HP's ZBook G5 mobile workstations pack Radeon Pro WX3100 graphics

When I hear "mobile workstation" I don't think "thin and light." HP would like me to consider otherwise, though. The company just announced its fifth-generation ZBook mobile workstations, the 14u G5 and 15u G5, and it claims that these are the thinnest machines around that are fit for this role. Along with introducing fast Kaby Lake-R quad-core CPUs to the lineup, the new ZBooks also play host to the debut of AMD's Radeon Pro WX3100.

Specific details on exactly what the Radeon Pro WX3100 is are a little hard to come by, but AMD tells us it can crunch compute workloads at 1.07 TFLOPS and that it comes with 2 GB of GDDR5 memory on a 128-bit interface. That makes it pretty likely that the WX3100 is closely related to the desktop Radeon Pro WX3100, which is based on the same Polaris 12 chip found in the RX 550. That chip may not have world-beating gaming performance, but it should handle typical CAD workloads with aplomb. AMD specifically remarks that Solidworks and Autodesk Revit are quite quick on the new ZBooks.

Considering their use of discrete graphics, the 14u G5 and 15u G5 are remarkably svelte. The 14u G5 uses a 14" display, is a hair under 0.7" (18mm) thick, and comes in at 3.3 lbs (1.5 kg). Its larger sibling uses a 15" display, is 0.74" (18.9mm) thick, and only slightly heavier at 3.9 lbs (1.8 kg). Both laptops have a variety of display options, including IPS panels with 1920x1080 and 3840x2160 resolutions. They can be had with Core i5 and i7 processors from the Kaby Lake-R family, and configured with up to 32 GB of dual-channel DDR4-2400 memory.

One way that HP may have shaved thickness off the new ZBooks is by omitting a 2.5" drive bay; these machines are M.2-only. While you can buy one with a 512GB M.2 SATA drive, HP insists that users will prefer an "HP Z Turbo Drive" NVMe SSD. Those go up to 1 TB in capacity. Also, despite the ultra-light nature of these machines, they still keep their old-school Ethernet jacks. Both that connection and the built-in 2x2 802.11ac Wi-Fi are powered by Intel chips. HP will sell you a ZBook G5 with an LTE modem or NFC module if you'd like, too.

HP's new mobile workstations connect to the outside world with two USB 3.0 ports, a Thunderbolt 3 connector, an HDMI port, a 3.5-mm combo audio jack, and the aforementioned Ethernet port. A smart card reader comes standard, as does a UHS-II-capable SD card reader. There's also a proprietary connector for a side docking station. Both models integrate a 720p webcam, and HP takes a page from Lenovo's book by offering a physical cover that users can slide to obscure the camera's view in case their systems get compromised.

If these sound like exactly the workstations you want to outfit your corporate fleet with, HP says you'll be able to start ordering them later this month. The ZBook 14u G5 will start at $1099, while the slightly-larger 15u G5 will begin at $1109.

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