Seems like a 15-inch thin and light workstation with an RTX A5000 and Core i9 would not need to be “pumped up”, however that is exactly what the ZBook team has done.

With an ever so slight bump in dimensions, the new 16-inch ZBook Studio G9 can pack a 16 GB RTX A5500 GPU, 12th Generation Core i9, 64 GB RAM, 4 TB NVme M.2 SSD storage, and a 16x10 3840x2400 DreamColor display.

And despite all that, the starting weight is lighter than the G8 model1.  

The bottom line? Top-of-the-line performance for the ZBook Studio G9

This G9 is equipped with the GeForce RTX 3070 Ti. That is the same level of GPU as the RTX A4500. The biggest difference is memory capacity: 8 GB vs 16 GB.

On benchmarks, the Studio and its 3070 tear up the town except for a few tests on Viewperf which benefit from professional RTX GPU optimizations. For video and special effects applications, the workstation cruises along at a fast clip.

Light, powerful, and a beautiful design - that's the HP ZBook Studio G9

What’s great about the G9?

The previous generation ZBook Studio was a graphics performance powerhouse. Even the biggest, fastest mobile workstation GPU found a home in the Studio G8. But there was a “but”. Internal limitations existed inside the ZBook Studio and the G8 model made trade-offs. These trade-offs included limited memory and SSD capacity.

Well, you can kiss that good-bye! The 16-inch G9 doubles memory and storage to 64 GB and 4 TB, respectively. The maximum GPU and CPU configuration has been refreshed to an RTX A5500 and Core i9-12900H.

If you need 128 GB of memory or 8 to 12 TB of SSD storage, then you will need to move up to the ZBook Fury. Otherwise, this thin and light Studio G9 is going to be your dream workstation. Check our review of the ZBook Fury G9 for the feature comparison table of the Studio and Fury G9 models.

The ZBook Studio G9 provides "legacy" support for USB-A ports

The ZBook Studio G9 provides "legacy" support for USB-A ports

The Studio G9 connectivity is quite good for a thin and light workstation. The right side has a security lock, one USB type A port, one USB type C port (Thunderbolt compatible, but USB- C spec), along with a microSD card reader.

The left side provides two Thunderbolt 4 ports, a headphone and microphone jack, and power input. When you open the system, you see the speakers to the right and left of the keyboard with large touchpad in front of it. Tucked in on the right side is an optional fingerprint reader.

The bottom has a large grid for cooling, so if you plan to work from the sofa (and who doesn’t?), then you will need a large flat surface on which to rest the ZBook Studio to assure effective cooling and to avoid toasting your legs.

The 16-inch display can be a bright, 120 Hz, IPS, 3840x2400 HP DreamColor display or a multi-touch, 3840x2400, OLED display. The test unit came with a FHD, 1920x1200 display.

I would find it difficult to choose a FHD display on such a beautiful mobile workstation, but HP does attempt to make these lower-res options attractive. Both are non-touch, IPS displays. One features 1000 nits and HP’s integrated privacy screen. The other is an anti-glare, 400 nits, low power display. 

The ZBook Studio is an “NVIDIA Studio” workstation with GeForce graphics

NVIDIA supports both GeForce and RTX GPUs for creative professionals with the NVIDIA Studio program. Their “Studio” drivers provide optimizations for a long list of creative applications including Davinci Resolve and Premiere Pro used in our testing.

The HP ZBook Studio G9 workstation is designed for all types of professionals including creative users in video editing, architectural visualization, 3D modeling and rendering, graphic design, photography, and broadcast – all part of the NVIDIA Studio program’s target clients.

In the office, a second display is a great match for the ZBook Studio G9

In the office, a second display is a great match for the ZBook Studio G9

This is dramatically displayed in the Viewperf 2020 results. Professional CAD data sets go to the RTX A3000 but application data sets like that for Maya where the GeForce RTX 3070 Ti delivers great results.

The GeForce RTX 3070 Ti (roughly equivalent to an RTX A4500) easily beats the RTX A3000 on the Viewperf 2020 test for Maya.

The RTX A3000 professional GPU beats the GeForce RTX 3070 Ti on multiple professional CAD data sets including Catia, Creo, and Siemens NX.  

OctaneBench 2020 is a pure NVIDIA CUDA rendering test. The GeForce RTX 3070 Ti, an 8 GB RTX A4500 equivalent, consistently delivers 20-25% better performance.

In application testing, the ZBook Studio’s 3070 Ti maintained a consistent performance edge in Premiere Pro.

The Davinci Resolve Neural Engine tests are GPU-centric performance tests. The ZBook Studio G9 leads by 8% to 20% in the tests.

A 20% performance gain on applications like DaVinci Resolve is more than impressive, it’s a smart-money-saver. With the AI support for editing and special effects, video exports become more time intensive. Increasing the GPU performance in the ZBook Studio impacts your budget, but the time-savings pays you back every day for the life of the workstation. 

The Configuration Choice

Which brings us to the heart of the matter: which configuration is the best for you?

The Studio G9 has a large touchpad. The keyboard is flanked by B&O speakers

The Studio G9 has a large touchpad. The keyboard is flanked by B&O speakers

Display: FHD or 4K? I can’t ever recommend FHD despite the targeted features HP built in to their 1920x1200 models. The only real choice is between the 4K displays, namely: DreamColor for color accurate workflows or OLED with multi-touch.

Storage: if your work falls into the creative space that HP targets with the ZBook Studio, then chances are good that you work with a significant quantity of media. On the Studio G8, it felt like the 2 TB storage limit might be one of the main pain-points for many users. For this Studio G9, it seems like 4 TB of SSD storage is an easy choice.

Memory: it is true that my application testing still fits comfortably in 32 GB of memory, that is because I run one application at a time. That is not a professional workflow scenario. Doubling the memory capacity from 32 GB on the G8 model to 64 GB on this G9 version is such a relief. Go for the 64 GB.

CPU: If cost is no object, then max out the CPU with the Core i9. If you are pushing the budget envelope, consider dropping back to a quick Core i7 and dropping the cost savings into your GPU.

GPU: Let’s be honest, you are buying a graphics workstation. Whether you are in design and engineering or a creative professional, your workflow is likely to be GPU-bound. If that is the case, then get the fastest GPU you can. If your creative applications are accelerated by the NVIDIA Studio drivers, then take a good look at the GeForce options. If your work needs the optimizations of the professional drivers, then stick to the RTX professional GPUs. If either case, it is worthwhile to get a GPU with enough memory for your applications. 

A Final Perspective

The ZBook Studio G9 grew its dimensions just a pinch but eliminated the memory & storage restrictions of the G8 model. We think that is a great trade-off.

Like the G8 model, the G9 version offers the top-of-the-line mobile GPU options. Taken together, this mobile workstation is not just thin and light, it’s unstoppable.

The pumped-up G9 generation ZBook Studio offers high-end desktop replacement performance in a portable package. If 64 GB of memory and 4 TB of SSD storage are “limitations” that you can live with, then crank up the GPU and CPU options to match your needs and enjoy highly mobile, high-performance computing in a thin and light workstation. 

HP ZBook Studio 16 G9 Data Sheet

1) starting weight:  G9 = 1.73 kg vs G8 = 1.79 kg

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