A Workstation Romance: The HP Z400


The entry-level HP Z400 missed out on some of the new industrial design features of the Z600 or Z800, but it shared much of the same components. Read on for our benchmarks and impressions. 

Our department-recommended review unit Z400 came fitted with Intel’s 3.46GHz Xeon W3690 hexa-core processor paired with the X58 chipset, together with 12GB of DDR3 1333MHz ECC unbuffered memory (max: 16 gb) and a 500GB Western Digital VelociRaptor SATA hard-drive. It also came with an NVIDIA Quadro 5000 video card, which will richly benefit engineering modeling through Solidworks and related programs. The department-recommended review unit comes at a $5,928 price. The entry-level college student, particularly those in engineering, unit is $2,588.

HP switched the standard hard-drive fixings for new, rubber lined screws, the door latch and improved how it sits more securely against the case. The Z400 was extremely quiet, too, compared to its older siblings, the Z600 and Z800 of the previous generation, though part of that is due to the new, cooler Xeon CPU.

As for power management, the new HP Z Workstation line was ENERGY STAR 5.0 qualified and registered as Electronics Products Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) meaning that the equipment is made of over 90% recycled material. It minimizes power costs with a new WattSaver feature and choices of high-efficiency power supplies. The review unit came with an 85% chassis. You can elect to purchase an upgrade to an 89% efficient model.

Of course, the unit performed well in benchmarks, and the Z400 put in a strong showing across all of our benchmarks. Its overall Cinebench GL 64-bit score of 70.62 fps outperformed previous generations of the Z400, Z600 and Z800. The Cinebench 64-bit CPU score outperformed consumer level first-generation i7 CPUs.

As a workstation, then, the Z400 offers decent entry-level performance and reasonable flexibility. SSDs are also optional, should speed of data access be a particular priority, together with a Blu-ray drive, and there are plentiful ports front and back.

In terms of cost, the range starts from $929 for preconfigured models, quad-core models start from $1,499, and a machine recommended by HP for engineering students will be more in the region of $2,500. For that, though, you’re getting a solid, reliable and eminently capable workstation.

For individuals looking for a cheaper alternative, HP recently came out with the HP Z210 offering two form chases: the Convertible Minitower (CMT) and Small Form Factor (SFF). The Z210 starts at $569 compared to $924 with the Z400.

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