Monday, November 6, 2017

HP 15-bw072ax AMD Notebook Review


In 2017, the 7th Generation APU "Bristol Ridge" line is getting rich in variants. First launched with six variants in 2016, APU 7th Generation "Bristol Ridge" is now getting two new members in the A12 Series with the A12 9720P and A10 Series with the A10 9620P. The A12 9720P variant is positioned between 9730P and 9700P, while the A10 9620P is positioned between 9630P and 9600P. A12 9720P itself offers a TDP rating like the 9700P but with a higher working speed, as well as the A10 9620P with 9600P.

Specification


HP 15-bw072ax in processor latest variant APU (Accelerated Processing Unit) 7th Generation is AMD A12 9720P. The APU has a TDP rating of 15 Watt so it falls into the power-saving category. APU 7th Generation consists of CPU unit based on Excavator architecture combined with GPU unit based on GCN architecture (Graphics Core Next) 3rd Generation. APU platform with Bristol Ridge codename is equipped with four processor cores with the ability to handle four computing processes at once in one way. AMD set the base clock speed of 2.7 GHz with Turbo Core clock speed of 3.6 GHz for A12 9720P. However, we found that the A12 9720P in the HP 15-bw072ax was able to achieve Turbo Core clock speed up to 3.7 GHz.

HP integrates APU A12 9720P with AMD Carrizo FCH chipset based motherboards.


HP 15-bw072ax equipped memory / RAM DDR4 with a capacity of 8 GB. HP uses DDR4 2400 MHz memory chips / RAM running at 1866 MHz due to the limitations of the APU itself. Quite unfortunate this laptop comes with a single memory chip / RAM alias still using single channel memory configuration. Fortunately HP 15-bw072ax provides two memory / RAM slots so users can add one more memory / RAM chip and dual channel memory configuration can run. This laptop supports memory capacity / RAM up to 16 GB and speed 1866 MHz. Upgrading memory / RAM configuration to dual channel is highly recommended considering the overall performance of the APU is usually directly proportional to the increase in system memory bandwidth.

The HP 15-bw072ax uses a one-storage configuration with HDD. Our testing unit uses Seagate-made storage with a capacity of 1 TB. Special, according to information from the Seagate website, the HDD with a speed of 5400 RPM round has a cache size of 128 MB. Large cache size makes more data accommodated especially for frequently accessed types. This makes data access by the system faster than having to look it again in the HDD chip.


HP 15-bw072ax equipped graphics processing unit with Dual Graphics configuration is Radeon 535DX. The Dual Graphics configuration is a blend of IGP Radeon R7 Graphics and Radeon M530 discrete graphics card. Radeon R7 Graphics on APU A12 9720P is equipped with 512 Stream Processor with GPU clock value up to 758 MHz and memory clock speed of 1866 MHz or in accordance with system memory speed. Meanwhile Radeon M530 is equipped with 384 Stream Processor with maximum boost clock GPU value of 1024 MHz and memory clock speed 2000 MHz (DDR3). In HP 15-bw072ax, users can choose to use Radeon 535DX when the Dual Graphics feature is active, Radeon M530 when Dual Graphics feature is disabled, or R7 Graphics by activating it through the Radeon Additional Setting menu.

Marine blue color for outer body and silver ash in the area around the keyboard success gives a different appearance on the HP 15-bw072ax. Laptop body is made of plastic material with crosshatch motif on all surfaces in blue. HP 15-bw072ax has a body size of 38 x 25.38 x 2.38 cm with a weight of 2.1 kg. It does not take too much space in the bag and is light enough to carry around.


The HP 15-bw072ax features a 15.6-inch screen with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels at 60 Hz refresh rate. With such size and resolution, the HP 15-bw072ax pixel density reaches 141 PPI. The HP 15-bw072ax screen itself uses a TN (Twisted Nematic) panel that is popularly used in economical laptops. Although not as powerful as the IPS panel for color accuracy and viewing angle, the HP 15-bw072ax display capability in color display is good for TN panel classes. The narrow viewing angle panel TN characteristics are also advantageous if they require more privacy. The surface of the HP 15-bw072ax screen also has a glossy surface that adds more comfort when used.


In the connectivity sector, on the left side of the HP 15-bw072ax can be found one RJ45 port (Gigabit Ethernet), one HDMI port, two Type-A USB 3.1 Gen 1 (5 Gbps) ports, and headphone microphone combo jack.


On the left side can be found also a DC-IN port with indicator lights and battery charging condition. HP puts hot air exhaust ventilation out of the laptop on the same side.


While on the right side can be found memory card reader slot and one USB 2.0 port. To the left of the memory card reader slot there is a condition indicator light on the system lights on / off / sleep / hibernate and storage component activity.

On the right side can be found also a security cable slot hole to secure the laptop.


HP 15-bw072ax includes an optical drive DVD Writer type.

