To get the kind of 3D performance on offer in this 15-inch from German firm Schenker you’d normally have to invest in a hefty 17-inch machine.
15-inch models from the major manufacturers max out at the Quadro K2100M, but Schenker’s W503 takes the GPU up a notch to a Quadro K3100M.
In SolidWorks and Creo this extra GPU horsepower is reflected in some elevated benchmark scores. In the real world it means you’ll be able to push up the quality settings in your real-time renderer and still maintain those all important frame rates.
The Intel Core i7-4700MQ CPU may not be the fastest, but the excellent 500GB Samsung 840 Evo SSD gives it a boost in our multithreaded CAM and rendering tests. Its ability to fetch data quickly means the CPU can get to work much earlier.
As a smaller manufacturer, Schenker is quick to respond to new tech and is already offering the Intel Core i7-4940MX (3.1GHz to 4.0GHz) CPU and 1TB Samsung 840 Evo SSDs in 2.5-inch and mSATA form factors.
Indeed, if high performance storage is your obsession, the W503 is well equipped. There’s space for a whopping 4TB thanks to two mSATAs (which can be striped or mirrored in RAID 0/1) and two 2.5-inch bays (one replaces the DVD).
The downside of having 17-inch class features in a 15-inch chassis is it does feel slightly chunkier than its peers and the power adapter is heavier.
From a design perspective, it’s also less refined, though the keyboard and touchpad are perfectly adequate.
The HD screen, despite boasting a 95% colour gamut, doesn’t excite out of the box like the HP ZBook 15 or Lenovo ThinkPad W540. Investing in a colour calibration tool might change this. But then one mustn’t forget that to get your hands on this 15-inch powerhouse will only set you back £1,531.
This review is part of a comprehensive buyer’s guide to mobile workstations.
Below are links to the rest of the content
Ultra mobile workstations (14-inch and 15-inch)
HP ZBook 14
Dell Precision M3800
» Intel Core i7-4700MQ (2.40GHz up to 3.4GHz) (4 cores, 8 threads)
» 16GB (2 x 8GB) SO-DIMM DDR3L RAM 1,600MHz Crucial
» NVIDIA Quadro K3100M (4GB GDDR5)
» 500GB Samsung 840 EVO SSD + DVD Multi recorder
» Graphics driver 327.41
» Screen 15.6″ FHD (1,920×1,080) 95% colour gamut panel
» Keyboard / Mouse Full size keyboard with numeric keypad Touch pad with multi-gesture and scrolling
» Battery 8-cell 77Wh Lithium Ion battery
» Wireless Intel Dual Band wireless -AC 7260 (with Bluetooth)
» Ports 2 x USB 3.0, 1 x USB 2.0 1 x eSATA/USB 3.0. RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet. Mini Firewire
» Expansion / security 9-in-1 memory card reader
» Display outputs Display Port, Mini DP, HDMi
» No dedicated docking port
» Size (W x D x H) 376 x 256 x 35-43mm
» Weight (machine + power adapter) Starting at 3.1kg = 1.05Kg
» Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
» 24 Month Collect & Return (inc parts, labour, support, shipping)
(secs – smaller is better)
CAM (Delcam PowerMill 2010) – (i) 179 (ii) 272 (iii) 375
CAE (SolidWorks 2010 Simulation) – N/A
Rendering (3ds Max Design 2011) – 238
(bigger is better)
CAD (SolidWorks 2013 – SPECapc graphics composite) – 5.30
CAD (Creo 2.0 – SPECapc graphics test) – 6.15
Intel Core i7-4700MQ (2.40GHz up to 3.4GHz) (4 cores, 8 threads)
16GB (2 x 8GB) SO-DIMM DDR3L RAM 1,600MHz Crucial
NVIDIA Quadro K3100M (4GB GDDR5)
500GB Samsung 840 EVO SSD + DVD Multi recorder
24 Month Collect & Return (inc parts, labour, support, shipping)