Okay guys, today we have a machine that we simply cannot joke about. If you are in desperate need of a mobile workstation with extreme performance onboard and you don’t want to hear about no desktop computers – you, friend, are at the right place. Forget everything about Dell’s XPS series, ASUS’ latest ROG laptops or even the ThinkPad series, because now we are getting serious.

The ZBook 17 G6 that we have with us is equipped with the eight-core Core i9-9880H processor from Intel, while the manufacturer also offers it with the Xeon E 2286M. Yes, we have already seen Core i9-9880H on some laptops (pretty thin in fact). However, you won’t see a Quadro RTX 5000 on every notebook out there. Sadly, we were only able to get our hands on an RTX 3000 model, but you will be impressed with its performance. Moreover, there are the options for ECC memory, a 4K panel and more. Not to mention the mandatory security software features of the high-end business HP laptops.

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/hp-zbook-17-g6/

Contents


Specs Sheet

HP ZBook 17 G6 – Specs


Dimensions


416 x 288 x 33 mm (16.38″ x 11.34″ x 1.30″)

Ports and connectivity

  • 2x USB Type-C 3.1 (3.1 Gen 2), Thunderbolt 3, DisplayPort
  • 1x USB Type-A 3.0 (3.1 Gen 1), Sleep and Charge
  • 2x USB Type-A 3.0 (3.1 Gen 1)
  • HDMI 2.0
  • Displayport mini
  • Wi-Fi 802.11ac
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • Audio jack 3.5 mm combo
  • Smart Card Reader

Features

  • Fingerprint reader
  • Web camera Full HD
  • Backlit keyboard
  • Microphone
  • Speakers 2x Stereo Speakers, Bang & Olufsen
  • Optical drive
  • Security Lock slot

What’s in the box?

We have to note that the packaging this laptop came in was pretty heavy. Inside the box we found two sections – the first one comprises the laptop and all of its protection and stuff, while the other represents a box, which contains the 200W power brick, some paper manuals, as well as an original Windows 10 Pro copy and a drivers disk, and a tray for using the optical drive as a SATA drive expansion.

Design and construction

This behemoth is a mix of metal and plastic all around. In order to house all of the killer hardware, you need a lot (and we mean A LOT) of space inside. So the new 2019-style clamshells won’t do the job. You need a proper space – 33 mm thick for example. In addition to that, the laptop weighs 3.20 kg, which is actually not that much, given the footprint of the device.

Expectedly, you can open the lid with a single hand fairly easily. Its display has pretty thick bezels. On the bright side, the top one is home to the camera and the duo of IR face recognition sensors.

Then, at the base, you can find the speakers, which are hidden beneath the rather long grill above the keyboard. They have a Bang and Olufsen branding, so one should expect pretty nice quality sound. Further below, there is the spill-resistant, backlit keyboard, which looks pretty standard. On the downside, the arrow keys have a weird layout, which could have been improved, given the amount of space, HP had at their disposal.

Nevertheless, the keyboard is very comfortable to use with its good key travel and clicky feedback. Obviously, it features a nipple, that deforms the “G”, “H” and “B” keys. It also has its own dedicated keys above the touchpad, which on the other side (literally) has a set of buttons as well. We found the trackpad to be nimble and accurate, with its gliding being effortless, thanks to the glass finish. Additionally, there is an NFC antenna placed underneath the touchpad.

On the bottom side, you can only see ventilation grills. By the way, HP has retained the rarely seen nowadays service lid. With the flick of a switch, you have access to all of the upgradable features of this notebook.

Ports

In terms of the, I/O this laptop will certainly save you some money for a dock. On the left side, there is an RJ-45 connector, as well as three USB Type-A 3.1 (Gen. 1) ports (one of them can be used for charging a smartphone for example. Furthermore, there is an SD card slot and a Smart Card reader. Then on the right, you will see the charging plug, two USB Type-C Thunderbolt 3 connectors, a Mini DisplayPort, a full-sized HDMI connector, an audio combo jack, as well as an optical drive. By the way, inside the box, there is a tray for adding another SATA drive, in the place of the optical drive.

Disassembly, upgrade options and maintenance

As we mentioned, you only need to remove the service panel by moving the switch to the right. After that, you will be able to change almost everything you will possibly need. However, if you would like to do some repair on this machine, you have to take the entire bottom panel off. Sadly, we were not able to do it, because some of the screws were severely overtightened and we risked damaging the screws (and still not being able to remove them), so we backed off.

Nevertheless, we were able to find a representable image from HP, which shows the cooling setup of this laptop. Frankly, it looks pretty similar to the gaming laptops of the world, with the manufacturer using two rather big metal plates and two heat pipes. Moreover, the fans have quite the bulk, which ensures a good airflow.

