Mobile performance with a focus on mobility, … and on performance
Many mobile workstations deliver performance, but mobility is not the priority. Other workstations focus completely on mobility, but performance is “blah”. The HP ZBook Studio G8 delivers, rather impressively, on both.
With a minimum weight of 1.79 kg (3.95 lbs), the HP ZBook Studio G8 is the lightest 15-inch workstation around. Naturally, it is compact, too. Despite this, HP squeezes a 16 GB NVIDIA RTX A5000 into the Studio G8 as its most powerful graphics option.
Speaking of graphics, the Studio G8 offers both professional NVIDIA RTX graphics and consumer GeForce RTX graphics. On the GeForce side, the maximum GPU configuration is the GeForce RTX 3080 (16 GB).
The ZBook Studio G8 delivers on 2 conflicting promises: an extremely mobile workstation with extraordinary high-performance
The display has several options at FHD and 4K resolutions. At 4K, the display options include a multi-touch OLED display with 400 NITS and a non-touch DreamColor IPS display with 600 NITS for accurate color calibration throughout your workflow.
Storage tops out at 2 TB SSD storage in the Studio G8. Memory can be configured up to 32 GB of DDR4-3200 non-ECC memory. Since the memory, soldered to the motherboard, is non-ECC memory, the CPU options don’t include Xeon processors. The top-of-the-line CPU offering is an eight-core Core i9-11950H processor with a base clock of 2.6 GHz and a Turbo clock of 5.0 GHz.
Who is HP’s target customer?
With a minimum weight of 1.79 kg and an extremely powerful GPU/CPU combination, the ZBook Studio G8 delivers extreme mobility and extreme power. Combine these two factors with the choice between professional and gaming GPUs and the inclusion of HP’s RGB keyboard, and it seems clear that HP is targeting an on-the-go creative professional who spends significant time working in a home office. Read more on the HP mobile workstation strategy from David Greco.
The ZBook Studio G8 Configuration
The test system has an impressive configuration. It has the high-end Core i9-11950H processor. The test system GPU is an NVIDIA RTX A3000. It has 32 GB of memory, 1 TB of SSD storage, and a 4K DreamColor display.
Despite its lightweight design, the ZBook Studio offers the same GPU options as the much larger, 17-inch mobile workstation, the HP ZBook Fury.
Connectivity on this tiny 15-inch mobile workstation includes 2 Thunderbolt 4.0 ports, 1 USB Type A port, 1 mini-DisplayPort output, 1 SD Card Reader, a headphone jack, a security lock, and a dedicated power connector. Basically, it is a thin and light 15-inch mobile workstation that doesn’t need a dongle in order to be productive right out of the box.
When it comes to mobility, the 150W or, in my case, the 200W power supply is going to add extra weight to your computer bag.
Although it impacts neither mobility nor performance, the RGB keyboard deserves mentioning. Pre-pandemic, HP already saw the blurring of work and life for their target user:
|Configuration Item||As Tested||Maximum Configuration|
|Graphics||NVIDIA RTX A3000 (6 GB)||NVIDIA RTX A5000 (16 GB)|
|Processor||Intel Core i9-11950H||Intel Core i9-11950H|
|Memory||32 GB DDR4-3200||32 GB DDR4-3200|
|Storage||1 TB SSD (Toshiba KXG60ZNV1T02 KIOXIA)||2 TB SSD|
|Display||3840x2160 DreamColor Display||3840x2160 DreamColor Display or 3840x2160 OLED Display|
a mobile creative working from a home-office, This influenced the requirements for the Studio G8. Hence, HP included their Omen RGB keyboard in the workstation.
Even if you are not a gamer, the color keyboard might just add that warm, comfortable feeling while working. OK, that’s cool. As for professional applications, it is not hard to imagine a set of customized keyboards lighting configurations to tailor the keyboard for your favorite apps.
