Two New ZBooks from HP Bring New AMD GPU's Power Anywhere
Andrew Wheeler posted on February 07, 2018 |

HP announced today that it will be releasing two new ZBooks that come with a new GPU from AMD: the Radeon Pro WX 3100.



HP ZBooks 14u and 15u. (Image courtesy of HP.)

HP ZBooks 14u and 15u with Radeon Pro 3100 WX GPUs. (Image courtesy of HP.)

Cost and Availability
  1. The HP ZBook 14u G5 will be available in February for USD 1099.
  2. The HP ZBook 15u G5 will be available in February for USD 1109.

The HP ZBook 14u G5 and 15u G5 mobile workstations with Radeon Pro WX 3100 GPUs are meant to provide designers and engineers with serious graphics power for running big CAD apps like SOLIDWORKS, Autodesk Revit and Siemens NX, which will be certified on these machines. 

There are extraneous options available, such as a 4K display, but more importantly there are two key features enabled by Radeon Pro-level graphics that will help on any job site: Order Independent Transparency (OIT) and occlusion culling.

Why is Order Independent Transparency (OIT) important?

If you're using the HP ZBook 14u G5 or 15u G5, there's no point in bringing it to a construction site or manufacturing operation if large files in heavy-duty applications like PTC Creo, SOLIDWORKS or Autodesk Revit aren't going to run well.  

OIT requires a powerful GPU to render 3D geometry with transparency, but it is more effective than the traditional blended mode. Usually, a method known as alpha composting blends each surface by rigidly sorting geometry in an ordered fashion (either from least to greatest, or greatest to least). 

OIT by contrast, does not need to render 3D geometry in an order, instead providing an accurate pixel-based representation of the model and its surrounding geometry. This gives users a transparent 3D viewpoint and allows them to move and see within a 3D model's geometry, which is helpful in making choices during stages of product development.

The Radeon Pro WX 3100 graphics card performs parallel processing, runs floating-point calculations at 1.25 TFLOPS, supports OpenCL 2.0, and is designed to boost the performance of major CAD/CAM/CAE applications. (Image courtesy of AMD.)
The Radeon Pro WX 3100 graphics card performs parallel processing, runs floating-point calculations at 1.25 TFLOPS, supports OpenCL 2.0, and is designed to boost the performance of major CAD/CAM/CAE applications. (Image courtesy of AMD.)

Why is occlusion culling important?

If someone is using the HP ZBook 14u G5 out in the field, being able to make changes to elements within a 3D model that are directly visible without changing those that are not are crucial to success and peace of mind. This ability to manipulate only what is in one's viewpoint without worrying about changes made to analogous elements is called occlusion culling. AMD worked with a few application vendors like Autodesk Revit to ensure that the Radeon Pro WX 3100 would help users only draw elements that are visible. 

In Autodesk Revit, "Draw Visible Elements Only" feature is enabled, users will be able to zoom, pan and orbit objects faster and more smoothly than when it is disabled. The GPU, not the CPU is responsible for processing calculations that enable this boost in performance. Of course, RAM always helps with these operations, and the new HP ZBooks have room for 32 GB to speed things up and enable the user to switch between multiple open projects as well.

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