This ZBook 14U G4 is a punchy little mobile workstation and with the next-generation G5 just around the corner, you might be looking for a deal.

Small, Light, and Certified: HP's ZBook 14U G4 Mobile Workstation

HP ZBook 14U G4 : Certified. Light. GPU-accelerated.

Traveling with a  Windows-based workstation in your shoulder-bag probably implies that your needs extend beyond the basics that a corporate notebook or consumer notebook would deliver. For example, connectivity for a range of networks, memory cards, external displays and data-transfer ports makes it easier to stay productive while on the road. Having your workstation certified on your most important professional applications gives you more confidence in your workstation's reliability. And finally, professional-grade components give an extra boost in productivity.

If that workstation should be as light as possible, then the ZBook 14U G4 definitely comes into play. This 14-inch mobile workstation weighs in at 1.64 kg / 3.61 lbs. More important, the power supply is light and compact, too.

 

Workstation-Class Features Built-in

The ZBook 14U G4 with a FHD display is adequate for mobile creative applications

And while it might be small, it has professional software application certifications and a professional-level GPU in the AMD FirePro W4190M. The W4190M fits well with the mobility of the ZBook 14U. It  is a modest mobile GPU with 2 GB of GDDR5 memory with a 128 bit memory interface. The ZBook 14U G4 also provides configurations up to 32 GB of main memory and 2 TB of storage. The fastest CPU configuration is an Intel i7 7600U. This is a bi-core processor with hyperthreading. 

The display on the G4 is limited to a Full HD resolution: 1920x1080, which is OK for a 14 inch display, but a higher resolution display would be appreciated. You have an option for a touch display, too. The backlit keyboard has a decent, responsive feel. For fans of touch-point mouse controllers, they will find one nestled between the G, H, and B keys. 

 

Workstation Performance in a Small Mobile Format?

With regard to the balance between performance and mobility, the 14U clearly falls on the side of mobility. However, the system is still capable of handling the occasional heavy workload while on the road. The professional GPU gives a boost to applications in 3D modeling and a bi-core processor is sufficient for 3D CAD applications.

While a bi-core CPU, even with hyper-threading, doesn't lend itself to more demanding workstation applications like video effects or simulations, the system has enough memory and storage capacity to support the larger data requirements. And the AMD GPU accelerates video editing performance in Adobe Premier Pro. 

For some users, another aspect of workstation performance is certification with professional applications. These certifications increase the reliability of the workstation. Certification is part of supporting professional users and they provide a level of confidence that issues will be resolved. 

As an example, we put the 14U through the paces with Premier Pro with a short project and also ran our Premier Pro benchmarks.  The AMD FirePro GPU uses OpenCL to make editing more responsive and to accelerate rendering. When we turned off GPU acceleration, editing was painful and video exporting was much longer. With GPU acceleration, we were productive while working on our reasonably demanding project.  The full-HD resolution is limiting, but the performance was acceptable.

Viewperf 12.1

HP Zbook 14U

3DS MAX 05 12.71
CATIA 04 15.23
CREO 01 14.8
ENERGY 01 0.33
MAYA 04 11.77
MEDICAL 01 4.38
SHOWCASE 01 11.05
SNX 02 16.3
SW 03 23.43  

For our video testing, we normalize the video export performance results to real-time video.  100% means that the time required to export the final video is the same time as the video sequence itself. Less than 100% is faster performance, and more than 100% is slower performance (smaller is better).  Here, we provide results from our two Full HD test sequences. The music video sequence has five simultaneous video streams and the underwater sea snake test has up to four simultaneous video streams.  We compare the rendering performance of the professional GPU versus software-only rendering.   

For many other creative applications, like InDesign & Photoshop, the 14U provides good performance while on the road. For mainstream CAD & other 3D modeling, the system should also be a decent tool. 

Viewperf testing places a workstation in it's proper class. As the smallest mobile workstation in HP's stable, it is not a barn-burner in Viewperf, but it's not expected to be, either. This little system turns in a set of respectable results. This is particularly the case with datasets from 3D modeling and CAD applications.  It compares almost one-to-one to the G3 generation of the ZBook 15U which uses the same AMD GPU. 

 

How Small is Small?

This mobile workstation measures 338x237x22.1 mm / 13.3x9.3x0.87 inches. It weighs 1.64 kg / 3.61 lb depending on the system configuration. Also small, the 65W external power adapter keeps the real travel weight low. The touchpad covers an area of 95x55 mm. 

The ZBook 14U G4 has more connectivity that it needs

The ZBook 14U is equipped with many connectors for a small mobile workstation. One Type-C USB 3.1 connector is joined by 2 USB 3.0 connectors. Display outputs include a DisplayPort 1.2 and a VGA outputs. It is an odd choice for a small mobile workstation, because the  DisplayPort is not a miniDisplayPort output. There are connectors for the HP docking station, an RJ-45 connector, and a SIM card slot. The 14U has a large smart card reader slot, an SD slot, as well as connectors for audio/microphone and power. 

All things considered, PW considers the ZBook 14U connectivity over-dimensioned for such a small machine. As a traveling workstation, there is no need for both VGA and DisplayPort outputs. A miniDisplayPort would suffice. The extra-large smart card reader could be removed leaving the much smaller SD slot. The RJ-45 connector is convenient for certain business travel, but if it is primarily for your own office, then the docking station would be sufficient. 

The workstation has small dimensions, but it has big cooling. The left side has a massive vent and the bottom of the 14U contains another two rows of cooling vents. Yes, when you push this little ZBook for performance, you hear how hard it is working.  

 

Small, ... very small and mobile


The PW Perspective

At Professional Workstation, we like to take as much horse-power on the road as possible. Do you get that with the ZBook 14U G4? Of course not. On the other hand, if you maximize the configuration options, then you will have a respectable workstation for roaming the business world. As a mobile workstation - a very mobile workstation. - this HP ZBook will help you be productive on the road. 

 

 

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