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  • satai - Monday, May 21, 2012 - link

    How do Dell and HP offerings compare related to noise? Does anybody offer an ULN workstation with enough horsepower? Reply
  • Dustin Sklavos - Monday, May 21, 2012 - link

    I can't give you definitive noise figures, but I can tell you the Precision was noticeably quieter than the HP. The T3600 was very quiet, while the Z420 was noticeable. Not LOUD, but definitely audible. Reply
  • satai - Monday, May 21, 2012 - link

    Thanks. That helps me a much. Reply
  • ectoplasmosis - Monday, May 21, 2012 - link

    Why on earth would you not test noise as part of the review? Not what I'd expect form Anandtech. Reply
  • thewhat - Monday, May 21, 2012 - link

    The case, layout and cooling seem very generic. At this price point I'd expect something better.

    It seems that quiet builds are never a priority with big companies like HP and Dell.
  • piroroadkill - Monday, May 21, 2012 - link

    In my experience Dells have always been pretty good in this area, they were the first to adopt BTX style cases with CPUs at the front with nice intakes (if not the first, they must be close!) and always have nice extensive cowling, temperature adaptive fans, and generally are nice to service. Reply
  • Taft12 - Monday, May 21, 2012 - link

    Fully agree with you there - I've found Dell desktops to always be whisper quiet compared to any PC assembled from parts unless special care has been taken to choose parts geared for silence Reply
  • mapesdhs - Tuesday, May 22, 2012 - link

    Very true, I have a Dell T7500 (dual XEON X5570), it's extremely quiet. It makes so little
    noise, sometimes I forget it's turned on.

  • behold4r - Monday, May 21, 2012 - link

    I would like to ask something very specific. I know that many of you might find this a joke, but still I would like to know, because I haven't had the opportunity to own such a machine myself but I am in the process of researching such an option.

    I would like to ask if you could overclock the Xeons (the E5-2687W for example on this system) in order to take them up to 4.0GHz , just like an intel 3960 cpu can. Is there such an option in the BIOS (whether it is on the HP machine or with some other motherboard you've seen)

    That would it make very attractive for rendering or fluid simulation (more bang for your buck, and since we are talking about ~1.900$ these are a lot of money for a single cpu)

    And one other thing, would it be possible in your tests of server cpus (xeons or opterons) to include any fluid simulation test, in particular with RealFlow as well as any rendering tests with a real scene (meaning not just cinebench but rendering a maya scene in mental ray, and I am not talking about prefabed tests like specviewperf)
  • fic2 - Monday, May 21, 2012 - link

    I don't know about this system, but in general large PC companies such as HP and Dell do not leave any overclocking options in their bios.

    For that you are generally better off either building your own, going with a small PC builder or going with one of the companies that specializes in high end overclocked systems.
  • jecastejon - Monday, May 21, 2012 - link

    It can be done as BOXX among others do this all the time and they are always building and claiming the fastest and more reliable computers in content creation business, also you pay more for this, but at least you have the warranty of a serious and dedicated company.

    But, If you are not a real expert with Xeons why try to overclock them? Xeons are designed for reliability over long periods of constant use and not for the ultimate performance per core. But if you take them to the limits not knowing what you are doing it wont justify expending the extra they cost. You may get close to Xeons octacores overclocking a desktop sixcore. You will need some advise and experience either to make them really stable at high clocks, but at least you wont pay more.

    Consider a very fast and overclocked desktop 6 core being as fast as a lower clocked 8 core Xeon. A desktop 3.4 GHZ 6 core CPU will cost you about 800-900$. A 2.2 octacore Xeon CPU will be around $1200.

    Another option is to build a very fast 4 or 6 core machine to design and create your model and a second machine to speed up some rendering and simulation task if the software you use allows it.

    Also, for simulation with Realflow get all the memory you can first and then use whats left in your budget for CPUs. Again, It is preferable to work slower but at a constant pace than to stop continually because you hit your memory limit.

    I have a Xeon octacore for reliability and is running at the specified cycles, using very stable memory and power supply. But also I builded a machine with desktop and workstation parts to experiment a bit more.

    On your request to Anandtech or other tech sites to include real 3D simulations with custom scenes on Realflow or other mayor software all I can say is you need to understand we are not a majority here or everywhere so you need to take notes from here and there and make up you mind.

    Finally, take my advise an experience with a grain of salt and do your own research.
  • sicofante - Monday, May 21, 2012 - link

    Current Xeons can't be overclocked, not by HP nor by Dell or BOXX. The latter can overclock the former generation of Xeons, as much as anyone using the EVGA SR-II motherboard. That's pretty it.

