Mobile desktop-replacement workstations are shoulder-bag powerhouses. Traditionally, there have been a 15-inch model and a 17-inch model in this product category. HP ditched that idea creating a single 16-inch ZBook Fury G9 mobile workstation. The result looks great.

For several years, mobile technology has enabled workstation vendors to produce powerful, mobile workstations that make 90% of desktop users drool with desire. Perhaps, based on the fear of losing even one high-end customer, they would always create a 15-inch model and a 17-inch model.

Choice is a good thing, right? Well, maybe.

These workstations would typically have very similar, in fact nearly identical, technology options and features. How could that make sense in the most expensive, low-volume segment of the mobile workstation market?

HP shifted their desktop-replacement product to a single 16-inch model with all the options and even more pixels than their previous 17-inch model. That is a good move. 

The New 16-inch mobile workstation

Check the Quick Look article’s size and weight comparison table and decide for yourself. Now, when you need a high-performance mobile workstation, the choice is no longer between nearly identical 15-inch and 17-inch models, but rather between the heavyweight ZBook Fury or the powerfully mobile ZBook Studio G9.

The ZBook Fury G9 min/tested/max specifications are shown in the table. 

The ZBook Fury G9 moves to a single, 16-inch model

The ZBook Fury G9 moves to a single, 16-inch model

Testing includes Viewperf 2020 which isolates the GPU performance and tests performance on data sets from CAD, 3D modeling, and scientific applications. Octane Bench focuses on GPU computing performance. Application testing is done on Adobe and Blackmagic products which shows how you can balance the CPU/GPU combination to your advantage.

For comparison, the HP Fury G9 is compared to a similarly configured mobile workstation that I tested last year. That system used an NVIDIA RTX A3000 with 6 GB of graphics memory compared to the Fury’s 12 GB version. The CPU was an 11th generation Core i9 compared to our Fury’s 12th generation Core i7.

Let’s start with Viewperf 2020. 

ZBook Fury G9MinimumAs TestedMaximum
GPUIntel® UHD GraphicsNVIDIA RTX™ A3000 12GBNVIDIA RTX™ A5500 16GB
CPUIntel® Core i5-12600HXIntel® Core i7-12800HXIntel® Core i9-12950HX
Memory8 GB DDR5-4800 non-ECC SODIMM32 GB DDR5-4800 non-ECC SODIMM128 GB DDR5-4800 non-ECC SODIMM
Storage256 GB PCIe512 GB PCIe Gen4x4 M.212 TB PCIe Gen4x4 M.2
Display15.6 inch, FHD non-touch1920x1080 non-touch display16 inch, 3840x2400 OLED (Touch) or IPS display (non-touch)

The minimum spec is uninteresting. The “as tested” spec on the Fury can be exceeded in all categories by a ZBook Studio G9.

In my opinion, the ZBook Fury becomes interesting at the point where its capabilities, capacity, or performance rise above the ZBook Studio.

The maximum GPU and display options on the ZBook Studio G9 are the same as the Fury. Since the slimmer, lighter Studio weighs in at 1.78 kg compared to the Fury’s 2.66 kilos, you could opt for the ZBook Studio G9 in many cases and be more mobile.  

The ZBook Fury delivers up to 12 TB of SSD storage and 1#28 GB of system memory.

The ZBook Fury delivers up to 12 TB of SSD storage and 128 GB of system memory.

ZBook Fury vs ZBook StudioZBook Studio G9ZBook Fury G9As Tested
GPUNVIDIA RTX A5500 16GB NVIDIA RTX A5500 16GB 
CPUIntel® Core™ i9-12900H, 45WIntel® Core™ i9-12950HX, 55W
Memory64 GB DDR5-4800 non-ECC SODIMM128 GB DDR5-4800
Storage8 TB NVMe SSD12 GB NVMe storage
Display40.6 cm (16") diagonal, 4K WQUXGA (3840 x 2400), 120 Hz, IPS, anti-glare, 500 nits, 100% DCI-P3, HP DreamColor16 inch, 3840x2400 OLED (Touch) or IPS display (non-touch) DreamColor

If you need the slightly more muscular CPU with two extra cores and a higher power envelope, more than 64 GB of memory, more than 8 TB of SSD storage, a full keyboard with a number pad, or the extra connectivity, then the Fury G9 is your choice. This could be intense simulation, extreme machine learning, or rendering that is CPU-bound.

If not, then you’ll be delighted with the lighter, well-equipped, stylish ZBook Studio G9.

Usability

Once you plunk the Fury G9 down on your desk, you will see the extensive connectivity, the 3-button touchpad, and the full-size keyboard. These features are unique to the Fury G9 in the ZBook line.

This combination of features solves problems that mobile users often have. You can leave your various dongles and wireless mouse at home.  

The Tech – cooling is critical

The key tech in our tests includes the GPU / CPU combination. The cooling in the ZBook Fury G9 seems to be exceptional, too, as the test results found the system to be faster than a similar RTX A3000 mobile workstation I tested earlier. That adds extra value. 

The ZBook Fury G9 has every connector you could wantThe ZBook Fury G9 has every connector you could want

The ZBook Fury G9 has every connector you could want

Testing includes Viewperf 2020 which isolates the GPU performance and tests performance on data sets from CAD, 3D modeling, and scientific applications. Octane Bench focuses on GPU computing performance. Application testing is done on Adobe and Blackmagic products which shows how you can balance the CPU/GPU combination to your advantage.

