger is too weak for the ZBook 15u G4’s maximum power consumption of around 90 W. That said, this high level was only held for around 10 seconds after which it dropped to 62 W.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.29 / 0.47 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 3.85 / 7.5 / 11.8 Watt
Load midlight 47.7 / 90.2 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Metrahit Energy
HP ZBook 15u G4
7500U, FirePro W4190M, Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e, IPS LED, 1920x1080, 15.6
Lenovo ThinkPad P51s 20HB000SGE
7600U, Quadro M520, Samsung SSD PM961 1TB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe (MZVLW1T0), IPS, 3840x2160, 15.6
Dell Precision 5520 UHD
E3-1505M v6, Quadro M1200, Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e, IPS, 3840x2160, 15.6
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2017 (2.8 GHz, 555)
7700HQ, Radeon Pro 555, Apple SSD SM0256L, IPS, 2880x1800, 15.4
HP ZBook Studio G4-Y6K17EA
E3-1505M v6, Quadro M1200, Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e, IPS, 3840x2160, 15.6
HP ZBook 15u G3
6600U, FirePro W4190M, Samsung SM951 MZVPV256HDGL m.2 PCI-e, TN LED, 1920x1080, 15.6
Power Consumption
-23%
-83%
-32%
-105%
3%
Idle Minimum *
3.85
5.8
-51%
8.9
-131%
3.4
12%
12.6
-227%
4.3
-12%
Idle Average *
7.5
10.4
-39%
13.6
-81%
13.9
-85%
17.1
-128%
7.9
-5%
Idle Maximum *
11.8
13.5
-14%
14.1
-19%
17.6
-49%
19.3
-64%
11.5
3%
Load Average *
47.7
62.4
-31%
100.3
-110%
71.1
-49%
88.3
-85%
43.3
9%
Load Maximum *
90.2
73.1
19%
126.3
-40%
88.5
2%
147.3
-63%
72.3
20%
Witcher 3 ultra *
46.7
100.2
-115%
57.9
-24%
74.8
-60%

* ... smaller is better

Battery Life

Charging: 130 minutes / 2:10 hours
Charging: 130 minutes / 2:10 hours

The ZBook’s 51 Wh lithium-polymer battery is on the small side and is one of the smallest in our test group.

Compared to its own predecessor, battery life has been improved somewhat. For example, the G4 outlasted the G3 by more than two hours in our Wi-Fi battery test. However, compared to its main rival – the P51s – the G4 doesn’t stand a chance. The ThinkPad was equipped with an add-on battery increasing its initial battery capacity to an impressive 104 Wh. Despite its quad-core CPU the MacBook Pro 15 also easily outlasted the G4 in our Wi-Fi test.

When reviewing workstations we perform an additional battery test by running SPECviewperf in a loop. The ZBook 15u G4 lasted for 64 minutes in this test and therefore almost exactly as long as it lasted in our usual battery eater load test.

With Fast-Charging enabled it took 130 minutes to fully charge the ZBook’s battery. This isn’t half bad, especially considering that the battery hits the 80% threshold after around an hour. As is quite common, the final 20% takes just as long. Thus, the ZBook can be topped up quickly during the day if necessary.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
16h 06min
NBC WiFi Websurfing Battery Test 1.3 (Edge)
7h 37min
Big Buck Bunny H.264 1080p
8h 06min
Load (maximum brightness)
1h 05min
HP ZBook 15u G4
7500U, FirePro W4190M, 51 Wh
Lenovo ThinkPad P51s 20HB000SGE
7600U, Quadro M520, 104 Wh
Dell Precision 5520 UHD
E3-1505M v6, Quadro M1200, 97 Wh
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2017 (2.8 GHz, 555)
7700HQ, Radeon Pro 555, 76 Wh
HP ZBook Studio G4-Y6K17EA
E3-1505M v6, Quadro M1200, 64 Wh
HP ZBook 15u G3
6600U, FirePro W4190M, 90 Wh
Battery Runtime
140%
-25%
13%
-46%
21%
Reader / Idle
966
1581
64%
724
-25%
410
-58%
756
-22%
H.264
486
700
44%
511
5%
WiFi v1.3
457
712
56%
254
-44%
644
41%
201
-56%
312
-32%
Load
65
323
397%
61
-6%
60
-8%
50
-23%
141
117%
Witcher 3 ultra
87

