Right Priorities / Laptops & PCs

Right Priorities / Laptops & PCs

HUAWEI has been involved with laptops not so long ago, but it has already released many devices that in many ways surpass the products of the companies more well-known in this field. Take at least the recent MateBook 13 AMD – a remarkable ultrabook, which was let down only by the inconvenient configuration of the connectors, and even the outdated CPU Ryzen 3000 platform. The HUAWEI MateBook D 16 AMD is insured against such problems. It uses a fresh “red” 4000-series processor, and thanks to the larger form factor, you can not skimp on cable interfaces. The MateBook D 16 is one of the few laptops so far with a 16.1-inch screen instead of the usual 15.6. Why not, because the car still remains thin and light.

⇡ #Specifications, prices

Unlike the vast majority of today’s ultrabooks, which are equipped with low-watt Intel or AMD chips, HUAWEI’s laptop has a full-power CPU. All configurations of the machine contain a six-core Ryzen 5 4600H processor, which is rated for power consumption up to 54W. In addition, this model supports SMT, so the laptop definitely does not complain about the speed of the CPU. But the thin chassis of the MateBook D 16 AMD is no longer adapted to power and cool a discrete GPU along with a powerful central processor. The laptop relies on the integrated graphics of the Radeon RX Vega 6, which, of course, significantly limits its potential in working applications and makes the computer unsuitable for any modern games, except for the most undemanding ones.

Judging by the description on the manufacturer’s website, the only variable in the MateBook D 16 AMD specifications is the amount of RAM – 8 or 16 GB. And by the way, you won’t be able to increase RAM after purchase, since the chips are soldered directly on the motherboard. The amount of ROM is always the same – 512 GB.

Manufacturer Huawei
Model Matebook D 16 AMD
Display 16.1“, 1920 × 1080, IPS
Cpu AMD Ryzen 5 4600H (6/12 cores / threads, 3.0-4.0 GHz)
RAM DDR4 SDRAM, 3200 MT / s, 8/16 GB (two channels)
GPU AMD Radeon RX Vega 6 (512 MB from system RAM)
Storage device WD PC SN730 (PCIe 3.0 x4) 512 GB
External I / O connectors 2 × USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-C / DisplayPort;
2 × USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A;
1 × HDMI;
1 × TRS 3.5mm
Network IEEE 802.11ax + Bluetooth 5.1
Battery capacity, Wh 56 Wh
Weight, kg 1.74
Overall dimensions (L × H × D), mm 369 × 234 × 18.4
Retail price (Russia), rub. 74 990 (16 GB) – market.yandex.ru

Aside from the ARM-based Apple M1 chip, the low-watt Ryzen 4000 series offer unmatched performance in its class, and only Intel’s latest Tiger Lake silicon can compete in a number of applications. And we expect even better results from a Ryzen processor at full power. But the choice of HUAWEI in favor of the AMD platform means that buyers of the MateBook D 16 AMD will not be able to use the Thunderbolt interface, and the USB type here is not the fastest.

Be that as it may, the HUAWEI product fulfills its value in full. There are still few offers of MateBook D 16 AMD on the Russian market, but 75.5 thousand rubles is an excellent price even for the main components of a laptop. Not to mention other qualities that are not expressed in dry numbers: for example, a well-tuned screen matrix or a case with a comfortable keyboard and touchpad.

⇡ #Appearance and ergonomics

The hallmark of the HUAWEI MateBook D 16 AMD is, of course, a large 16.1-inch screen. Thanks to its narrow bezels, it managed to fit into the dimensions typical for 15-inch laptops of yesteryear: just like 14-inch laptops actually removed their 13-inch predecessors from the market. Of course, AMD’s MateBook D 16 is still larger than most ultrabooks, but in other respects it is still a typical ultrabook: the device weighs only 1.74 kg and is only 18.4 mm thick.

It’s easy to see that HUAWEI continues to borrow good designs from Apple. First, the 16.1-inch screen itself, which is used in the older MacBook Pro model. Secondly, the appearance of the MateBook D 16 AMD resembles Apple laptops, although it seems that the company has already found its own corporate identity. More importantly, HUAWEI also prefers to make cases out of thicker metal panels. As a result, the laptop lid is quite rigid in bending, despite the fact that the display panel is not laminated with glass. The latter is clearly for the better, because earlier HUAWEI computers had problems with anti-reflective coating.

Finally, HUAWEI realized that one of the main advantages of any MacBook is the keyboard and touchpad. There is plenty of room on the work surface of the MateBook D 16 AMD so that you don’t have to sacrifice the width of the keys (only the “~” key got it). And most importantly, the laptop feels like a 13-inch version of the MacBook. In particular, this means a pronounced actuation moment and a quick return of the keys to neutral position. Equally important is the fact that the base of the keyboard has almost no flex during the typing process. The power button was separated from the rest of the keys: firstly, it is more convenient, and secondly, a biometric sensor is integrated into it, which is doubly more convenient.

