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Round-up: Lenovo, Dell and HP’s 2020 mobile workstations

Monday, June 22nd, 2020 | Posted by Jim Thacker

 
The major players in the studio workstation market, Dell, HP and Lenovo, have unveiled their latest Precision, ZBook and ThinkPad mobile workstations for DCC and CAD artists.

The new models, announced over the past two months, and shipping between now and August, are all based on Intel’s tenth-generation Core and Xeon CPUs and Nvidia’s Quadro GPUs.

They include what their manufacturers claim to be the “world’s most powerful 15-inch and 17-inch mobile workstations” and the “world’s most powerful mobile workstation per cubic centimetre”.

Compare Dell, HP and Lenovo’s 2020 mobile systems for professional graphics work
Below, we’ve extracted the key specs from the firms’ data sheets, so that you can compare them at a glance.

The configuration of each new model is flexible, so in the tables below, ‘min’ refers to the minimum specification available: the cheapest entry-level system you can buy.

‘Max’ refers to the most powerful component available for that model. In each case, upgrading all of the components to the maximum would more than double the price over the base configuration.

However, despite the flexibility that provides, a lot of specs are common to all of the machines.

All three manufacturers are using Intel’s tenth-generation Core and Xeon CPUs and Nvidia’s Quadro GPUs exclusively: AMD processors don’t get a look in.

And as you would expect, all three specify current DDR4 system RAM, and ship the mobile workstations with a choice of either Windows 10 or various flavours of Linux pre-installed.

 

Lenovo mobile workstations
ThinkPad P1 Gen 3 ThinkPad P15v ThinkPad P15 ThinkPad P17
Size 15.6” 15.6” 15.6” 17.3”
Screen resolution FHD/4K FHD/4K FHD/4K FHD/4K
CPU family Core/Xeon Core/Xeon Core/Xeon Core/Xeon
Max CPU cores 8 8 8 8
Max GPU Quadro
T2000
Quadro
P620
Quadro
RTX 5000
Quadro
RTX 5000
Max GPU Memory 4GB 2GB 16GB 16GB
Max RAM 64GB 64GB 128GB 128GB
Max Storage 4TB 4TB 4TB 4TB
Dimensions 363 x 246 x 18mm 367 x 250 x 23mm 375 x 252 x 29mm 416 x 281 x 30mm
Min Weight 1.70kg 2.07kg 2.74kg 3.49kg
Min Price $2,019 $1,349 $1,979 $2,119
Release date July 2020 July 2020 July 2020 July 2020

 
Lenovo: ‘follow-ons’ to last year’s powerful ThinkPads
Lenovo attracted a lot of attention last year with the ThinkPad P53, which it billed as “the world’s most powerful 15-inch mobile workstation”.

This year’s new models, the ThinkPad P15 and ThinkPad P17, are an iteration on that template, rather than a replacement to it, being described as “follow-ons” to the P53 and its 17-inch counterpart, the P73.

As with their predecessors, the high-end configurations for each feature 4K UHD touch displays, Quadro RTX 5000 GPUs, and current-gen Intel CPUs with up to eight cores.

The main change this time round is to the design of the CPU cooling system, with the new models promising “13% more air flow [and] a 30 percent larger CPU heat sink”.

The improved cooling is used by Lenovo’s new Ultra Performance Mode, which “relaxes restrictions on acoustics and temperature” to maximise performance during processor-intensive tasks like rendering.

In addition, Lenovo has updated its lightweight 15-inch model, the ThinkPad P1, and introduced a new entry-level professional 15-inch system, the ThinkPad P15v.

 

Dell mobile workstations
Precision 3550 Precision 3551 Precision 5550 Precision 5750 Precision 7550 Precision 7750
Size 15.6” 15.6” 15.6” 17.3” 15.6” 17.3”
Screen resolution HD/FHD HD/FHD FHD/4K FHD/4K FHD/4K FHD/4K
CPU family Core Core/Xeon Core/Xeon Core/Xeon Core/Xeon Core/Xeon
Max CPU cores 6 8 8 8 8 8
Max GPU Quadro
P520
Quadro
P620
Quadro
T2000
Quadro
RTX 3000
Quadro
RTX 5000
Quadro
RTX 5000
Max GPU Memory 2GB 2GB 4GB 6GB 16GB 16GB
Max RAM 32GB 64GB 64GB 64GB 128GB 128GB
Max Storage 2TB 2TB 2TB 4TB 6TB 8TB
Dimensions 359 x 236 x 12mm 359 x 236 x 25mm 344 x 230 x 12mm 375 x 248 x 13mm 360 x 242 x 27mm 400 x 264 x 29mm
Min Weight 1.86kg 1.89kg 1.84kg 2.13kg 2.49kg 3.12kg
Min Price $1,049 $939 $1,999 $2,399 $1,789 $1,999
Release date May 2020 May 2020 May 2020 June 2020 May 2020 May 2020

 
Dell: the world’s current most powerful mobile workstations?
Dell’s new Precision mobile workstations also span a range of price points and system specs.

At the top end, when they were unveiled last month, Dell claimed that its new Precision 7550 and 7750 were now the “world’s most powerful 15-inch and 17-inch mobile workstations”.

Although that preceded Lenovo’s latest announcement, the new machines do have similar specs to Lenovo’s models – a 4K UHD display, eight-core CPU, and Quadro RTX 5000 GPU – and more storage capacity.

At the opposite end of the scale, the new entry-level Precision 3550 and 3551 provide “workstation-class reliability and performance at an accessible price point”.

They seem to be targeted more at 2D CAD work than serious 3D: the base configurations feature integrated graphics rather than a discrete GPU, and a screen resolution of only 1,366 x 768px.

In the middle, the Precision 5550 and 5750 balance power and affordability: although the starting prices are actually higher than those of the new Precision 7000 models, the max specs don’t go as high.

 

HP mobile workstations
ZBook Firefly 14 G7 ZBook Firefly 15 G7 ZBook Studio G7
Size 14” 15.6” 15.6”
Screen resolution FHD/4K FHD/4K FHD/4K
CPU family Core Core Core/Xeon
Max CPU cores 6 6 8
Max GPU Quadro P520 Quadro P520 Quadro RTX 5000
Max GPU Memory 2GB 2GB 16GB
Max RAM 64GB 64GB 32GB
Max Storage 2TB 2TB 4TB
Dimensions 323 x 215 x 18mm 360 x 234 x 19mm 354 x 235 x 18mm
Min Weight 1.41kg 1.75kg 1.79kg
Min Price $1,099 $1,099 TBC
Release date August 2020 August 2020 August 2020

 
HP: power in smaller packages
In contrast, HP focused as much on ergonomics as performance when it unveiled its latest ZBooks.

Announced last month, the 14-inch ZBook Firefly 14 is billed as “the world’s smallest and lightest mobile workstation”, and the ZBook Firefly 15 as HP’s lightest ever 15-inch mobile workstation.

The ZBook Studio, unveiled in April, although not actually shipping until August, was billed as the “world’s most powerful mobile workstation per cubic centimetre” – an unusual spin on the tagline.

At just 354 x 235 x 18mm, its dimensions are certainly lower than even the slimline ThinkPad P1 Gen 3, although the ThinkPad comes in marginally lighter.

Interestingly, HP also pitched the ZBook Studio as “the world’s first mobile workstation with ocean-bound plastics” – although that just seems to mean that the speaker enclosure uses 5% recycled plastic.

 
Read Lenovo’s announcement of its 2020 ThinkPad mobile workstations

Read Dell’s announcement of its 2020 Precision mobile workstations

Read HP’s announcement of its 2020 ZBook mobile workstations

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