For comparison, the HP Fury G9 is compared to a similarly configured mobile workstation that I tested last year. That system used an NVIDIA RTX A3000 with 6 GB of graphics memory compared to the Fury’s 12 GB version. The CPU was an 11th generation Core i9 compared to our Fury’s 12th generation Core i7.

Let’s start with Viewperf 2020. 

Across the board, the ZBook Fury performs 5% to 10% faster than our reference system and 25% faster on the 3DS Max data set.

Across the board, the ZBook Fury performs 5% to 10% faster than our reference system and 25% faster on the 3DS Max data set.

The HP Fury performs consistently higher than our reference system. The consistency is important because it shows no unexplainable differences. I analyzed why the Fury is faster than the reference system, and I’ll talk about that below.

Octane Bench measures CUDA computing performance

Octane Bench measures CUDA computing performance

Octane Bench is a pure CUDA test and as such it focuses on GPU performance. As with Viewperf, Octane Bench shows the Fury’s performance advantage over the reference system.

Video rendering tests are normalize to the video clip duration. Smaller numbers are faster.

Video rendering tests are normalize to the video clip duration. Smaller numbers are faster.

The tests in Premier Pro focus on video processing. The music video mixes multiple video streams and effects. The 4K video with color correction shows the Fury’s performance on the most fundamental video processing.

In DaVinci Resolve testing, the focus is on Blackmagic Designs' AI functions

In DaVinci Resolve testing, the focus is on Blackmagic Designs' AI functions

Like Premiere Pro, DaVinci Resolve’s purpose is video processing. It is well known for its color-grading and, via its “Fusion” functionality, Resolve also integrates Adobe’s After Effects special effects into a single program.

In the DaVinci Resolve tests here, the Wedding Heavy Styles tests uses color-grading functions to generate a highly stylized result. The other three tests all focus on DaVinci’s AI features in its Neural Engine.

As such, these tests measure the ZBook Fury’s ability to process AI and generate special effects. This is easily seen in the rendering results which, due to the heavy workload, render slower than real-time. 

Why is the ZBook Fury faster?

The key is in the performance of the RTX A3000. Looking at my monitoring data, I see that the ZBook Fury can run the RTX A3000 at higher power and faster clock speeds.

Techpowerup lists the RTX A3000 GPU “boosted” clock speed at 1560 MHZ and the memory clock speed at 1375 MHz. The reference workstation stays within these limits. Typically, the GPU power runs close to 45W and the board power around 60W.

The Fury, however, routinely runs the RTX A3000 GPU at 1700-1800 MHz and the memory at 1500 MHz – 1750 MHz. Likewise, when the workstation is loaded, the GPU power runs at 60W and the board power stays close to 90W.  

The ZBook Fury G9 is a completely new design.

The ZBook Fury G9 is a completely new design.

Interestingly, when idling, the reference system clock speeds were 1230 MHz for the GPU and 1375 for the memory. On the HP Fury, the GPU clock speed dropped to 210 MHz and 101 MHz for the memory clock. This latter point could simply result from improvements in NVIDIA’s power management, or it could be specific to the Fury’s power management. I suspect the former.

The clock speed differences are a measurable result that justifies the Fury’s higher performance. What is not as clear is how HP is able to do this. One possibility is that HP has optimized the thermal design to handle higher speeds. Another possibility is that the workstation simply has excess thermal cooling capacity since the maximum configuration includes a much larger, faster, and hotter RTX A5500 GPU.

Up to this point, none of the tests exceeded the reference systems 6 GB of graphics memory. This final test from Premiere Pro does.

It is a 4K video with three 4K video streams that have several effects applied to each stream. On the reference system, the 6GB RTX A3000 hits the memory limit and memory usage tops out just under 6GB. On the ZBook Fury’s 12GB RTX A3000, memory usage exceeds the 6GB mark.

The result is a performance delta that is much greater than a difference which could be attributed to the higher clock speeds of the Fury’s GPU. Clearly, more graphics memory makes a difference on this test. 

In this Premiere Pro test, the graphics memory requirement exceeds the 6 GB of graphics memory available in the reference system

In this Premiere Pro test, the graphics memory requirement exceeds the 6 GB of graphics memory available in the reference system

The take-away is that this Fury GPU configuration performs at the high end of the expected range. The ZBook Fury’s design allows for a higher power envelope and higher clocks.

Since performance is higher across a range of tests, this appears to be the secret behind the ZBook Fury’s higher performance for this class of GPU technology.

On my test in which the 6GB graphics memory is exceeded, the ZBook Fury’s 12 GB of graphics memory significantly boosts performance. In all of these tests, the GPU provides better price / performance than the CPU. If this fits your workloads, too, then you can shift your budget from the CPU to the GPU in order to push up performance at a similar price.


A Final Perspective

HP merged two desktop replacement workstation configurations into a single system. That is a great move.

HP cranks up the GPU clocks and squeezes more performance out of this mobile powerhouse. That provides extra value for customers.

It delivers exceptional connectivity and high-performance technology in a compact package. To be brief, the ZBook Fury G9 is everything a desktop-replacement mobile workstation should be. 

The new 16-inch ZBook Fury G9 combined spec sheet

The new 16-inch ZBook Fury G9 combined spec sheet

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