RE­VIEW: PNY Pre­vail­pro P4000

A high-pow­ered mo­bile re­place­ment for a desk­top work­sta­tion that doesn’t com­pro­mise on ren­der­ing ca­pa­bil­ity

3D Artist - - CONTENT - Orestis Bas­tou­nis

Orestis Bas­tou­nis on this in­cred­i­bly pow­er­ful mo­bile work­sta­tion

PNY’S name res­onates among artists as the brand with sole rights to man­u­fac­ture Nvidia Quadro cards, although the firm has a strong ground­ing in other ar­eas, too. But it’s not as­so­ci­ated with lap­tops, which makes the Pre­vail­pro se­ries the first time you’ve seen a por­ta­ble PNY graph­ics work­sta­tion here.

What’s most ex­cit­ing about this range of high-end lap­tops is how PNY is us­ing its 3D ex­per­tise to of­fer the per­for­mance hard­ware it knows artists need for de­tailed work. There are three mod­els avail­able, all of which have spec­i­fi­ca­tions suit­able for artists need­ing some real ren­der­ing horse­power. Com­mon to all three is a 2.8GHZ (3.8GHZ boost) In­tel Core I7-7700HQ quad-core pro­ces­sor, but stor­age, mem­ory and graph­ics varies across the range.

The Pre­vail­pro P4000 has a whop­ping

£4,493 inc VAT sum at­tached to it. The weak pound and re­lent­less global de­mand for mem­ory means prices have shot up for some com­po­nents. It’s a lot, for sure, but whether 3D is a hobby or a pro­fes­sion, you’re prob­a­bly used to hard­ware costs not be­ing kind to your wal­let.

In de­sign, PNY has thank­fully avoided the trap of shov­ing all this hard­ware into a chas­sis that re­sem­bles a paving slab. It mea­sures 14.96” x 9.8” x 0.73”, weighs 2.18kg and there­fore is (rel­a­tively) thin and light for a 3D work­sta­tion.

It has a gen­er­ous ar­ray of ports as well – two USB-C and two USB 3.1 ports, HDMI 2.0 and two Dis­play­port 1.3 con­nec­tors, a 6-in-1 card reader, RJ45 and 3.5mm au­dio. If it de­serves any crit­i­cism, the Pre­vail­pro’s de­sign is some­what bland and generic. The chi­clet-style dark grey chas­sis and key­board is the same thing we’ve seen be­fore on hordes of other lap­tops. It’s not ugly, and doesn’t de­tract from the ex­pe­ri­ence, but it doesn’t stand out.

The spec­i­fi­ca­tion is one of the most high-end we’ve ever seen in a por­ta­ble ma­chine – it doesn’t just ‘do 3D’ but can chomp through ren­ders like a desk­top work­sta­tion. With a caveat, though. PNY is lim­ited to a quad-core mo­bile pro­ces­sor, while AMD and In­tel are now push­ing six, eight and more cores on the desk­top, and cru­cially, at more af­ford­able prices than they ever have be­fore. This means you sim­ply will not get the kind of ren­der­ing times out of some soft­ware that you could from a high-end desk­top sys­tem.

But the Nvidia Quadro P4000 (and P3000) are beastly graph­ics cards. The P4000 has 8GB of ded­i­cated GDDR5 mem­ory and 1792 shaders, with the up­graded Max Q model used by PNY of­fer­ing 192.3Gb/sec of mem­ory band­width and higher clock speeds than the stan­dard model. The Pre­vail­pro’s Cinebench Opengl re­sults raced ahead of MSI’S P3000-pow­ered WS63 by 30 per cent with Specview­perf re­sults show­ing gains across the board, with a Maya score of 76.82. No­tably, these scores power ahead of the re­sult from AMD’S WX7100 desk­top card. Opencl per­for­mance is equally im­pres­sive – 15,419 points in Lux­mark’s Ball ren­der, with Ari­on­bench Cuda per­for­mance ren­der time of 3 mins 33 sec­onds, bested only by Nvidia’s more high-end desk­top P5000 and P6000 cards.

Great re­sults, but the Cinebench CPU score of 732 is dis­tinctly av­er­age, com­pa­ra­ble to other quad-core sys­tems. Worth not­ing is the Sam­sung PM961 SSD, get­ting 3138Mb/sec burst read speeds and 1599Mb/sec write.

The buy­ing de­ci­sion for 3D lap­tops has al­ways de­pended on price and per­for­mance, with ma­chines that can just about run 3D soft­ware ver­sus a sys­tem that can be used for real work. But once you start spend­ing megabucks, the al­ter­na­tive is to set­tle for a high-end desk­top in­stead; you lose the porta­bil­ity, but get a lot more ren­der­ing hard­ware for your money, par­tic­u­larly on the CPU front.

Wor­thy of note is the slim price dif­fer­ence be­tween the two lower tiers in this range – the P3000 model nets you twice the amount of mem­ory (32GB) and a 4K dis­play for less than £500 ex­tra: it’s the best value of the three.

But with all three sys­tems in the Pre­vail­pro se­ries, PNY is of­fer­ing ev­ery­thing you need for high-end 3D in a por­ta­ble chas­sis, in­clud­ing a high-res­o­lu­tion dis­play for 4K work­flows, which is fast be­com­ing a re­quire­ment. But with this level of 4K-ca­pa­ble ren­der­ing mus­cle un­der­neath it, it’s for more than just show.

PNY is of­fer­ing ev­ery­thing you need for high-end 3D in a por­ta­ble chas­sis

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