15.6-inch laptops generally bring a full keyboard with numeric pad button is no exception HP 15-bw072ax. Each keyboard key, except the up-down and top-row arrow keys, has sufficient size for the user with large fingers though. Key keyboard feels soft when pressed with the response is quite good emphasis.


Touchpad has a touch area with a cut tree motif that matches the area around the keyboard. The touchpad component has a special button for left and right clicks.

The bottom surface of the HP 15-bw072ax with an air intake vent in the center.


The HP 15-bw072ax puts two speaker components on the front side, leading directly to the user. For the price offered, the resulting sound quality was quite good, even for listening to music though. Even when used the maximum volume of sound produced does not "break" and does not cause the body to vibrate.


The HP 15-bw072ax uses a removable battery with a capacity of 41.6 Wh.


HP 15-bw072ax power supply device with power supply up to 65 Watt.


Test Results - System Benchmark


PCMark 7 Creativity contains a set of tests to assess system performance in viewing, editing, transcoding, and storing photos and video files.

PCMark 7 Entertainment contains a set of tests to assess the performance of the system in recording, viewing, streaming, and transcoding television shows and movies. The performance of the system in importing, organizing, and browsing music files along with playing games are also tested here.

PCMark 7 Productivity contains a set of tests to assess system performance in loading wirsite pages and running home class office applications.

PCMark 7 Computation contains a set of tests to assess CPU and GPU computing performance.

PCMark7 Storage contains a set of tests to assess the performance of storage components on a system.

Battery Life

Setting: Windows Power Option - Balanced | Windows Brightness - 1/10 | Speaker Volume - 20% | Airplane Mode - On (Web Browsing & Charging)

Our battery life test shows the longest endurance of almost 4.5 hours in the scenario surfing the website continuously. Of course for non-continuous activity, by inserting a pause, the 15-bw072ax HP endurance should be longer. Overall battery life quite good although with such duration of the charger device should still be taken when the move all day outdoors.

Conclusion


In non-game testing scenarios, the A12 9720P seems capable of offsetting the performance of other power-efficient class processors like the Core i U Series. The presence of 8 GB of memory / RAM also makes this laptop has no constraints in dealing with modern applications that greedy memory.

Configuring dual-channel memory should improve the performance of the A12 9720P computing even further considering that APU is very fond of systems with large memory bandwidth. If HP 15-bw072ax comes with dual channel memory configuration, our test results will probably have other interesting stories. Even dual channel memory configuration will be more perfect when combined with the use of SSD storage that makes this laptop more responsive and agile when running a variety of applications. This laptop alone supports the use of 2.5-inch SSD or SSD M.2 by using a special adapter. The simplest way is to replace the main HDD with 2.5 inch SSD.

Meanwhile, for gaming performance, although the HP 15-bw072ax is not designed for the scenario, this laptop is still offering a capable ability. We still find games that can be played comfortably on this laptop by using Full HD resolution although the numbers may be limited. In general, games on HP 15-bw072ax fit on the run at a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels. The graphics quality setting can still rise to the Medium level without over-sacrificing the frame rate. Of course the performance of HP 15-bw072ax gaming will also be another story if using dual channel memory configuration.

For the gaming scenario, the HP 15-bw072ax offers three graphics card configurations: Dual Graphics - On, Dual Graphics - Off, and APU Only. From our test results, in the condition of Dual Graphics - Off graphics card used seems to be the Radeon M530. We also found interesting things where Dual Graphics - Off configuration sometimes produces balanced or faster performance than Dual Graphics - On. Conditions like this do not seem strange considering as with other multi-GPU configurations, optimizing the drivers and the game itself will determine whether the Dual Graphics configuration can be fully utilized or not. It is not impossible to find a game that does not recognize at all Dual Graphics configuration and can only take advantage of one of them. The Dual Graphics solution itself is currently not possible on DirectX 9 API-based games. For such game types, we recommend using the Dual Graphics - Off configuration.

Outside the performance sector is still working on even further, HP 15-bw072ax was still able to provide excellent features in this 7 millions laptop. Call it the use of high-resolution Full HD screen even though using TN panel. There is also an HDMI connector if you want to use a screen with better quality or require a larger work space with two screens. Speaker components are given who think if it has a good quality. The presence of two USB ports of 3.1 Gen 1 also make large data transfer can be done quickly. The keyboard feels quite comfortable to use when typing even when the laptop works at the highest workload, the button on the left area will warm up. Battery life is also quite good although the charger device still must be taken when outdoor activities. Fortunately the weight of the laptop + charger is not too heavy.

If you're looking for an AMD laptop with the Bristol Ridge APU base, the HP 15-bw072ax is one of the attractive options in the price range of 7 million rupiah. Configuring single channel memory and HDD does make the performance is still not perfect but there is still room to make it perform better. For the price class it may be difficult to find a laptop that directly include SSD in it. During the testing session, we did not find any odd problems or symptoms at all due to such configuration.

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