#1: The HP Elitebook 745 G2 (Kaveri, A10 PRO-7350B)

The Kaveri system chosen was selected as a pinnacle system – one of the best 19W Kaveri devices currently on sale. This is an A10 PRO-7350B system, which translates as a dual module/quad thread processor with a base frequency of 2.1 GHz and a turbo mode up to 3.3 GHz. The APU contains integrated ‘R6’ level graphics based on GCN 1.1, for 384 streaming processors at a frequency of 533 MHz. The 1600x900 TN display was certainly nothing to write home about, but unlike some other devices in this test it came with a 256GB SSD and is strangely enough the only device in our test with dual channel memory (2x4GB, DDR3-1600 C11). This memory aspect is one we’re going to revisit a fair bit as it explains a significant angle surrounding the binary decisions that AMD has to make in a platform.

HP Elitebook 745 G2 (Kaveri) Specifications
Size and Resolution 14-inch, 1600x900 TN
Processor AMD A10 PRO-7350B
Dual module, 4 threads
2.1 GHz Base Frequency
3.3 GHz Turbo Frequency
Graphics Integrated R6
384 Shader Cores
553 MHz maximum frequency
GCN 1.1
Memory 8 GB in Dual Channel Operation
2 x 4GB at DDR3L-1600 C11
2 SO-DIMM Slots
Storage 256GB SSD
Battery Size 50.27 Wh
3 cell Li-Po design, rated to 10.25 hours
WiFi Broadcom 802.11n 1x1
Optical Drive No
Dimensions 33.9 cm x 23.7 cm x 2.1 cm
Weight 1.7 kg
Webcam 1280x720
Other Features Gigabit Ethernet
4 x USB 3.0
Smart Card Reader
Operating System Windows 8.1
Website Link link

The Wi-Fi on hand in the G2 was a single stream Broadcom 802.11n solution, which is broadly disappointing. A remark I will probably make several times in this piece is that if I can get 2x2 802.11ac on a sub-$150 motherboard, why is it not in a laptop >$600? A positive on the battery life side is that the G2 had the biggest battery out of all the devices we tested, coming in at 50.274 Wh, although unfortunately our battery life test failed and we ran out of time to run another.

As for the device itself, the HP Elitebook line is typically focused on premium business customers, and comes in as one of the more stylish elements this field, relying on an aluminium clamshell and a polished design to set the tone. HP is one of AMD’s top tier partners for laptops, which is in itself somewhat surprising perhaps, but most of their business is in the professional line. This means features such as a VGA port and a fingerprint sensor come standard.

It certainly does not look out of place in any meeting room or on a flight. The bezel around the display is noticeable but not too large, with a 720p webcam at the top.

On the sides we get a total of four USB 3.0 ports, and a DisplayPort to compliment the VGA. To fit with some business use, the smart card reader is on the left, as well as the docking port on the right hand side between the circular power cable and the Ethernet port. The Ethernet port is interesting, given that in the ‘thin is best’ mantra for laptops an Ethernet port is quite bulky, so many devices eschew them all together and provide a USB-to-Ethernet adaptor. But instead we have an expanding Ethernet port which makes room for the RJ-45 connector. It saves having to remember another cable in the work bag.

Mouse movement comes from both a trackpad and a nub in the center of the keyboard, with each having a mix and match set of left and right mouse buttons. Personally, using the trackpad during testing was a nightmare as it was not particularly responsive, requiring exertion and exaggeration to get the cursor to move, meaning for most of the time a mouse was plugged in anyway. Technically this G2 sample is actually an old one from stock, perhaps suggesting it has been ‘lightly used’. This is shown by the front of the device.

Even a bad camera can’t hide some scratches. Then again, a number of business devices are held in pouches to save from scrapes, perhaps belying the ‘we kept this in a stack of other laptops that could scratch it’ mantra.

The keyboard was a little different to what I am used to, with odd half-height up and down arrows as well as having the home/end and page up/down keys on the right hand side. There are a couple of immediate second function keys, including the Wi-Fi and Mute buttons on the top right next to the speaker (and also right next to the delete key). The power button on the top left is near the escape key, and in a week I hit it at least twice by accident.

The full aluminium design of the clamshell bodes well for cooling, although there is only a single vent on the left hand side for an exhaust. Depending on the power of the fan, and corresponding heat soak, performance may be temperature affected in the long run.

HP Elitebook 745 G2 Specific Testing

With i1Display Pro colorimeter on hand (sorry, we didn’t have a spectrophotometer for more accurate color measurements), the G2 display running at 1600x900 with a TN panel came very low on our scoring. The high brightness was low (267 nits), and the low brightness was high (1.69 nits), giving an overall contrast ratio of 157. On the plus side, one could argue that the white point, at 6476K, was pretty good.

The color displacement in the calibrated display showed blue was way, way off what it should have been. Both red and green at low settings were also off target, with green having the best default line.

Here is the A10 PRO APU, showing the 19W TDP in the Bald Eagle platform. Kaveri and Carrizo are still both on 28nm, and it’s worth noting that these chips do not have any L3 cache but a super-associative 16-way L2 cache to reduce cache misses.

