Notebookcheck

Notebookcheck's Top 10 Workstation Laptops

Andreas Osthoff, 11/04/2016

February 2018 update. Top 10 Workstation laptops with professional graphics cards reviewed by Notebookcheck

For the original German article, see here.

Mobile workstations are the most powerful devices in the business segment. They should offer a combination of typical business features and powerful hardware that has been optimized for reliability, stability and performance. Comprehensive support options, system-specific accessories, long spare-parts availability and various warranty options, are typical for this class of devices. You can also often find ports that have already been discarded in consumer products but are still being used in companies. The product cycles in this segment are very long and can be as long as three years in some cases. The pricing in this premium segment usually starts at significantly more than 1000 Euros (~$1080) and can quickly reach a few thousand Euros/Dollars.

As well as the above-mentioned factors, one of the main contributors to the cost is the graphics chips. Unlike the familiar consumer GPUs, they support special features and are designed for stability, compatibility and reliability in combination with certified software. These are not very interesting for private users, but can make a major difference for businesses.

Due to the long availability of mobile workstations, we look at devices from the last 18 months. The ranking can be different from the automated top list. The changes can include devices that have been on the market longer than 18 months, duplicates, review updates or highly recommended models according to the editorial point of view (price/performance, mobility, upgradeability, etc.). Deviations are explained in the respective editors' comments.

The prices are usually based on the review configuration. If this configuration is no longer available, then we have selected similarly equipped alternatives. We have also listed the starting price for each base configuration.

Performance is a key element of a mobile workstation. Mobile workstations in ultrabook format rather focus on mobility. While they are usually not poor notebooks, they seldom belong to the top models because of their significantly lower CPU and GPU performance.

Workstations Notebooks Charts as of February 2018

Pos.DateRatingImageModelHeightWeightSizeResolutionScreenBest Price
112/2017
New!
90%Lenovo ThinkPad P71-20HK0004GELenovo ThinkPad P71-20HK0004GE
Intel Core i7-7820HQ
NVIDIA Quadro P3000
16 GB Memory, 512 GB SSD
34.2 mm3.5 kg17.3"3840x2160
201/2018
New!
89%Dell Precision 7720Dell Precision 7720
Intel Xeon E3-1535M v6
NVIDIA Quadro P5000
64 GB Memory, 512 GB SSD
35 mm3.6 kg17.3"3840x2160matte
310/201789%HP ZBook 15 G4-Y4E80AVHP ZBook 15 G4-Y4E80AV
Intel Xeon E3-1535M v6
NVIDIA Quadro M2200
32 GB Memory, 1024 GB SSD
26 mm2.6 kg15.6"1920x1080matte
406/201789%Lenovo ThinkPad P51 20HH0016GELenovo ThinkPad P51 20HH0016GE
Intel Xeon E3-1505M v6
NVIDIA Quadro M2200
16 GB Memory, 512 GB SSD
29.4 mm2.6 kg15.6"3840x2160matte
505/201689%HP ZBook 17 G3 TZV66eAHP ZBook 17 G3 TZV66eA
Intel Xeon E3-1535M v5
NVIDIA Quadro M3000M
32 GB Memory, 256 GB SSD
30 mm3.3 kg17.3"1920x1080matte
611/2017
New!
87%Eurocom Tornado F5WEurocom Tornado F5W
Intel Xeon E3-1280 v5
NVIDIA Quadro P5000
64 GB Memory, 512 GB NVMe
40 mm3.1 kg15.6"1920x1080matte
710/2017
New!
86%HP ZBook Studio G4-Y6K17EAHP ZBook Studio G4-Y6K17EA
Intel Xeon E3-1505M v6
NVIDIA Quadro M1200
32 GB Memory, 512 GB SSD
18 mm2.1 kg15.6"3840x2160matte
807/201786%Fujitsu Celsius H970Fujitsu Celsius H970
Intel Xeon E3-1535M v6
NVIDIA Quadro P4000
32 GB Memory, 512 GB SSD
30 mm3 kg17.3"1920x1080matte
910/201686%Fujitsu Celsius H760Fujitsu Celsius H760
Intel Xeon E3-1505M v5
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
16 GB Memory, 512 GB SSD
32 mm3 kg15.6"1920x1080matte
1004/201785%Dell Precision 5520 UHDDell Precision 5520 UHD
Intel Xeon E3-1505M v6
NVIDIA Quadro M1200
32 GB Memory, 512 GB SSD
21 mm2.1 kg15.6"3840x2160glossy

