HP Z800 Workstation review

At its launch, HP referred to its Z800 as a rock star amongst workstations. We take it for spin to see if it deserves to sit centre stage or if it should head back into rehab.

Performance is very much what this machine is about. HP chose to supply the system with Windows XP 64-bit, and while the overall benchmark score of 2.15 may not be the highest ever achieved using our benchmark suite, it was hampered somewhat by the rather middling ATI Quadro v5700 FireGL card.

As a professional workstation we downloaded, installed and ran SpecViewPerf 10, which runs through demanding 3D Studio Max and Maya tests amongst others and in our rough and ready test got some good numbers. We did notice some graphics glitches, which could indicate a problem with the card supplied, but ISV certified boards are available from HP resellers.

A faster card would certainly have improved the scores but overall, by any standard this is a very, very, fast system. This is no less than you'd expect from such honed hardware and at the price tag, anything less would be a scandal.

Even better, it's compact, quiet, and easy to service and maintain. Admittedly you could criticise some of the plastics for being a little too flimsy, but this is not a machine that will be opened up and fiddled with on a regular basis.

The raw power of the Nehalem chips mean that for those in industries where performance is everything - be it analysing oil data, or rendering 3D visuals - investing in this system could potentially pay for itself in a matter of months, which would make the upgrading to one of these, the quintessential 'no brainer'.

Verdict

The Z800 is a great looking, and very cleverly put together workstation offering tool-less access to the internals.

Despite offering simply outstanding levels of performance it runs quietly. The initial costs may be high, but if you depend on performance these machines could pay for themselves in a matter of months.

Processors: 2x Intel Xeon 5560 2.8GHz

Memory: 24MB DDR3 RAM

Chipset: Intel 5520

Graphics: ATI FirePro 5700 Graphics

Storage: Fujitsu MBA3300 147GB iSCSI hard disk, Hitachi Ultrastar 15K450 300GB HUS154530VLS300 SAS hard disk, Hitachi LG HL-DT-ST DVD-RAM Optical drive

Operating System: Windows XP 64-bit

Warranty: 3 year parts and labour worldwide

Dimensions: 20.35 x 52.65 x 44.51 cm

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