Depending on the processor, you have the option of ECC memory and memory that goes up to 128GB. Additionally, there are two M.2 NVMe slots, as well as two SATA drive slots, one of which is unclocked when you remove the optical drive from the system.

Lastly, HP has included a pretty beefy battery inside this machine – 95.6Wh.

Display quality

Coming soon!

Drivers

You can get all drivers and utilities for the ZBook 17 G6 from HP’s official web page: https://support.hp.com/us-en/drivers/selfservice/hp-zbook-17-g6-mobile-workstation/22892902

Battery

Now, we conduct the battery tests with Windows Better performance setting turned on, screen brightness adjusted to 120 nits and all other programs turned off except for the one we are testing the notebook with. The battery we have onboard here is on the limit of air travel policies – 95.6 Wh.

CPU options

Going from low to high, the processor options with the ZBook 17 G6 go as follow Core i5-9300H/9400H (4c/8t), Core i7-9750H/9850H (6c/12t), Core i9-9880H (8c/16t), Xeon E 2286M (8c/16t).


GPU options

In addition to the vPro processors, the laptop comes in a wide variety of professional graphics cards – NVIDIA Quadro P1000 (4GB GDDR5), Quadro RTX 3000 (6GB GDDR6), Quadro RTX 4000 (8GB GDDR6), Quadro RTX 5000 (16GB GDDR6).


Gaming tests

rise-of-the-tomb-raider

Temperatures and comfort

Max CPU load

In this test we use 100% on the CPU cores, monitoring their frequencies and chip temperature. The first column shows a computer’s reaction to a short load (2-10 seconds), the second column simulates a serious task (between 15 and 30 seconds), and the third column is a good indicator of how good the laptop is for long loads such as video rendering.

Average core frequency (base frequency + X); CPU temp.

Intel Core i9-9880H (45W TDP) 0:02 – 0:10 sec 0:15 – 0:30 sec 10:00 – 15:00 min
HP ZBook 17 G6 3.56 GHz (B+55%) @ 89°C 2.86 GHz (B+24%) @ 76°C 2.77 GHz (B+20%) @ 79°C

We were impressed by the way HP ZBook 17 G6 handled the temperature of the eight-core Core i9-9880H. In the end, it finished the test at 79C, with a reasonable frequency. What is also important is the amount of noise we got from the fans – they were almost inaudible.

Real-life gaming

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 GPU frequency/ Core temp (after 2 min) GPU frequency/ Core temp (after 30 min)
HP ZBook 17 G6 1356 MHz @ 63°C 1306 MHz @ 71°C

GPU temperatures were well controlled throughout the entire test. While the fan was clearly audible, we didn’t found it too loud or obtrusive.

Comfort during full load

In addition to not being too loud, the laptop is not too hot on the outside, as well.

Verdict

You can hardly argue against a laptop such as the ZBook 17 G6. We mean, there are some obvious downsides to the machine, which can be ignored, simply because of the purpose of its build. First, at 3.20 kg it is not one of the heaviest we’ve tested, but standing at 33 mm height makes it one of the bulkiest devices of 2019.

And yet, we can easily forgive HP, because the performance of the laptop is the Bomb! In fact, the ZBook 17 G6 is one of the best performing laptops on the market out there. This possible thanks to its cooling solution. Especially the CPU performance. Not that, the GPU wasn’t performing good enough, it is just that the fans had to ramp up to a rather high, but not uncomfortable level when we put it under the stress of Rise of the Tomb Raider.

Additionally, the laptop has all of the certifications the Quadro line-up provides it, to run all kinds of 3D modeling software flawlessly and with good support behind it. By the way, if you are in the business, where you need all kinds of dongles to fit every peripheral… well, you can ditch these dongles or give it away to some unfortunate colleague that has a MacBook.

Sadly, there is some annoying coil whine you can easily hear from time to time. However, on the other side, you can (also easily) upgrade your machine’s memory or storage, even swap out batteries, as this device features a service lid panel. However, if you want to upgrade your graphics card, you need to remove the entire bottom plate.

What is more impressive about this laptop is its battery life. Guys, honestly, we were kind of expecting a good time on battery power, as the laptop is equipped with a 95.6Wh unit. However, the Core i9-9880H was expected to draw a lot more power than it did, so kudos to HP for the optimization. Speaking of numbers, we got more than 14 hours of Web browsing and more than 13 hours of video playback.

So, if we have to be fair, we would probably never go and buy this laptop for ourselves. But this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. In fact, if you are a VR developer, 3D designer, etc. we can encourage you to do so because this thing works.

Pros

  • Strong chassis
  • Workstation hardware with Quadro GPU inside
  • Supports RAID 0
  • Great battery life
  • I/O has everything you need + two Thunderbolt 3 ports
  • Easy to upgrade
  • Upgradable graphics card

Cons

  • High price
  • Not very portable

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/hp-zbook-17-g6/





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