The touchpad of the MateBook D 16 AMD is covered with glass, it is large and perfectly tuned. But there is an offensive defect: there is a nail-thick gap between the sensitive panel and the metal of the working surface.

There are a total of four USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports on the sides of the case. Alas, not Gen 2, which has twice the bandwidth, not to mention Thunderbolt. However, either of the two Type-C connectors carries a DisplayPort signal or can be used to power from a complete power supply unit – very compact for its 65W power. We do not presume to judge what was the cause and what was the consequence, but if the MateBook D 16 AMD had a discrete graphics processor, the power supply would probably have to be made larger.

When a PSU and an external display are connected to the laptop, one USB Type-C port will remain free if you use full-format HDMI. And for everything else, there’s a pair of USB Type-A and a 3.5mm TRS combo audio jack. The only pity is that there is no memory card reader.

⇡ #Internal structure and upgrade options

The only reason a MateBook D 16 AMD owner might need to open the laptop (aside from dust cleaning) is to upgrade the ROM. HUAWEI opted for the fast 512GB WD PC SN 730 drive, but sooner or later that won’t be enough. However, you can leave the old SSD, because the motherboard has a free M.2 slot (and you can expand the memory up to 2 TB). But the laptop is not designed to expand the RAM: the chips are soldered on the motherboard.

Note that one of the two groups of external interfaces is mounted on its own PCB. This will make it easier to repair if any connector gets damaged. It’s a pity that not the most popular sockets are separated, that is, not USB Type-C, one of which is always used for charging, but USB Type-A.

The cooling system of the MateBook D 16 AMD consists of two radiators connected by a common heat pipe. The cooler’s operating scheme is typical – cold air is sucked in through the mesh in the bottom of the case, and heated air leaves it through the gap between the topcase and the screen.

⇡ #Testing technique

Synthetic tests
application Settings
3DMark Time Spy
Geekbench 4
GFXBench 5 (Aztec Ruins – Normal Tier, High Tier) Windows: Vulkan, macOS: Metal
fio 3.16 Sequential read / write, random read / write (unbuffered I / O)

Display testing is performed using the Datacolor Spyder4 Elite colorimeter in ArgyllCMS and DisplayCAL 3 applications.

Laptop battery life measured at 200 cd / m2 display brightness2 in the following use cases:

  • web surfing: alternate opening and closing of the tabs of the sites 3DNews.ru, Computeruniverse.ru and Unsplash.com with an interval of 25 seconds in the Google Chrome browser (cache and cookies are disabled);
  • Continuous playback of 4K video in HEVC format (H.265).

⇡ #Test participants

The following devices took part in testing:

Screen Cpu RAM GPU SSD HDD Battery
HUAWEI Matebook D 16 AMD (HVY-WAP9) 16.1“, 1920 × 1080, IPS AMD Ryzen 5 4600H 6/12 cores / threads, 3.0-4.0 GHz DDR4 SDRAM, 3200 MT / s, 16 GB AMD Radeon RX Vega 6 512 MB from system RAM WD PC SN730 (PCIe 3.0 x4) 512 GB No 56 Wh
Apple MacBook Pro 13 “, Late 2020 (A2338) 13.3“, 2560 × 1600, IPS Apple M1 4 + 4 cores / threads, ≤3.2 GHz LPDDR4X SDRAM, 4266 MT / s, 16 GB 8 iGPU cores System RAM Apple AP2048Q (Apple Fabric) 2048 GB No 58.2 Wh
Apple MacBook Pro 16 “, Late 2019 (A2141) 16“, 3072 × 1920, IPS Intel Core i9-9980HK 8/16 cores / threads, 2.4-5.0 GHz DDR4 SDRAM, 2666 MT / s, 16 GB AMD Radeon Pro 5500M 4 GB GDDR6 Apple AP1024N (PCIe 3.0 x4) 1024 GB No 100 Wh
ASUS VivoBook S15 (S533FL) 15,6 ”, 1920 × 1080, IPS Intel Core i7-10510U 4/8 cores / threads, 1.8-4.9 GHz DDR4 SDRAM, 2666 MT / s, 8 GB NVIDIA GeForce MX250 2 GB GDDR5 Intel Optane Memory H10 (PCIe 3.0 x4) 32 + 512 GB No 50 Wh
HP ProBook 455 G7 (2D235EA) 15,6 ”, 1920 × 1080, IPS AMD Ryzen 5 4500U 6/12 cores / threads, 2.3-4.0 GHz DDR4 SDRAM, 3200 MT / s, 8 GB AMD Radeon Vega 6 512 MB from system RAM Samsung PM991 (PCIe 3.0 x4) 256 GB No 45 Wh
MSI Modern 15 (A10RB) 15,6 ”, 1920 × 1080, IPS Intel Core i7-10510U 4/8 cores / threads, 1.8-4.9 GHz DDR4 SDRAM, 2666 MT / s, 16 GB NVIDIA GeForce MX250 2 GB GDDR5 WD PC SN730 (PCIe 3.0 x4) 512 GB No 52 Wh
MSI Modern 15 (A11SB) 15,6 ”, 1920 × 1080, IPS Intel Core i7-1165G7 4/8 cores / threads, 2.8-4.7 GHz DDR4 SDRAM, 3200 MT / s, 16 GB NVIDIA GeForce MX450 2 GB GDDR5 Kingston OM8PCP3512F-AI1 (PCIe 3.0 x2) 512 GB No 52 Wh