The G2 graphics are integrated into the APU, showing here the link to DDR3 memory at 25.6 GB/s (that’s dual channel, DDR3-1600 C11) for 384 streaming processors. This falls under the Spectre code name, and is DX12_0 compatible with the right OS and drivers.

Who Controls User Experience: AMD’s Carrizo Tested The Devices: #2 The HP Elitebook 745 G3 (Carrizo, PRO A12-8800B)
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  • jakemonO - Wednesday, February 10, 2016 - link

    no A12 core parts for the test? I can't find the A10 part on the HP websiote, only A8 & A12
  • UtilityMax - Wednesday, February 10, 2016 - link

    After a decade of hype since the ATI acquisition, nothing has changed. AMD has a massive OEM problem. Moreover, laptops have been outselling desktops for like a decade, yet AMD if you look at the history of AMD, it's hard to believe they ever really cared about portables. The Kaveri parts didn't even show up, while the Carrizo notebooks are already botched technology as explained in the article..
  • gserli - Thursday, February 11, 2016 - link

    I have to say that the $400 to $700 notebooks on sale are garbage.
    The IGPs are not strong enough for casual gaming like LOL and CS GO.
    Crappy 5400RPM harddisk will make you want to throw the machine out of the window.
    If you really need that little bit more performance.
    Pay few hundred more. Or you can get a notebook that will hurt your arm if you carry it with one hand.

    AMD needs to be more aggressive. Talk to the OEMs and give them better offer.
    Convince them build a $700 notebook with 13 Inch 1080p IPS touch screen, 256GB SSD, 8GB RAM, A8 or A6 APU and below 1.5KG.
    A lower end $600 one would work with 1366*768 IPS touch screen, 128GB SSD, 4GB RAM and A6 APU, below 1.5KG.

    My $640 Asus TP300L is absolutely bullshit! I thought a mobile i5 would be enough for my daily use since I had a i5 desktop and was really satisfied with it.
    CPU performance is not a issue nowadays. The IGP is slow, but I didn't expect it to be fast(Although the one on desktop is way more powerful).
    The biggest problem is the GOD DAMN 5400RPM HARD DISK.
    Not only did it affect the boot up speed. Every action I performed is awfully slow when there are some OS things running in background.
    Only if I wait for 5 or 10 minutes after boot-up, then I can use it normally.

    Please, kill all the 5400RPM Hard disk. They should not be in 2016.
  • farmergann - Thursday, February 11, 2016 - link

    That's what I find so hilarious about all the Y700 6700hq lovers out there - all the CPU power in the world is relegated to potato status outside of b.s. benchmarks with that 5400rpm HDD. Save money with the FX8800p Y700 and buy an $80 250GB Samsung 850 Evo to slap in it...
  • wow&wow - Thursday, February 11, 2016 - link

    Will it be more appropriate to have "Additional" (Why not Update?) in the beginning, particularly the misleading pre-production stuff? Thanks for the article.
  • farmergann - Thursday, February 11, 2016 - link

    LOL, because the entire point of this article would be nullified. They didn't even bother comparing the FX8800p Y700 with the intels head to head outside of some DX9 garbage. Pitiful anandtech shills are pitiful. How many times did they mention Freesync? Yeah...
  • silverblue - Friday, February 12, 2016 - link

    To be fair, is there a point?
  • xrror - Thursday, February 11, 2016 - link

    "Some companies in the past have dealt with contra-revenue, selling processors at below cost or with deals on multiple parts when purchased together. Very few companies, typically ones with large market shares in other areas, have access to this. Some members of the industry also see it as not fighting fair, compared to actually just pricing the parts lower in the first place."

    I had to laugh so much as this. WHO COULD IT BE? MYSTERY!

    It must be... Cyrix ! no? hrm. I give up. =P
  • dustwalker13 - Saturday, February 13, 2016 - link

    still ... there is just no saving the bulldozer architecture, no matter how much they improve or iterate it.

    bulldozer and amd by proxy for normal users are synonyms for "just not as good as intel" and for a little more experienced users "that processor that cheated with its core count".

    the few people who actually read articles like the one above and compare performance/value represent literally no market share.

    the only way out for amd at this point is to create as much boom around their zen-cores as possible, get them out asap, hitch their little start to new buzzwords like hbm, old buzzwords like rage and hope they can actually deliver the performance figures needed in the first reviews to drive a wave of positive articles through the press. only then will they be able to get back into the market. i wish them the best, a surface 5 (non pro) with a low power zen apu on hbm sounds awsome ... i'd get one of those in a heartbeat.
  • yankeeDDL - Monday, February 15, 2016 - link

    I own a Toshiba P50D-C-104. I read with interest this article and, albeit extremely helpful and rich of information, left some questions open, at least as far a I'm concerned.
    First of all, the P50D-C-104 costs <$600 and has an A10-8700P. I find this price range more relevant for home-users and, in general, for somebody interested in AMD offering.
    1Kusd for a laptop with integrated GPU seems too expensive.
    The P50D-C-104 has 2 DIMM slots; couldn't find for sure whether it is dual channel or not.

    I am curios to know how it performs on some popular games against Intel's offering (at that price level, it would go against core i3, at best). In the page with comparison against Intel's offering there are almost only synthetic benchmarks: it would have been nice to compare on some actual games.

    My point is that in the $1K range, there are many features that could add cost while not necessarily improving performance.

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