» See whole list of reviewed Workstation laptops (ordered by total rating)

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1st - Lenovo ThinkPad P71

Lenovo ThinkPad P71
Lenovo ThinkPad P71

Lenovo's ThinkPad P71 is at the top of the Top 10 ranking. We already know the sturdy chassis from the predecessor ThinkPad P70 and the updates are limited to the components. Besides the Kaby Lake quad-core processor, you also get a modern Quadro GPU from Nvidia based on the Pascal architecture. The performance is very good, which is also the case for the emissions since both the temperatures as well as the fan noise are okay.

We also liked the 4K display, which is equipped with an integrated calibration. The measurements are very good and the screen does not have to hide behind the competitors, either. The ThinkPad P71 is available with numerous components, so you can build it based on your own requirements.

Pricecompare

2nd - Dell Precision 7720

Dell Precision 7720
Dell Precision 7720

Dell's 17.3-inch workstation is called Precision 7720 and is currently the most powerful notebook from the American manufacturer. There is plenty of power thanks to the mobile Xeon processor and Nvidia's Quadro P5000, and you can use their performance. The cooling solution works well and is usually quiet, while the sturdy chassis features plenty of ports and is easy to maintain.

The 4K PremierColor display is basically very good, but we would have expect more for a hefty premium of more than 400 Euros. There is visible backlight bleeding, PWM, and the color accuracy could be better. You should calibrate the panel if possible.

Pricecompare

3rd - HP ZBook 15 G4

HP ZBook 15 G4
HP ZBook 15 G4

Two old rivals occupy the top two places: the HP ZBook 15 G4 and the Lenovo ThinkPad P51. Both achieved very good ratings of 89% in our test; the mobile workstation from HP is the more recent review however.

The current G4 generation continues with the case of the predecessor. This is not a negative aspect since it features a high quality and many interfaces. In terms of performance, our test configuration priced at more than 4500 Euros (~$5285) delivers the maximum. The biggest cost factors are the mobile Xeon processor and the lightning fast 1 TB SSD from Samsung. However, the Xeon does not necessarily pay off for all users, since its full performance is not available during prolonged load.

The Full HD IPS display of our test model is a good choice; especially after calibration. However, the optional DreamColor display is recommended for photo and video editing, since it covers an even larger color space. Another advantage is the long battery runtimes. Unfortunately, the system emits disturbing electronic noises depending on the load during everyday use.

Pricecompare

4th - Lenovo ThinkPad P51

Lenovo ThinkPad P51
Lenovo ThinkPad P51

Just as its competitor from HP, the ThinkPad P51 uses the case of the predecessor and features up-to-date components. Apart from high performance, which is also almost fully available during prolonged load, it delivers a stable case and excellent input devices.

The 4K display is also a very positive surprise. Unfortunately, Lenovo does not manage to incorporate high-end displays in all models, but the 4K version in the P51 can be recommended regardless of the other components: decent brightness, matte surface, no PWM, low color deviation, and high color coverage. Moreover, there is an integrated calibration tool, which did not bring good results in our model however.

Pricecompare

5th - HP ZBook 17 G3

HP ZBook 17 G3
HP ZBook 17 G3

The HP ZBook 17 G3 is a powerful 17-inch workstation and combines typical business features with good portability and high performance. You can configure the 17-inch notebook in HP's online shop to suit your needs. Although the test model did not exploit all these possibilities, it already offers a very good performance and gives little cause for criticism. In particular, system noise during high load scenarios, which could be even louder with one of the more powerful Nvidia Quadro graphics cards, stands out in a negative way. Additional negatives include the use of PWM, poor accessibility to the battery and SIM, and the very high starting price compared to similarly equipped competitors. Pre-configured models start from just under 2100 Euros (~$2466) at retailers and about 2400 Euros (~$2820) at HP's online shop. However, our test model is priced at a steep 4500 Euros (~$5285). See the official HP website for more configurations.

