REVIEW: PNY Prevailpro P4000
A high-powered mobile replacement for a desktop workstation that doesn’t compromise on rendering capability
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