    Everybody is hoping some new overclockable Xeons to come along, since EVGA has created its SR-X for that, but there are no signs of them appearing any time soon.
  • mapesdhs - Tuesday, May 22, 2012 - link

    Overclocking XEONs is not normally supported on professional
    systems (except certain SGI/Rackable units). Nothing to stop you
    using a XEON on a consumer board though and oc'ing it, which
    will work well since XEONs have higher TDPs (my Asrock X58
    Extreme6 has a XEON X5570).

    The real question though, is it worth it? I've been doing lots of
    tests. An oc'd SB can certainly match or beat a dual-XEON X5570,
    but it does depend on the task. Even more interesting though, SPEC
    Viewperf11 can run extremely well on a Quadro 600 even when
    paired with a lowly i3 550, as long as it's oc'd nicely. Can't post
    URLs here, so just Google for "Ian viewperf", it's the page on my
    sgidepot site.

  • disco4178 - Monday, May 21, 2012 - link


    Just curious, are the HP Z620, Z820 and/or Z1 going to be reviewed? The Z420 is kind of the "boring" one in the family it seems. The machines listed here save for Z1 have been upgraded, but not to the extent of the Dells. It would be neat to see an in depth review of them as I can only find the rendered movies on HP's site for a look at the internals. They look pretty slick, and easier to service than the Z420.
  • USAllard - Monday, May 21, 2012 - link

    I'd also like to see a review of specifically the Z620. Especially for a comparison between the dual 4-core 3.6GHz and dual 8-core 2.0GHz versions. Reply
  • Einy0 - Monday, May 21, 2012 - link

    I work in IT part-time for two different companies. They both are hung up on Lenovo. I know both places also used Dell before Lenovo. I often wonder where exactly Dell went wrong. I know their quality levels dipped for a few years. Has Dell fixed those issues yet? Reply
  • tech6 - Monday, May 21, 2012 - link

    While certifications are important, both the Dell and HP products represent dubious value when compared to properly configured PCs. The $2k alone for the CPU yields very little marginal performance over a $1,000 or even $500 PC CPU. The whole package at $6K+ simply doesn't outperform a properly configured PC at half the cost by enough to justify that price tag. Reply
  • Kaldor - Monday, May 21, 2012 - link

    Definitely! Alot of time it seems like IT departments get caught up in specs like raw CPU power and forget that upgrades like more RAM or a SSD make for a better user experience. Unless you can absolutely justify the cost of a processor and it will actually pay for itself, then spending this kind of coin is not worthwhile.

    I went through something similar to this about 3 months ago for CAD machines. They were convinced by the prior IT staff they needed workstation class CPUs (Xeon) and GPUs (Nvidia or ATI). There was no real need for a workstation class CPUs and GPUs for the type of CAD work my company does, so we went with Dell Optiplex 790's with an i7-2600, 16 gigs of RAM, a 256 gig SSD, 1tb spinning drive, and an ATI video card for easy 2-3 monitor setups. We spent about $1500 per machine and I havent heard any complaints from the engineers yet.
  • jecastejon - Monday, May 21, 2012 - link

    Well, I will at least recommend a Xeon among several desktop machines. It will give you a real perspective on what a Xeon is and is better at. And that is, being the last machine up and running close to 24/7. It wont be the fastest in the short term but if your work depends on reliability for long periods of time, get at least one Xeon.

    Also if you go for a certified Xeon machine you will enjoy a smother experience running your software.

    For an upgrade in 3D get all the memory you can if you work with complex scenes.

    it all depends on what you do and with your experience.
  • theSeb - Monday, May 21, 2012 - link

    You're missing the whole point of a Xeon CPU and it's uses. Some people need a workstation CPU and ECC memory. You obviously dont' and that is ok. A xeon-based workstation is not appropriate for your uses, but don't try to paint everyone with that brush. Reply
  • theSeb - Monday, May 21, 2012 - link


    "You're missing the whole point of a Xeon CPU and its uses."
  • mapesdhs - Tuesday, May 22, 2012 - link

    That's a very good point to highlight - some users need ECC RAM
    for their task, and of course pro systems tend to have much higher
    max RAM limits than consumer boards (useful for medical, GIS, etc.)
    My Dell T7500 just has 24GB atm, but it can take 144GB, though
    if maxed out the speed is not that great. Still, the capability is there.

