AMD Ryzen 5 2500U Raven Ridge Benchmarks Revisited: HP Envy x360 15z SSD Update

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HP Envy x360 And AMD Ryzen 5 2500U Performance With An NVMe SSD Upgrade

When we launched our early preview look at AMD Ryzen Mobile performance with the new HP Envy x360 15z laptop last week, we expected it would pull in a few eyeballs. Our benchmark results were likely some of the first anyone had seen that showed what AMD's Ryzen core CPU architecture, coupled with its Radeon RX Vega GPU on the same piece of silicon, could do versus a plethora of Intel 7th and 8th Gen Core series laptops. We wanted to paint a detailed picture of its performance characteristics across various workloads and answer a few other questions a long the way regarding other aspects, like battery life. But in the end, we were left with a few questions as well, after testing the model we picked up at retail, as it was configured "out-of-the-box."

HP Envy x360 With AMD Ryzen Mobile
As it turned out, the only model of HP Envy x360 with Ryzen Mobile that we could get our hands on at the time, was equipped with a pokey spinning hard drive. So we focused our testing specifically on benchmarks that were not storage subsystem sensitive, in an effort to level the playing field the best we could. It's the nature of the beast testing laptops; there are many variables at play between model families and OEM brands. Regardless, naturally, folks wanted to know how AMD's Ryzen Mobile platform would perform when configured with a fast PCI Express NVMe Solid State Drive (as did we). What sort of general performance improvements would be realized? How would this model of HP laptop perform in terms of battery life with an SSD upgrade? These were all valid questions, especially since HP does offer a PCIe SSD upgrade option in the Envy x360's configuration list. 

Though we didn't relish the requirement to pull torx screws and get out the spudger to pry open this AMD Ryzen 5 2500U-powered oyster, for our readers we'd do almost anything. So that's what we did. Eat your heart out iFixit. 

HP Envy x360 bottom removed SSD upgrade
Upgrading HP's Envy x360 With Ryzen Mobile To A Samsung 960 EVO NVMe 500GB SSD

Though it's not for the faint of heart, the disassembly process with this machine is fairly straightforward, once you discover the screws that are located underneath the rear skid strip on the bottom of the machine. The three front-edge torx screws are just begging for extraction, but the four remaining phillips head screws are hiding underneath adhesive stripping and rubber. The rest is careful pry work with the all mighty thin, plastic spudger; god bless its little heart.

HP Envy x360 m2 SSD upgrade
HP Envy x360 m2 SSD installed SODIMM sockets
HP Envy x360 With AMD Ryzen 5 2500U - SODIMMs And M.2 SSD Sockets

And there's a sight you're probably happy to see. Underneath a thin metal shroud are two SODIMM sockets right next to the PCIe M.2 socket. This machine is configured in 8GB (2x4GB) of RAM consisting of a pair of DDR4-2400MHz sticks. You could easily upgrade to 16GB if you like. Once the M.2 gumstick NVMe SSD is installed, there are a few settings to fiddle with in the BIOS to change boot order, which requires temporarily disabling Secure Boot, but from there it's all home free. You can just repurpose that slow spinning hard drive for bulk storage while the SSD handles you boot volume chores.

Now then, here's a quick recap of our system specs, then let's get on with it...

HP Envy x360 15z With Ryzen Mobile
Specifications & Features
Processor AMD Ryzen 5 2500U (4C/8T, 6MB cache, 3.6GHz Boost) w/ Radeon Vega 8 Graphics
Display
15.6" diagonal FHD UWVA micro-edge WLED-backlit multitouch (1920 x 1080)
Graphics Radeon Vega 8 Graphics
Memory
8 GB DDR4-2400 SDRAM (2 x 4 GB), Up to 16GB Available
Storage
1 TB 7200 RPM SATA HDD, NVMe PCIe SSD options available
**Upgraded in-house to Samsung 960 EVO 500GB (Intel SSDs can be ordered with this model)
WiFi
802.11ac (2x2) Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.2 Combo
External I/O Ports 1 USB 3.1 Type-C Gen 1 (Data Transfer up to 5 Gb/s, DP1.4, HP Sleep and Charge); 2 USB 3.1 Gen 1 (1 HP Sleep and Charge); 1 HDMI v2.0b; 1 headphone/microphone combo
Webcam
HP Wide Vision FHD IR Camera with Dual array digital microphone
Operating System
Windows 10 Home 64-Bit
Battery 3-cell, 55.8 Wh Lithium-ion prismatic Battery
Dimensions 14.16 x 9.8 x 0.77 inches
Weight
4.75 pounds
Warranty
1 Year Limited Hardware Warranty, 90 day phone support
Pricing Starting at $729 And As Tested With HDD

Feel free to cross check with our original coverage of the HP Envy x360 with AMD Ryzen Mobile, but we've also pulled those original hard drive-powered numbers in here as a reference point. Take note that we actually mirrored the hard drive volume image over to the SSD so we had an identical OS installation. The only difference is that we installed the Samsung NVMe driver to for use with the Samsung SSD in its series of tests. In any event, the results may surprise you. 