Verdict

Pros

+ classy metal case
+ comfortable input devices
+ low noise levels
+ IPS display with brightness higher than 300 nits
+ plenty of ports, including VGA and full-sized DisplayPort

Cons

- ancient and obsolete AMD GPU
- CPU not powerful enough for a portable workstation
- color coverage too low for photo-editing purposes
- no Thunderbolt 3
- high temperatures under load
- 65 W charger too weak
In review: ZBook 15u G4. Review unit courtesy of HP.
In review: ZBook 15u G4. Review unit courtesy of HP.

U-class ULV CPUs and mobile workstations – two things that don't really fit together well. This might change with the upcoming Kaby Lake-R ULV quad-core processors in early 2018. However, these are not yet available and we are not reviewing a hypothetical ZBook 15u G5 but the Kaby Lake dual-core equipped ZBook 15u G4 instead.

The G4 has got the basics covered. A rigid and high-quality all-metal case with input devices that, while not top of their class, are suitable for a workhorse such as this. The wide variety of ports includes VGA and a full-size DisplayPort, and unlike the HP EliteBook 850 G4 business model’s display the ZBook 15u G4’s display was decent overall: IPS instead of TN, wide viewing angles, and a maximum brightness north of 300 nits.

Our only nitpick with the display is its substandard color coverage that might be okay for a business device but doesn’t meet the high standards of a workstation. In addition, we would have loved to see a Thunderbolt 3 port on the device – in fact, we’ve come to expect it on a notebook at this price point. Our biggest concern is the two processing units, the CPU and GPU. Both are exactly as fast as you would expect, and they operate at very low sound levels (coil-whining aside). However, they are not nearly powerful enough for a modern workstation. This becomes particularly obvious when looking at the obsolete AMD FirePro GPU that should have been discontinued and retired a long time ago. Instead, an entry-level Quadro GPU like the M520 or M620 would have been a much better match. Last but not least, we were taken aghast by the G4’s high surface temperatures and the inadequately dimensioned charger.

Mixed feelings: the ZBook 15u G4’s high potential is ruined by the ancient, obsolete, and slow GPU.

The question is: what kind of user does HP aim at with the ZBook 15u G4? Workstation users with exceptional performance requirements will find better alternatives, such as the Dell Precision 5520, the Apple MacBook Pro 15, or even HP’s own ZBook Studio G4 (currently in review). Since they come with higher capacity batteries these alternatives even offer a longer battery life. The G4 also isn’t the best choice if you’re looking for an affordable yet energy-efficient workstation for not too-intensive tasks – Lenovo’s ThinkPad P51s may lack the G4’s fancy metal case but it can be equipped with an optional 6-cell battery boosting battery life significantly. In addition, it also features Thunderbolt 3 and the faster Quadro M520 GPU.

All things considered, we can only conclude that the ZBook 15u G4 may be a decent laptop, but it cannot keep up with other mobile workstations. Maybe next year’s model built around the same chassis equipped with newer and faster CPUs and GPUs will be able to change that.

HP ZBook 15u G4 - 09/21/2017 v6(old)
Benjamin Herzig

Chassis
89 / 98 → 91%
Keyboard
85%
Pointing Device
88%
Connectivity
60 / 81 → 73%
Weight
64 / 10-66 → 97%
Battery
90%
Display
86%
Games Performance
64%
Application Performance
93%
Temperature
84 / 95 → 89%
Noise
93 / 90 → 100%
Audio
55%
Camera
44 / 85 → 52%
Average
75%
81%
Workstation - Weighted Average

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > HP ZBook 15u G4 (7500U, FirePro W4190M) Workstation Review
Benjamin Herzig, 2017-10- 4 (Update: 2017-10- 5)