#2 The HP Elitebook 745 G3 (Carrizo, PRO A12-8800B)

The Carrizo Elitebook 745 G3 looks practically identical to the Kaveri based 745 G2, so there’s no need to cover the visuals again, but the internals here cause a lot of talking points.

HP Elitebook 745 G3 (Carrizo) Specifications
Size and Resolution 14-inch, 2560x1440 IPS
Processor AMD PRO A12-8800B
Dual module, 4 threads
2.1 GHz Base Frequency
3.4 GHz Turbo Frequency
Graphics Integrated R7
512 Shader Cores
800 MHz maximum frequency
GCN 1.2
Memory 4 GB in Single Channel Operation
1 x 4GB at DDR3L-1600 C11
2 SO-DIMM Slots
Storage 128GB SSD
Battery Size 45.76 Wh
3 cell Li-Po design, rated to 8.5 hours
WiFi Broadcom Broadcom BCM943228Z
802.11ac 2x2
Optical Drive No
Dimensions 13.3 x 9.3 x 0.74 in (non-touch)
13.3 x 9.3 x 0.80 in (touch)
Weight 3.41 lb (non-touch)
3.76 lb (touch)
Webcam 1280x720
Other Features Gigabit Ethernet
4 x USB 3.0
Smart Card Reader
Operating System Windows 8.1
Website Link link

The G3 is almost the top premium model Carrizo you can buy, coming in at nearly $1100 if you put up the cash for the top model, which includes as much memory and storage you can fit in. For our unit, it came in at a more modest $700 ($700 for the base model, this was more $1100), which is more in-line with what price point AMD originally expected the Carrizo platform to hit. This is the first notebook with AMD’s new A12 line of processors, with this one being the PRO A12-8800B. This is a 15W part running at a base frequency of 2.1 GHz with a turbo mode up to 3.4 GHz. Any mobile APU in the A12 category has a full complement of 512 streaming processors similar to the FX mobile parts or A10 desktop parts, and the A12 runs these at 800 MHz. Unfortunately this is slightly crippled by only having the equivalent of one memory module in play, a single 4GB DDR3L-1600 module. It is dual channel capable if another is installed.

One of the big plus points with this model is the display, in comparison to the dire one on the G2, but this probably explains the majority of the cost in this 745 G3. With a 2560x1440 IPS display running a high contrast ratio (1422), it did have the best display out of what we tested for this piece. This is matched by the Wi-Fi solution, which had Broadcom’s BCM943228Z module which is an 802.11ac module in the M.2 form factor. One of the general feelings I had from the engineers here is that laptop Wi-Fi will all migrate to M.2 eventually on the understanding of better power control and form factor.

G3 Specific Testing

The 2560x1440 display varied from 0.21 nits all the way up to 297, nearly reaching the 300 mark but resulting in a 1422 contrast ratio. The white point was high, marking it up at 6657K.

While the color accuracy calibration graph looks as if the red line is the one going off on its own, it is actually the red line that is most accurate – we’re expecting a straight line through (0,0), (32,32), (64,64) and so on and while the red line is below most of these points, it isn’t as low as the green or blue.

The CPU-Z outlay shows the new FP4 socket with Carrizo over Kaveri, as well as having the full 12 compute units with those 512 SPs in tow.

On the integrated graphics side, despite the R7 graphics in there, the important element is that memory bandwidth running at 12.8 GB/s due to the single channel memory in use. We can also see the GPU clock running at 200 MHz idle, lower than the Kaveri implementation, which has power benefits.

With the 745 G3 we were able to do a run down on our light battery test, as well as run through some charge numbers.

