The 2021 Z Workstation product line delivers performance at all levels and in any location. In broad strokes, Z mobile workstations come in four flavors. Let’s look at each.

Z Mobile Workstations

Demand for mobile workstations has boomed. HP divides their mobile line in four broad groups. From most powerful on down, the products are the ZBook Fury, The ZBook Studio, the ZBook Power, and the ZBook Firefly.

The 2021 ZBook mobile workstations are known as the “G8” models. These new systems use the completely new industrial design introduced with last year’s G7 models and add the latest generation technology for the new G8 versions.

ZBook Fury G8

This is the desktop replacement line. The Fury line includes 17-inch and 15-inch models. Both models support the high-end, professional, mobile GPUs: the NVIDIA RTX A5000 with 16 GB of graphics memory and the AMD Radeon Pro W6600M with 8 GB of graphics memory.

At its maximum configuration, the ZBook Fury is more powerful than many desktop workstations

At its maximum configuration, the ZBook Fury is more powerful than many desktop workstations

Each supports high-end, 11th generation Core i9 and Xeon processors with Turbo frequencies up to 5.0 GHz and eight cores. The processors can be paired with up to 128 GB of memory running at 3200 MHz.

The display options include an HP DreamColor display and both provide storage capacity which tops out at 8 TB.

The Fury has a slender design yet remains a desktop replacement. Not everyone needs an NVIDIA RTX A5000, 128 GB of memory, and tons of storage, but for those who do, this is the ZBook for you.

Weight (starting):
15-inch: 5.18 lbs / 2.35 kg
17-inch: 6.09 lbs / 2.76 kg

15-inch: You can pick up a ZBook G8 15-inch for a bit more than $2200. Load it to the maximum configuration and you’ll have a power machine for a powerful price – just over $14,000.

17-inch: Package configurations are available for just over $2300. If you maximize the configuration for the highest performance, then you will invest just over $14,500.

Here is our review of the G7 version.

ZBook Studio G8

The Studio line targets creative professionals, but any user who desires a lightweight GPU powerhouse with a beautiful design will love this workstation.

This model is the ultimate in a thin, light, and beautiful mobile workstation. HP delivers flexibility and GPU choice specifically targeting creative professionals. The Studio can be configured with either NVIDIA GeForce GPUs (up to GeForce RTX 3080 with 16 GB) or professional NVIDIA RTX GPUs (up to RTX 5000 with 16 GB).

The ZBook Studio supports 11th generation Core i9 processors with up to 5.0 GHz Turbo frequencies. It fits this power into a compact design that weighs as little as 1.79 kg or 3.96 lbs.

The trade-off between size, weight, and performance can be seen in the limits of memory and storage. This system has a maximum memory capacity of 32 GB of 3200 MHz RAM and 2 TB of SSD storage.  

If your workflow isn’t constrained by the memory or storage limits, this mobile workstation will deliver great GPU and CPU performance. For many creative professionals, the extreme performance of the GPU and CPU are the critical drivers for their workflows. This trade-off can make a lot of sense.

3.78 lbs / 1.72 kg

Available at $2400. Given shortages at the time of writing, it is not possible to provide prices for a full configuration, but it is possible to push the configuration to $5000 (or more). 

Although thin and light, the ZBook Studio has good connectivity

Although thin and light, the ZBook Studio has good connectivity

Here is our review of the G7 version.

ZBook Power G8

The Power system has a very goal. It tries to deliver the maximum performance at the minimum price. The target customers include cost-conscious government clients and students in technical or creative fields.

The 15-inch ZBook Power delivers a flexible configuration with plenty of options for power where the user needs it. Some options are the same as those found in the high-end Fury G8. 

The same Intel Core i9-11950H with eight cores and a turbo speed of 5.0 GHz is available. Fast dual 2 TB M.2 SSDs can be added to the system. Sufficiently large for many users, 64 GB of fast 3200 MHz memory is available.

One 4K, IPS (non-touch) display is available and three FHD displays, one being a touch display, are possible. Having tested several mobile workstations with FHD displays, I cannot recommend that option even if you really want a touch display.

While the maximum memory and storage options are half of those available in the Fury line, the ZBook Power still provides sufficiently high-end options to earn the name “Power”.

Where the Power line hits limits that may not be acceptable for some high-end users is in the professional GP options. The fastest GPU available in the power line is the 4GB NVIDIA RTX A2000. This GPU is no slouch, but the graphics performance won’t come close to the faster RTX A4000 or RTX A5000 GPUs available in the Studio and fury lines.

4.16 lbs / 1.89 kg

Prices: A preconfigured model can be as low as $1700. The maximum configuration comes in just under $4900. 

ZBook Firefly G8

HP positions this 14-inch and 15-inch model as the mobile workstation for professional users who overpower a typical business notebook. 

More Z By HP “Goodness”

Although thin and light, the ZBook Studio has good connectivity

All ZBook workstations benefit from HP’s commitment to security, sustainability, and mobility. Security includes HP’s line of “Sure” features: “Sure Start” BIOS protection, “Sure Sense” AI-base malware detection, and “Sure Click” malevolent website protection.

HP pushes sustainability with the use of ocean-bound plastics in the Z family (and in other HP product lines as well). This is a long-term, ongoing project for increased sustainability.

Mobility for the Z By HP team means more than providing power in a lightweight form-factor. It also means secure, fast, remote access to any machine in your organization via HP’s ZCentral Remote Boost software.

As an example, this remote access solution allows a user to travel or work from home on a ZBook Firefly yet access the performance of an HP Z8 deskside workstation located in the office. The advantages are clear. 

Whether true or not, the ZBook Firefly is a certified mobile workstation with options for high-end Core i7 processors, an NVIDIA T500 with 4 GB of graphics memory, 32 GB of 2666 MHz memory, and 2 TB of SSD storage.

The display options include a 4K display on the 15-inch model, similar to the ZBook Power model, and FHD on the 14-inch version. Both models support a touch display with a FHD resolution.

These mobile workstations are light. The 15-inch Firefly weighs in at 3.78 lbs / 1.72 kg, and the 14-inch version is 2.99 lbs / 1.36 kg. For a certified workstation running 3D CAD and design applications in a work-from-home scenario, the weight may be the most important feature.

While the NVIDIA T500 won’t turn any heads among power users, HP designed the ZBook Firefly with the 4 GB version of this mobile GPU. The additional memory is an important factor in performance for many professional applications.

14-inch: 2.99 lbs / 1.36 kg
15-inch: 3.75 lbs / 1.75 kg

14-inch: Starts at around $1850. Fully configured at $4500.
15-inch: Starts at $2000. Fully configured at just over $5300. 

A Final Perspective

HP delivers a mobile workstation product line that provides a wide range of performance. Yet for every segment: high-mobility, cost-conscious power, sleek creative power, and desktop performance on-the-go; HP delivers on two important points. Making the system as light as possible and offering options for high-performance within the segment.

All of these systems benefit from HP’s work on end-device security products, environmental sustainability, and remote-access mobility.

Yes, there are trade-offs. But when decisions on trade-offs are done well, the resulting workstations are even better tailored to their intended clients. HP doesn’t offer one workstation that is perfect for every mobile user, but they do offer a line up from which every user can find their own perfect workstation. 

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