PCMark 10 Testing With AMD Ryzen 5 2500U

We stayed away from Futuremark's PCMark suite on our first outing with the Ryzen 5 2500U-powered HP Envy x360, because many of its tests are affected by storage subsystem performance. Virtually all of our comparison data for other machines was captured on SSDs, while this new budget HP laptop would be at a disadvantage with its HDD. However, this time around, we've fired up both the Samsung 960 EVO-equipped Ryzen Mobile-powered Envy x360 config, as well as the original HDD-equipped setup for comparison in the latest version of PCMark. 

PCMark 10 has been updated for Windows 10 with new workloads that cover a more current swath of various desktop and laptop usage models. The Essentials module encompasses every day computing workloads for mainstream users, like web browsing, video conferencing and application loading. The Productivity module, as you might guess, employs office productivity tools from the LibreOffice suite, for tasks like word processing and spreadsheets. The Digital Content Creation suite engages tests machines with photo editing (utilizing GIMP), video editing, vizualization, and rendering tasks. The DCC suite is by far the most CPU-intensive and is indicative of a workstation PC usage model. 

We've sorted the following results in order of the overall PCMark 10 score, which is graphed in the gray color bar below, along with the other individual tests in the entire benchmark suite. 

PCMark 10 AMD Ryzen 5 2500U Ryzen Mobile Benchmark

The test results here are interesting because they show a wide spread of scores between platform types and the various workloads. The AMD Ryzen Mobile-powered HP Envy x360 configs here stack up toward the bottom of our test group for overall PCMark scores but there are some clear strengths and a definitive win when it comes to Content Creation. In fact, the HP Envy x360 15z with AMD Ryzen 5 2500U beats out all the Intel powered machines, even 8th Gen processors, in the Digital Content Creation module (yellow bar). With the Samung 960 EVO on board, Ryzen Mobile chalks up the best DCC score topping 3K. Even hamstrung with a hard drive, the Ryzen Mobile-powered HP machine goes toe-to-toe with Intel 8th Gen Kaby Lake R.  Where things aren't as favorable for Ryzen Mobile are with lightly-threaded workloads in the Productivity and Essentials tests, where word processing, web browsing, and app loading favors Intel's strong single-threaded performance.

Geekbench 4 And Cinebench

Looking closer at more general purpose workloads and straight-up processing throughput, we have Geekbench 4 and Cinebench. Cinebench is a test that works both the CPU and GPU engines of the processors. It's developed by Maxon, which is better known for its Cinema 4D software employed in professional 3D rendering and animation. Geekbench is a cross-platform benchmark that pushes simulated workloads designed to mimic real world processing requirements for functions like image processing and particle physics. We tested both of Cinebench’s integrated benchmarks for CPU and GPU, along with Geekbench's Single-Core and Multi-Core CPU test workloads.

Geekbench 4 Ryzen Mobile Benchmarks3


Cinebench R15 Ryzen Mobile with SSD2

The first thing to note in both Cinebench and Geekbench 4 is that hard drive and NVMe SSD-powered processing results for Ryzen Mobile are very similar. And in reality, the SSD config of HP's Envy x360 with Ryzen Mobile actually comes in a hair behind the hard drive-enabled system. The delta was small, but consistently repeatable. Our hunch is that CPU utilization for the NVMe SSD is just a bit higher versus with the hard drive and since these are CPU-bound tests, the SSD's bandwidth and latency advantages basically goes to waste. We will say, however, that when you see how much more responsive and fast booting the HP Envy x360 is with an NVMe stick under its hood, you'd gladly give up a spare processing cycle or two in exchange for its responsiveness and much lower latency. And as you can see, AMD Ryzen Mobile still gives Intel's latest 8th Gen mobile chips a run for their money and obviously smokes 7th Gen dual-core Intel CPUs.

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