The Devices: #1 The HP Elitebook 745 G2 (Kaveri, A10 PRO-7350B) The Devices: #3 The Toshiba Satellite E45DW-C4210 (Carrizo, FX-8800P)
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  • MonkeyPaw - Friday, February 5, 2016 - link

    The cat cores exist to compete with Atom-level SOCs. Intel takes the Atom design from phones and tablets all the way up to Celeron and Pentium laptops. It makes some business sense due to low cost chips, but if the OEM puts them in a design and asks too much of the SOC, then there you have a bad experience. Such SOCs should not be found in anything bigger than a $300 11" notebook. For 13" and up, the bigger cores should be employed.
  • michael2k - Friday, February 5, 2016 - link

    The cat cores can't compete with Atom level SoC because they don't operate at low enough power levels (ie, 2W to 6W). The cat cores may have been designed to compete with Atom performance and Atom priced parts, but they were poorly suited for mobile designs at launch.
  • Intel999 - Sunday, February 7, 2016 - link

    AMD hasn't updated the cat cores in over three years! It is a dead channel to them. They had a bit of a problem competing in the tablet market against a competitor that was willing to dump over $4 billion pushing inferior bay trail chips. Take a plane to China and you can still find a lot of those Bay Trail chips sitting in warehouses as once users had the misfortune of using tablets being run by them the reviews destroyed any chance that those tablets ever had at being sales successes.

    AMD was forced to stop funding R&D on cat cores as they were in no position to be selling them at negative $5.

    In the time that AMD has stopped development on the cat cores Intel has improved their low end offerings, but still not enough to compete with ARM offerings that have improved as well. And now tablets are dropping at similar rates to laptops so it is actually a good thing for AMD that they suspended research on the cat cores. Sorta dodged a bullet.

    At least they still get decent volume out of them through Sony and Microsoft gaming platforms.

  • testbug00 - Friday, February 5, 2016 - link

    If the cat cores didn't exist AMD likely would have died as we know it a few years ago
  • BillyONeal - Friday, February 5, 2016 - link

    The "cat cores" are why AMD is not yet bankrupt; it let them get design wins in the PS4 and XBox One which kept the company afloat.
  • mrdude - Friday, February 5, 2016 - link

    YoY Q4 earnings showed a 42% decline in revenue for computing and graphics with less than 2bn in revenue for full-year 2015 and $502m operating loss. You couldn't be more correct. The console wins aren't just keeping the company afloat, they practically define it entirely.
  • Lolimaster - Friday, February 5, 2016 - link

    In that case simply remove the OEM's altogether and sell it at AMD's store or selected physical/online stores.
  • TheinsanegamerN - Thursday, February 11, 2016 - link

    10/10 would pay for an "AMD" branded laptop that does APUs correctly.
  • Hrobertgar - Friday, February 5, 2016 - link

    Since you are talking about use experience, AMD is not the only company with a bad user experience. I purchased an Alienware 15" R2 laptop on cyber Monday and it is horrible, and support is horrible. I compare my user experience to a Commodore 64 using a Cassette drive - its that bad (I suspect you are old enough to appreciate cassette drives). It arrived in a non-bootable configuration. It cannot stream Netflix to my 2005 Sony over an HDMI cable unless I use Chrome - took Netflix help to solve that (I took a cell-phone pic of a single Edge browser straddling the two monitors - the native monitor half streaming video and the Sony half dark after passing over the hdmi cable. It only occurs with Netflix). On 50% of bootups it gives me a memory change error despite even the battery being screwed in. On 10% of bootups it fails to recognize the HDD. Once it refused to shutdown and required holding the power button for 10 secs. Lately it claims the power brick is incompatible on about 10% of bootups. Yes, I downloaded all latest drives, bios, chipset, etc. Customer Service has hanged up on me once, deleted my review once, and repeatedly asked for my service tag after I already gave it to them. Some of the Netflix issue is probably Micorsoft's issue - certainly MS App was an epic fail, but much of even that must be Dell's issue. I realize it is probably difficult to spot many of these things given the timeframe of the testing you do, and the Netflix issue in particular is bizarre. I am starting to think a Lenovo might not be so bad.
  • tynopik - Friday, February 5, 2016 - link

    "put of their hands"

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