⇡ #Screen quality

HUAWEI MateBook D 16 is equipped with a high-quality screen matrix with Full HD resolution. By the standards of laptops of this form factor and price category, the panel has a high brightness – 286 cd / m22 – and a decent contrast ratio, 870: 1.

The color gamut of the screen exactly matches the sRGB standard.

The white point is close to the reference value and, as a result, the color temperature of the image is about 6500 K.

The base color curves converge well, but the gamma curve deviates from the sRGB reference function. Fortunately, this did not lead to a significant loss of contrast throughout the gray scale.

The HUAWEI MateBook D 16 earned high color accuracy ratings that would flatter a professional monitor as a result of careful tuning of the matrix parameters.

⇡ #Clock frequencies, temperature and noise level

Not only is a high-power CPU installed in a thin HUAWEI laptop, the Ryzen 5 4600H chip here exhausts a good part of the nominal TDP: with a maximum passport value of 54 W, the stable power consumption of the processor in maximum performance mode is 40 W. And the clock speeds are appropriate – about 3.7 GHz with a full load of six cores. The control software of the laptop is able to transfer the CPU to a mode of moderate power consumption, but this affects the operating parameters only slightly: the average power of the chip drops to 35 W, and the clock frequency – to 3.6 GHz.

As for the integrated video adapter Radeon RX Vega 6, 3D rendering requires an average of 16 watts of power. Compared to the load exclusively on x86 cores, this is nothing, so changing the power consumption presets does not affect either the SoC’s appetites under conditions of predominantly graphic load, or the GPU clock speed (1.5 GHz).

With an intense simultaneous load on the CPU and GPU, AMD automation puts the speed of the x86 cores to the fore: their clock frequency does not drop much, while for the GPU it drops to 1.1 GHz.

Clock rates under load
Cinebench R20 (max. Streams) LuxMark 3.1 Cinebench R20 (max. # Of threads) + LuxMark 3.1
CPU clock frequency, MHz GPU clock frequency, MHz CPU clock frequency, MHz GPU clock frequency, MHz
Average Max. Average Max. Average Max. Average Max.
HUAWEI MateBook D 16 AMD (HVY-WAP9) – AMD Ryzen 5 4600H / AMD Radeon RX Vega 6 – Performance 3720 3801 1479 1500 3547 3693 1074 1500
HUAWEI MateBook D 16 AMD (HVY-WAP9) – AMD Ryzen 5 4600H / AMD Radeon RX Vega 6 – Balanced 3587 3630 1500 1500 3407 3572 1121 1475
CPU and GPU power
Cinebench R20 (max. Streams) LuxMark 3.1 Cinebench R20 (max. # Of threads) + LuxMark 3.1
CPU power consumption, W GPU power consumption (SoC overall for, if integrated), W CPU power consumption, W GPU power consumption (if discrete), W
Average Max. Average Max. Average Max. Average Max.
HUAWEI MateBook D 16 AMD (HVY-WAP9) – AMD Ryzen 5 4600H / AMD Radeon RX Vega 6 – Performance 40 44 thirteen 16 40 41 N / A N / A
HUAWEI MateBook D 16 AMD (HVY-WAP9) – AMD Ryzen 5 4600H / AMD Radeon RX Vega 6 – Balanced 35 36 thirteen 16 35 36 N / A N / A

Approx. The measurement is performed after warming up the device and stabilizing all parameters.

Not surprisingly, with this high power draw under heavy load, the SoC heats up a lot in the thin chassis of the MateBook D 16 – up to 101 ° C, and the laptop is noisy. Alas, the latter is a typical drawback of thin laptops with high-performance filling. “Balanced” power consumption mode has practically no effect on these parameters.