Pricecompare

6th - Eurocom Tornado F5W

Eurocom Tornado F5W
Eurocom Tornado F5W

If the performance of a mobile processor is not sufficient anymore, you need a desktop CPU. Eurocom equips the chassis of the MSI GT62 VR with powerful hardware. Besides the aforementioned Xeon processor, the Tornado F5W also sports a Quadro P5000 as well as 64 GB RAM. The 15.6-inch mobile workstation utilizes the performance very well and does not get too loud, either.

The port variety is a drawback, just like the TN panel if you need more accurate colors. You can also select two IPS panels (1080p & 4K).

Pricecompare

7th - HP ZBook Studio G4

HP ZBook Studio G4
HP ZBook Studio G4

HP wants to offer plenty of performance in a slim chassis with the ZBook Studio G4. The predecessor Studio G3 still had issues with very high temperatures. The Studio G4 is not a cool device by any means, but the situation is much better than before. The chassis is extremely well built and sports great input devices. Our test model was equipped with the optional DreamColor display (4K), which is generally very good. However, the only difference compared to the regular 4K option seems to be the additional software.

The DreamColor panel has another drawback, because it prevents the use of Optimus. This means the dedicated GPU is active all the time, which reduces the battery runtimes of the supposedly mobile device drastically. Some features you expect from a mobile workstation (no WWAN, no SmartCard reader) are missing as well.

Pricecompare

8th - Fujitsu Celsius H970

Fujitsu Celsius H970
Fujitsu Celsius H970

The 17-inch workstation from Fujitsu follows the current design language of the manufacturer and is available with powerful components, including the new Quadro graphics cards based on Nvidia's current Pascal architecture. The GPU of the H970 does not have any temperature problems, but the Xeon processor is slightly too much for the cooling system. Moreover, the cooling is very loud at about 48 dB(A), which is disturbing in the long run. The H970 might be able to better handle a "smaller" processor.

The IPS display convinces with high brightness and contrast. However, high-resolution models with enhanced color space are not even optionally available. Hence, graphic designers have to use an external monitor. Another problem is that the keyboard can be too yielding. Therefore, it depends on the intended usage whether the Celsius H970 is suitable or not.

Pricecompare

9th - Fujitsu Celsius H760

Fujitsu Celsius H760
Fujitsu Celsius H760

With the Fujitsu Celsius H760, Fujitsu offers a standard workstation. Apart from adequate performance, the professional work device convinces especially with useful features including security features, modern interfaces, and many configuration options. A unique feature is the module bay, which can be used to add  a storage device or a supplementary battery. Further benefits include the stable casing, low emissions, and many support and warranty options. The Fujitsu might be the right choice for those who appreciate real business qualities. The only drawback is that its 15-inch size restricts the possible components to those with not too high a performance. For a few years now, Fujitsu has not had a 17-inch workstation in its line-up. The series starts at about 1800 Euros (~$2115); the test model costs about 3700 Euros (~$4345).

Pricecompare

10th - Dell Precision 5520

Dell Precision 5520
Dell Precision 5520

The trend towards more compact models also exists in the mobile workstation range. Those who travel frequently and do not need the most powerful graphics cards will soon come across the Precision 5520 from Dell, the professional counterpart of the popular Dell XPS 15. You will get a very high-end and compact case, which easily fits into every briefcase. However, loud fans and high temperatures are to be expected in return if you apply load to the laptop. Moreover, the mobile Xeon processor is slightly too much for the cooling system.

The high-resolution display is another advantage. It is very bright and already has low deviations of grayscales and colors out-of-the-box. However, it is a glossy touchscreen, which might put several users off. In addition, the color coverage does not fully meet the value specified by Dell.