I have the good fortune to test this ZBook Studio G8, with its NVIDIA RTX A3000, together with a ZBook Power G8 and a ZBook Fury G8 that contain an NVIDIA RTX A2000 and NVIDIA RTX A4000, respectively. The three systems contain essentially identical CPUs and memory which allows us to see the performance increases of the NVIDIA GPU family very clearly.
|ZBook Power G8||ZBook Studio G8||ZBook Fury G8|
|NVIDIA RTX A2000 (4 GB)||NVIDIA RTX A3000 (6 GB)||NVIDIA RTX A4000 (8 GB)|
|Intel Core i9-11950H||Intel Core i9-11950H||Intel Xeon W-11955M|
|32 GB DDR4-3200||32 GB DDR4-3200||64 GB DDR4-3200|
|1 TB SSD||1 TB SSD||1 TB SSD|
Viewperf 2020 tests workstation graphics performance using data sets from applications in several professional domains.
OctaneBench 2020 is a CUDA performance benchmark. The GPU performance scales well.
Across the board, our ZBook Studio G8 with an NVIDIA RTX A3000 delivers right between the RTX A2000 and the RTX A4000.
In the ZBook G8 family, the NVIDIA RTX A2000 is the high-end GPU for the ZBook Power. It doesn’t have an option for the RTX A3000.
The ZBook Studio and Fury have the same graphics configuration choices. Both can be configured with graphics up to the NVIDIA RTX A5000 as the high-end GPU. So, while the Studio G8 has limitations due to its size and weight, GPU performance is not among those limitations.
Premiere Pro CC scales well with faster graphics.
Our performance results come from a test system using 32 GB of memory. 32 GB is the maximum memory configuration, and it is also the minimum configuration that you should choose.
This system has 1 TB of SSD storage. The maximum configuration is 2 TB of storage.
Storage choices are personal. I know creative professionals who keep their project work on fast external drives. They could be happy with 1 TB SSD storage.
Many of us, myself included, find 1 TB too confining. Even 2 TB feels more like a starting point for me, so my choice would be the 2 TB maximum storage capacity.
The Studio offers two impressive 4K display options. If you need accurate color calibration or 120 Hz refresh, then the DreamColor display is the obvious choice. If you are a fan of touch displays (personally, I am not), then you will like the OLED multi-touch display.
This Studio G8 has a Core i9-11950H. The CPU is a great choice when budget is not an issue. Otherwise, consider dropping back one notch to the Core i7-11850H and putting that savings into faster graphics.
On the left are the security lock, a (can we start calling it a "legacy") USB-A port, and the audio jack
On the right you find power, 2 Thunderbolt 4 ports, miniDisplayPort, and an SD card reader
The choice of graphics is where the thin-and-light ZBook Studio excels. You have the choice between NVIDIA’s consumer and professional graphics. You also have a full range of performance options whether you go for GeForce RTX or NVIDIA RTX graphics.
If you are a creative professional, then the GPU is likely to be the most influential technology in your system. HP provides graphics options from NVIDIA T1200 up to NVIDIA RTX A5000. You can, quite literally, dial-up the performance you want from your Studio G8 by selecting the right GPU.
A Gaming Mobile Workstation?
With NVIDIA RTX and GeForce RTX graphics options, fast CPUs, and a 120 Hz DreamColor display, the same performance that creative professionals need for working hours makes for a good gaming rig after hours. The Omen RGB keyboard is a small extra push in that direction.
HP saw the merging of work life and personal life before the Covid pandemic hit. That melding of work and personal life accelerated in the last two years. The RGB keyboard makes perfect sense in this environment.
The ZBook Studio G8 has a Gamer's RGB keyboard. Does that make it a gaming workstation?
A Final Perspective
The “Studio” name implies the dream customer for this workstation: mobile creative professionals. The specs make it explicit. Extremely light and portable with options for the most powerful mobile graphics and processors available, the ZBook Studio G8 makes life easy for creative professionals.
If you need a mobile workstation that focuses on both mobility and power, the ZBook Studio G8 is an excellent choice.