The HP Omen 15 is the coolest Ryzen gaminglaptop I’ve tested so far, the results are very impressive, let’s check out thermalsand see what performance improvements can be made. I’ve tested temperatures with AMD’s 8core Ryzen 7 4800H and Nvidia’s GTX 1660 Ti config to find out just how hot it getsand see where the limits lie. Air comes in through the fairly large ventsunderneath towards the back, as we can see on the bottom panel though it’s not fullyopen, but still a fair amount. There also seems to be some sort of ventilationabove the keyboard. Air is then exhausted out of the back corners,and from the rear vent on the right side, there’s no exhaust on the left. There are a couple of fans inside and twoheatpipes shared between the CPU and GPU, and looks like we’ve got full VRM coveragehere. The Omen Command Center software lets youselect between different performance modes, which from lowest to highest are comfort,default and performance, and you have the option of enabling max fan speed with anyof these modes, but there’s no further granular fan controls.
For the first time I’ve also used the Ryzencontroller software, which can be used to boost the CPU power limits, and we’ll seehow this affects performance and thermals compared to stock settings, no undervoltingis possible here though. Thermals were tested with a 21 degree Celsiusambient room temperature. Idle results down the bottom were good. Worst case stress tests were done with theAida64 CPU stress test with CPU only checked and the Heaven benchmark at max settings atthe same time, while gaming was tested with Watch Dogs 2 as I find it to use a good combinationof processor and graphics. Comfort mode was running the coolest, howeveras you’ll hear later for some reason the fan was basically maxed out in this mode. I’m not sure if it’s a bug, or maybe HP’sdefinition of comfort is a cool feeling machine without considering your ears. Default mode is warmer, but as you’ll seenext it performs better too. Performance mode was a bit cooler as the fanswere now louder here, though unlike the lowest mode this makes a bit more sense. With the fans set to max speed we’re ableto get a little extra improvement, and then a few more degrees can be taken off with acooling pad, so all things considered the results with the default performance modeeven under these heavy loads are quite excellent. These are the average clock speeds while runningthe same tests. The GPU speed doesn’t change too much, asno GPU overclocking is done by default in any of these modes, so we’re mostly lookingat changes to CPU performance.
Comfort mode was the lowest, speeds improvedin default mode, then more in performance mode, but I wasn’t really seeing any changeby using the Ryzen controller software to boost the power levels. The cooling pad also didn’t change performancemuch as thermals weren’t a limitation, but lower temps may help a little with boosting,which is probably what the small difference is. When we look at the power levels we can seethat the GTX 1660 Ti was running at its 80 watt limit regardless of the mode in use,and this is why the clock speeds are basically the same, as we just saw. The CPU power limit was capped at 25 wattsin the lowest comfort mode, and this is why the temperatures were so low, less power plusfull fan speed. The power limit seems to raise up to 35 wattsin default mode, well at least in the stress test. For some reason with this game running weweren’t seeing more than this regardless of mode in use, and the Ryzen Controller softwaredidn’t seem to affect the processor in these CPU plus GPU workloads. In performance mode with the stress test though,the processor was able to get to around 42 watts. Sounds low, but hey it’s running above 4.1GHzover all 8 cores so no complaints from me, assuming of course there’s no issue withHWinfo reading the sensors. In a CPU only stress test with the GPU nowidle, comfort mode still limits the processor to 25 watts, however the other modes see furtherboosts. In performance mode with no modifications,the CPU would indefinitely run at 53 watts all day without issue after all boosts haveexpired, however I was able to raise this up to 63 watts very easily with the Ryzencontroller software, basically I just set everything to max and this is what we got.
Although that improvement sounds nice, I onlysaw around a 100MHz boost in this stress test with Ryzen controller modifications, whichmakes it seem like HP’s 53 watt cap is already in a pretty good sweet spot, and this is furtherconfirmed when looking at temperatures, as we’re basically seeing a 9 degree hotterprocessor just for 100MHz, so definitely diminishing returns at play by boosting it. I’ve used Cinebench to show you how thesedifferent modes perform. Using the Ryzen controller software to boostthe limits increased the multicore score by almost 6%, otherwise single core performancewas the same regardless of the mode used. When we look at how these scores stack upagainst others, well it’s just ever so slightly ahead of the Eluktronics RP-15, an excellentresult, and basically only being beaten by far thicker and more expensive machines withdesktop tier processors. There’s not that much difference in a gamewhen comparing the different performance modes, though this is more of a GPU heavy test, andif you recall the GTX 1660 Ti was running at its 80 watt limit no problem regardlessof the mode in use. We could boost average FPS by almost 7% byoverclocking the GPU, using a cooling pad and Ryzen controller though, well, the Ryzencontroller part didn’t change anything in this CPU plus GPU load. If you want to see more gaming benchmarksfrom the Ryzen based HP Omen 15, check the card in the top right or link in the descriptionwhere I’ve tested 20 games at all setting levels. As for the external temperatures where you’llactually be putting your hands, at idle in comfort mode it’s in the low 30s I usuallysee, all normal. With the stress tests running in this modeit’s not that much warmer, for some reason with heavy load running in comfort mode thefans max out, and as we saw earlier the CPU is capped to 25 watts, so the result is acool exterior. In default mode the fans are slower and theprocessor is able to use more power now, so we’re seeing mid 40s in the center, justa bit warm and no issues. In the highest performance mode it’s a bitcooler now, owing to the fan speed increase, and notice that the WASD keys have alwaysbeen cooler than the rest, and when combined with the cool wrist rest it always felt fineeven after gaming for hours, let’s have a listen to those fans. When idling in comfort mode the fan speedwould occasionally ramp up a bit, which is why I’ve recorded two different levels. As mentioned for some reason comfort modemaxes the fans out with the stress tests going, while default mode is more normal comparatively. Interestingly in performance mode, it wasbasically the same as with the fan manually set to maximum, but if you recall earlierI was seeing some temperature improvement with max, and I didn’t notice it ramp uphigher than this.
Now this is a little awkward, because in theEluktronics RP-15 thermal testing video I already said it was the coolest Ryzen gaminglaptop, and look that was the case, but perhaps no longer as the HP Omen is running coolerwhile also achieving higher clock speeds, and is reaching what I’d say is equivalentperformance in Cinebench, a few points is margin of error stuff. To be fair to the RP-15 though, it’s usinga higher wattage RTX 2060 GPU which can boost up to 110 watts, so higher temperatures shouldbe expected there, and this does result in the RP-15 outperforming this GTX 1660 Ti configurationof Omen 15 in games, but either way these are still impressive results for a Ryzen gaminglaptop and seriously put competitors like the ASUS TUF A15 to shame. In terms of thermals there’s not much tocomplain about here, the main issue is that the lowest comfort mode maxes the fan outto ridiculously high levels when under load, again not sure if that’s a bug or just HP’sidea of what equals comfy, I suppose we’ll see with future updates as they come out. As things stand there’s no option for thosethat want the option of gaming at higher temperatures but with a quieter system, that trade offjust doesn’t seem possible here. The other thing is the lack of fan control,yeah being able to enable max speed is nice, I’m looking at you Lenovo 7i, but givenhow loud full speed is giving the user some level of granular control to choose the levelsthey’re comfortable with would have been icing on the cake. Being able to boost CPU only performance withthe Ryzen controller software was also a nice bonus for the enthusiast crowd, so yeah allthings considered I’m quite impressed with what the Omen 15 is offering, especially aftertesting out the Dell G5 SE furnace and ASUS TUF A15, this is how a Ryzen gaming laptop should be.