Pricecompare

Top 10 in Comparison

Measurement Results

Lenovo ThinkPad P71-20HK0004GE
Dell Precision 7720
HP ZBook 15 G4-Y4E80AV
Lenovo ThinkPad P51 20HH0016GE
HP ZBook 17 G3 TZV66eA
Eurocom Tornado F5W
HP ZBook Studio G4-Y6K17EA
Fujitsu Celsius H970
Fujitsu Celsius H760
Dell Precision 5520 UHD
Response Times
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
39.2 (20.4, 18.8)
60 (26.8, 33.2)
39.2 (20.4, 18.8)
40.8 (20.8, 20)
50.4 (17.2, 33.2)
23.2 (18.8, 4.4)
44.8 (22, 22.8)
32 (14.8, 17.2)
38 (15, 23)
59.2 (27.6, 31.6)
Response Time Black / White *
23.2 (11.6, 11.6)
46.4 (28.4, 18)
25.6 (14.8, 10.8)
25.2 (14, 11.2)
28.4 (7.2, 21.2)
8.5 (6.8, 1.7)
30 (17.2, 12.8)
26.4 (14.8, 11.6)
26 (7, 19)
41.6 (26.8, 14.8)
PWM Frequency
1412 (90)
1020 (20)
20830 (80)
200 (40)
1497 (50)
Screen
Brightness middle
358
464
321
317
252
405.7
324
368
341
372.4
Brightness
338
441
320
309
243
397
338
360
310
368
Brightness Distribution
83
89
89
89
86
92
78
91
82
90
Black Level *
0.31
0.45
0.29
0.36
0.21
0.65
0.3
0.3
0.34
0.48
Contrast
1155
1031
1107
881
1200
624
1080
1227
1003
776
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
2.1
3.2
4.5
2.7
2.2
8.5
1.6
6.4
3.8
2.6
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
2
4.2
2.9
3
2.7
11.6
2.5
7.2
2
3.7
Gamma
2.16 111%
2.01 119%
2.27 106%
2.27 106%
2.28 105%
2.37 101%
2.21 109%
2.02 119%
2.17 111%
2.14 112%
CCT
6216 105%
6736 96%
6519 100%
6077 107%
6686 97%
10468 62%
6273 104%
6882 94%
6581 99%
7096 92%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
77
88.1
54.2
87.6
62
57
85.7
55.5
54
63
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
99.97
100
82.6
99.5
96
87
98.9
84.4
82.2
99
Noise
off / environment *
29.2
29.5
29.5
29.6
30
29.6
29.4
30.2
29
28.7
Idle Minimum *
29.2
29.5
29.5
29.6
30
31.2
29.7
30.2
29
28.7
Idle Average *
29.2
29.5
29.5
29.6
30
31.2
29.7
32.8
29
32.1
Idle Maximum *
32.2
29.5
30
29.6
30
32.6
31.6
32.8
29
32.1
Load Average *
34.7
35
39.5
32.2
48.9
32.6
42.3
47.3
43.1
41.3
Load Maximum *
39.1
47.8
36
36.6
48.9
43.3
42.3
47.3
49.2
45.5
Witcher 3 ultra *
41
39.5
43.1
42.3
45.5
Heat
Maximum Upper Side *
44
42.3
50.8
43
55.5
42.4
46.3
41.4
38.5
51.6
Maximum Bottom *
43.9
44.9
57.4
52.2
55.8
51.4
55.4
48.7
42.8
43.6
Idle Upper Side *
28
26.1
26.2
27.1
29.1
33.4
29.3
26.2
32.1
26.6
Idle Bottom *
28.1
27.9
25.8
27.9
29
30.6
30.3
26.4
43.7
26.2
Battery Runtime
Reader / Idle
872
685
1096
981
956
284
410
1002
557
724
WiFi v1.3
358
379
547
413
290
242
201
542
333
254
Load
66
70
115
95
110
70
50
74
106
61
Power Consumption
Idle Minimum *
7.44
9.6
5.9
8.6
6.7
23.7
12.6
10.7
7.7
8.9
Idle Average *
18
20.5
8.9
15.9
12.5
24.9
17.1
15.8
11.8
13.6
Idle Maximum *
21.8
22.9
12.7
22.1
13.2
28.4
19.3
17.8
12.9
14.1
Load Average *
77.1
96.8
95.2
84.4
128.2
104.1
88.3
92
90.2
100.3
Load Maximum *
150.5
202.1
154
130.6
158.9
136.8
147.3
137
130.8
126.3
Witcher 3 ultra *
87.7
145.9
74.8
100.2

