Good news for all HP Zbook 14 users. It's been few years since I've been using World's first Ultrabook Workstation from HP. Have been fascinated by its performance, reliability. And now, even more performance "upgrades" by some driver updates. Of course it wouldn't go the same level performance as my new HP Zbook Studio G3, but, it delivers unexpected performance increases compare to today's computers/notebooks. And just as simple as this: it just gets faster.
AMD GRAPHICS STEROIDS: NEW DRIVERS
I'm really surprised that this Zbook 14 G1 could go faster, much faster, by just installing new graphics driver. Well, if it's just updates, it won't go this fast. However, the excitements went up significantly since AMD had their strategy changed. They made big changes and had their graphics division managed under Radeon Technology group. And this, had made me personally, curious since few months back.
My first excitement was when AMD announced the Radeon ProRender, which is a free Rendering Application for several software, and which I use one: Rhinoceros. This is a great news for existing and potential AMD graphics customers which means that AMD is bringing more focus on their driver and software development to support their great products.
So, one simple thing for me to do is, to download their latest graphics driver. We can now use their special utility to detect the hardware inside our HP Workstation and it will automatically download the latest related driver to it. The special utililty application can be downloaded, here. Cut the words short, it downloaded the latest driver and the Zbook 14 integrated it into the HP Performance Advisor sofware automatically too.
What Are the New Offerings on the New Driver?
Once I launched the new AMD Firepro Settings, I was surprised that it was not just a new UI, it also some new features, enabling users to easily manage some existing features, as well as using new ones.
The UI is a brand new experience yet very easy to navigate. I even didn't have to look for HELP to read some references before using it. Each tab informs each function fairly well. The only thing that I wish for it is, that the tabs will stay on the upper section instead of automatically being moved to lower section after one tab is selected. It makes more mouse movements which reduces efficiency and focus for a moment. But, it's not a big deal after a while.
When selecting the Applications tab, it will show you a list of supported software on the screen, letting you know that the Firepro Settings could manage the detected application with unique settings each time the software is launched/opened. We could override the settings and even adding more undetected applications manually, in order to get the most performance out of the software-hardware settings combination.
There's also Video tab which provides plenty of presets on how you would like your video to be played on screen.
There are Display and Eyefinity tabs that would allow you to set how you work on multiple displays. This Zbook 14 G1, allows me to use maximum of 3 screens (including the built-in notebook screen) through AMD's Eyefinity feature.
This would display a thorough system information of my Zbook 14 hardware and AMD new Firepro software drivers.
What really surprised me are some new information, telling that the new driver has been enabling these features such as:
And the new driver tells that this AMD Firepro M4100 GPU supports both latest OpenGL and OpenCL as well. So I hope it explains the excitements I have with my g'old Zbook 14 G1, alongside with my new Zbook Studio G3.
After installing the new driver, the first thing I tried was to display and interact with my existing YF-23 parkjet design to feel whether any difference occured. By all surprises, I noticed significant improvements on framerates when displaying the YF-23 solid model on a turntable view. Interacting with the objects while doing interactive viewing were much smoother and I felt the performance increase on it. The update is definitely a go, for any HP Mobile Workstation or Personal Workstation users, using Firepro graphics series. I may wanna try the new driver on my old V7900 as well later on, but not having any exact schedule yet.
A video from AMD, explaining general features of AMD Firepro on several industries in the world.
AMD has done a great job in expanding the support through having more focus on their software development. This had been the main concern from the customers' end for years. However, if AMD is keeping on the movements continuing the good changes they have made, there will be many professional customers getting the right hardware as well as the good software support from AMD. I just can't wait to get my hands on their new Radeon Pro WX cards.
Bimo Adi Prakoso, founder of Sentra Grafika Kompumedia, is an engineering-animation-broadcast industry professional and workstation evangelist. He's been in the Workstation industry since 1996, the era of SGI.