⇡ #Synthetic performance tests

Although the Ryzen 5 4600H has only six cores, it delivers superior multi-threaded performance thanks to its high clock speeds and SMT support. In the corresponding benchmarks, the HUAWEI laptop from similar machines with a 15-16-inch screen lags behind only the MacBook Pro on an eight-core Intel CPU, but at the same time it is ahead of the MacBook Pro on the Apple M1 chip (although the latter worked in x86 emulation mode).

As for the integrated graphics of the Radeon RX Vega 6, it is not designed to work in any demanding work applications and games. Entry-level discrete GPUs easily beat it in 3D rendering speed.

⇡ #Performance in production applications

As you might expect, AMD’s MateBook D 16 took second place in the Blender benchmark when rendering images using the CPU – just behind the eight-core MacBook Pro – and outperformed all other test participants by a large margin. It makes no sense to give the results of a similar test using a GPU in this case: the performance of the integrated graphics of the Ryzen 5 4600H for such tasks is completely insufficient, and the test itself simply cannot be completed due to the small amount of the dedicated GPU section of RAM.

One of the best options for working in Lightroom today is Intel’s 11th generation Tiger Lake processors, or powerful eight-core CPUs. And discrete graphics will not hurt. Be that as it may, the MateBook D 16 easily outperformed notebooks with previous generation quad-core Intel processors and low-watt “red” chips in terms of the speed of various operations in Lightroom.

Approx. Points are calculated as a percentage of the performance of a reference workstation with Intel Core i9-9900K, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 and 64GB RAM.

In Photoshop, the HUAWEI laptop looks weak, lagging behind rival machines based on eight- and even quad-core Intel CPUs along with entry-level discrete graphics – it is comparable in results to the MacBook Pro on the Apple M1 chip, provided that the latter runs in x86 emulation mode.

Approx. Points are calculated as a percentage of the performance of a reference workstation with an Intel Core i9-9900K, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 and 64GB of RAM multiplied by 10.

Approx. Points are calculated as a percentage of the performance of a reference workstation with Intel Core i9-9900K, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 and 64GB RAM.

To do video editing on a computer devoid of any powerful graphics processor, at first glance, is a failed idea. However, if the editing does not include complex effects relying on the GPU, the MateBook D 16 AMD delivers impressive performance, sufficient for playing a 4K project at half resolution with an acceptable frame rate, and high export speed for mobile technology. Only eight cores, as well as the new MacBook Pro based on the Apple M1 platform, can count on the best result.

And if the project still uses resource-intensive effects, then in defense of the MateBook D 16 AMD, we can say that a discrete GPU of the level of the GeForce MX250 is not a big helper here.

⇡ # SSD performance

HUAWEI opted for the high-performance WD PC SN 730 drive. It offers outstanding linear read and random write throughput and excellent random read performance. At the same time, the weakness of PC SN 730 is the low speed of linear recording.

⇡ # Battery life

In terms of the lifespan on a single charge when playing HEVC video, the MateBook D 16 AMD does not stand out among laptops with similar dimensions and battery capacity: a little less than 7 hours. However, the HUAWEI laptop lasted the longest with continuous web surfing – no less than 8 hours.

⇡ #findings

This is extremely rare, but in the new laptop HUAWEI it is difficult to find at least some reason for serious criticism. You just need to take into account what tasks it is designed for, and what it is not. По быстродействию CPU это один из лидеров в своем классе, где используются преимуществено низковаттные чипы Intel либо AMD, ведь в MateBook D 16 AMD стоит шестиядерный процессор Ryzen 5 4600H полной мощности. Единственное, к чему стоит подготовиться, это шум системы охлаждения при полной нагрузке, но по-другому высокопроизводительные ультрабуки не работают. К тому же в MateBook D 16 AMD нет дискретного графического процессора, что делает его непригодным для некоторых рабочих приложений и современных игр. Зато, пожертвовав дискретным GPU, удалось продлить срок автономной работы.

Однако в HUAWEI хорошо понимают, что главное, чем хороший лэптоп отличается от посредственного, — это вовсе на начинка, а качество экрана, конструкция шасси и органы управления. Экран здесь пусть и не самый яркий и контрастный, но превосходно настроенный, корпус — прочный и жесткий. Ну а по механике клавиатуры с тем, что делает HUAWEI, теперь могут соревноваться лишь немногие производители. При таком списке достоинств, как у MateBook D 16 AMD, ноутбук запросто мог бы стоить намного больше, а уж в его ценовой категории мы затрудняемся назвать подходящих конкурентов.

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