* ... smaller is better

Benchmarks

PCMark 8
Work Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
Dell Precision 7720
4460 Points ∼68%
HP ZBook 15 G4-Y4E80AV
5423 Points ∼83%
Lenovo ThinkPad P51 20HH0016GE
4256 Points ∼65%
HP ZBook 17 G3 TZV66eA
5271 Points ∼81%
Eurocom Tornado F5W
5433 Points ∼83%
HP ZBook Studio G4-Y6K17EA
4408 Points ∼68%
Fujitsu Celsius H970
5277 Points ∼81%
Fujitsu Celsius H760
5301 Points ∼81%
Dell Precision 5520 UHD
4291 Points ∼66%
Home Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
Lenovo ThinkPad P71-20HK0004GE
3578 Points ∼60%
Dell Precision 7720
3772 Points ∼63%
HP ZBook 15 G4-Y4E80AV
4375 Points ∼73%
Lenovo ThinkPad P51 20HH0016GE
3641 Points ∼61%
HP ZBook 17 G3 TZV66eA
4133 Points ∼69%
Eurocom Tornado F5W
5273 Points ∼88%
HP ZBook Studio G4-Y6K17EA
4093 Points ∼69%
Fujitsu Celsius H760
4028 Points ∼67%
Dell Precision 5520 UHD
3504 Points ∼59%
Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit (sort by value)
Lenovo ThinkPad P71-20HK0004GE
166 Points ∼83%
Dell Precision 7720
179 Points ∼90%
HP ZBook 15 G4-Y4E80AV
176 Points ∼88%
Lenovo ThinkPad P51 20HH0016GE
171 Points ∼86%
HP ZBook 17 G3 TZV66eA
156 Points ∼78%
Eurocom Tornado F5W
163 Points ∼82%
HP ZBook Studio G4-Y6K17EA
170 Points ∼85%
Fujitsu Celsius H970
171 Points ∼86%
Fujitsu Celsius H760
158 Points ∼79%
Dell Precision 5520 UHD
170 Points ∼85%
CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
Lenovo ThinkPad P71-20HK0004GE
762 Points ∼35%
Dell Precision 7720
848 Points ∼39%
HP ZBook 15 G4-Y4E80AV
806 Points ∼38%
Lenovo ThinkPad P51 20HH0016GE
792 Points ∼37%
HP ZBook 17 G3 TZV66eA
742 Points ∼35%
Eurocom Tornado F5W
815 Points ∼38%
HP ZBook Studio G4-Y6K17EA
737 Points ∼34%
Fujitsu Celsius H970
675 Points ∼31%
Fujitsu Celsius H760
710 Points ∼33%
Dell Precision 5520 UHD
654 Points ∼30%

Legend

 
Lenovo ThinkPad P71-20HK0004GE Intel Core i7-7820HQ, NVIDIA Quadro P3000, Samsung PM961 NVMe MZVLW512HMJP
 
Dell Precision 7720 Intel Xeon E3-1535M v6, NVIDIA Quadro P5000, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5512GPU7
 
HP ZBook 15 G4-Y4E80AV Intel Xeon E3-1535M v6, NVIDIA Quadro M2200, Samsung SSD SM961 1TB M.2 MZVKW1T0HMLH
 
Lenovo ThinkPad P51 20HH0016GE Intel Xeon E3-1505M v6, NVIDIA Quadro M2200, Samsung PM961 NVMe MZVLW512HMJP
 
HP ZBook 17 G3 TZV66eA Intel Xeon E3-1535M v5, NVIDIA Quadro M3000M, Samsung SM951 MZVPV256HDGL m.2 PCI-e
 
Eurocom Tornado F5W Intel Xeon E3-1280 v5, NVIDIA Quadro P5000, Samsung SSD 960 Pro 512 GB m.2
 
HP ZBook Studio G4-Y6K17EA Intel Xeon E3-1505M v6, NVIDIA Quadro M1200, Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
 
Fujitsu Celsius H970 Intel Xeon E3-1535M v6, NVIDIA Quadro P4000, Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
 
Fujitsu Celsius H760 Intel Xeon E3-1505M v5, NVIDIA Quadro M2000M, Samsung SM951 MZVPV512 m.2 PCI-e
 
Dell Precision 5520 UHD Intel Xeon E3-1505M v6, NVIDIA Quadro M1200, Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Notebookcheck's Top 10 Workstation Laptops
Andreas Osthoff (Update: 2018-02- 9)