HP ProBook 430 G5 Mini-Review
ProBook 430 G5, Core i5-8250U, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD (3KY85EA#ABD)
for EUR 761. The HP Probook 430 G5 has a lot of the features that I
What could be better:
- non-glare screen
- VGA and HDMI for connecting to an external display
- Ethernet and WLAN
- 2 USB-A and 1 USB-C connector, and an extra power connector
- relatively small (20mm x 326mm x 236mm, but not small enough for
the laptop confinement of my backpack, which houses a 11.6" Lenovo
model is just 10mm wider and 2 mm deeper, and currently the
same price, and may be preferable to many.
- As a consequence of that, no Numpad, and the alphabetic part of
the keyboard is not shifted to the left.
- 1920x1080 display (many of the projectors out there now support
- Available with 256 GB SSD and 8GB RAM at an ok price (and you
can install 8GB more if you don't want to pay the premium for the
version is available without OS at a lower price;
unfortunately, currently we only get the (outdated) Core
i5-7200U with that deal.
The BIOS (use F10 to enter, F9 for the boot selection) contains no
"enthusiast"-oriented options, but instead business-oriented options
(e.g., scheduled power-on, or saving the BIOS settings to and
restoring them from a USB stick), and also allows to disable the
camera and the microphone.
- It's not clear if the battery is replaceable at all.
- A smaller laptop (maybe a ProBook 420) would be nice:
Essentially, the keyboard determines the minimum size, and this
laptop is 30mm wider than the keyboard, and the keyboard has one
extra column that would be better left away (see below).
Unfortunately, the smaller laptops available these days lack
connectors, because the manufacturers also want to make them
- The keyboard has some cursor keys to the right, and in
particular the Pos1 (Home) key to the right of the Backspace key,
and I constantly hit Pos1 instead of Backspace. I can fix that by
telling the X Window System to produce Backspace for the Pos1 key,
but it's less than ideal.
- The touchpad lacks keys. I use an external mouse in most cases
anyway, but now that becomes pretty much the only option.
- The USB-A connectors require unusually much force to insert
devices (tested with two USB sticks and a USB mouse).
- It would be nice to have an option to get a US keyboard instead
of the German one in the model we can buy here.
- Comes without a proper manual. In particular, there is no
information on how to open the unit to replace RAM etc, not even
on the supplied CD. But there
interesting End-of-Life disassembly guide.
- It would be nice if we could buy this computer with a Ryzen5
2500U, but we don't get this option. However, there is the HP
ProBook 645 G4, which can be had with one of several Ryzen Pro
CPUs. There are also some other HP laptops with these CPUs
(starting at <EUR 400, but the HP
reported to have low performance because it is power-throttled
to 6W), if you don't care for VGA and HDMI.
We ran Ubuntu 17.04 and 16.04.3 from a USB stick, and tested
- VGA and HDMI worked fine with our projector. On first
connection, I was in the dual-screen mode, and then, with the
press of a keyboard button could cycle through mirror mode,
external-only, internal-only, and back into dual-screen. VGA
only gave me 1024x768 and 800x600 as options, but I have not
tested how much of that is due to the projector, how much due to
Ubuntu, and how much due to the laptop.
- Connecting the laptop to a 3840x2160 (4K) screen worked via
HDMI, with the screen reporting 30Hz frame rate.
- Sound worked, both the speakers (not that great, as usual), and the
- The keyboard has lighting, with the light shining through the
slits between keycaps and the base when I sit in my usual
position; not sure if I would really find that helpful in the
dark. When I sit closer, it works as intended.
- Suspend (to-RAM) works, by pressing the suspend key (closing
the lid does not do it). Resume works, by pressing the power
key; you can also set up the BIOS to start/resume the laptop on
opening the lid.
In our few tests of suspend, we had one case where the LAN
was not connected (and not working) after resume, and we found
no way to fix this except by doing another suspend and resume
(which fixed the problem).
- In about two hours of doing backups with Clonezilla (which
produces a full CPU load, in addition to SSD load, and USB load,
and the power draw of a 2.5" HD during one hour of
backuping; so overall quite a high load), the battery charge fell
by about 80%. Recharging was predicted to take 1.5h, and after
about 1h, the charge was at 89% (from 15%).
- Not (yet) tested: idle battery life, card reader, camera,
One interesting aspect was the clock frequencies of the CPU under
various loads, with mains power and when battery-powered (the BIOS
says that Turbo is disabled when on battery (that can be turned
off), but the results below contradict this). We generated load
with different numbers of
yes >/dev/null processes
(integer-only load), and found the following clock frequencies (with
some occasional funny results):
load mains battery
1 3400 3400
2 3000 3000
3 2700 2540
4 2400 2300
5 2300 2300
6 2200 2300
7 2200 2200
8 2100 2100
Note that the Core-8250U has 4 cores and 8 threads, so load 5-8
uses just hyperthreading on the same 4 cores.
The clock reaction to increasing or reducing the load was usually
within 1s, so it is probably power-target-based or load-based, not
temperature-based. We did these experiments for at least 10 minutes,
but the clock rates were apparently not affected by the temperature
buildup for this workload. The fan, which was off (or at least
inaudible) at idle did spin up after the load (even just load 1)
warmed the CPU up. Spinning up and down was gradual and not very
loud, so not as annoying as the fan on my Lenovo E130.
Another performance test was to perform 1000x1000 double-precision
matrix multiplication using libopenblas with varying numbers of
threads, performing 100 runs between stretches of idleness.
threads MHz GFlops
1 3084 25.8
2 3360 39.6
3 3227 43.8
4 3099 44.6
5 3066 40.0
6 3009 40.6
7 2957 41.4
8 2892 41.8
It seems that the performance is quite high for several seconds even
for multi-threaded AVX-using applications such as this one. After a
longer load of this kind, the performance with four threads drops to
The relatively low gains when going from 2 to more threads despite
relatively high clock rates makes me suspect that the benchmark
becomes memory-bound in that setting (each of the three 1000x1000
matrices involved consumes 8MB, and this CPU has 6MB L3 cache), and
all these additional threads do is increase the proportion of time
that they are waiting for data from memory.