    X79 solves the RAM problem to some extent on the desktop for solo
    professionals looking for value without blowing thousands on a pro
    system, but as you say it's a consideration each user must bare in

    I recently built a system for use with AE for a solo artist guy, a blend
    of consumer and professional hw, runs very nicely. i7 2600K @ 4.7,
    16GB DDR3/2133, 90GB SSD, LSI 3041E-R, 2x73GB 15K SAS,
    Quadro 600, ASUS Z68 board, Antec 300, Toughpower 750W PSU.
    I sourced used parts where sensible, total cost less than 900 UKP,
    saved him about 400 compared to buying all-new. Performance is
    very respectable; compare the following numbers to the data in this
    Z420 review (remember this is with a Quadro 600, so compare to
    the Quadro 600 numbers in the review):

    CATIA-03: 17.55
    ENSIGHT-04: 10.57
    LW-01: 44.40
    MAYA-03: 26.60
    PROE-05: 11.99
    SW-02: 30.97
    TCVIS-02: 16.10
    SNX-01: 13.12

    Interesting thing is though, for those who care about Viewperf 11,
    these numbers are only about 1 or 2% quicker than the same
    Quadro 600 running with a crazy cheap 4.7GHz i3 550 (ProE is
    the exception, it gains 10% moving to the 2600K, ie. result with
    the i3 550 is 10.84).

    Be careful of Viewperf - it's probably not respresentative of pro
    tasks which do impose a strain on the main CPU(s) aswell as a
    heavy 3D load.

  • colonelclaw - Monday, May 21, 2012 - link

    Hi guys, thanks for a great review as always. Any chance that in the future you include a VRay benchmark please? It's very popular, cross-platform, and supported by nearly all the top 3D packages. Reply
  • majortom1981 - Monday, May 21, 2012 - link

    I am typing this on a z600. The z4xx series was originally the bottom of the barrel workstation.

    The z6xx is a much better built workstation. So do not judge the whole z series based on the z420.

    My z600 is all metal and is built like a tank and from pictures of the z620 it has not changed at all.

    Please review the 620 if you can its case design is different.
  • Ytterbium - Thursday, August 02, 2012 - link

    this comment is true, I think the Z620 would be a better competitor.

    The Z4xx to me is for someone who want's a entry level workstation

    I have a Z2xx and the chassis is the same as the 8200 elite, just the motherboard is upgraded to C200 so it can run ECC ram.
  • trivor - Monday, May 21, 2012 - link

    It sure seems to me like a high end gaming rig (from a name brand manufacturer if IT needs it) would certainly be able to give these workstations a run for the money for a lot less money - say a core i7 3960 (6 core @ 3.3 GHz, SLI GTX 570s, 120 GB-240GB SSD with a 2 TB data drive) for around $3500-4000. I think the need for true workstations (Like in the 90s with Sun or Silicon graphics) for most people doing CAD or something along those lines can certainly be more cost effective than these workstations - but I may be wrong. Reply
  • mapesdhs - Tuesday, May 22, 2012 - link

    Gamer cards totally suck for most pro apps. The driver optimisations are very
    different, as are the feature sets. In certain cases a gamer card can run a pro
    app ok (Ensight is the ony example I know of), but pro apps usually run much
    better on a Quadro. Likewise, gaming performance on a Quadro is terrible.
    Games need features like 2-sided textures, pro apps need features like AA
    lines; this is why the drivers & optimisations are different.

    CPU-wise though, you're right, though an oc'd 3930K makes much more sense than
    the waste-of-money 3960X.

    However, as an earlier poster mentioned, remember the ECC RAM issue. If someone
    needs this, then a consumer build is not an option.

  • sicofante - Monday, May 21, 2012 - link

    I'd think HP has enough money to hire some designers, not just engineers.

    This thing is vulgar as hell. I understand those worried by looks are not majority among the buyers of a workstation, but certainly industrial designers and media content creators are a target for these machines and they value the looks.
  • Gc - Monday, May 21, 2012 - link

    "Z420: 323"
    "T3600: 262"

    (difference: 61)

    "under load the extra 20 watts off of the processor, the closed-loop liquid cooler, and the four extra DIMMs all seem to take their pound of flesh. I have a hard time believing that accounts for a full EIGHTY watts of power" [emphasis added]

    20 watts for the processor, ~10--15 for the water pump, ~8--10 for the 4 more ECC dimms, leaves about 16--23 watts unaccounted for.
  • Dustin Sklavos - Monday, May 21, 2012 - link

    Aw man, I suck at math. Reply
  • Grandpa - Monday, May 21, 2012 - link

    From a company that touts itself as INVENT comes a computer like all the others. When I first saw this review I thought I was looking at a PC from 1996. Just seems like they should be able to do better by now. Reply
  • pelle2012 - Wednesday, May 23, 2012 - link

    Wouldnt the Z420 perform better than the t3600, when configured with full memory (64GB)?
    The HP one would have 2 x 8GB on each channel, compared to 1 x 16GB on the Dell one.
  • ghost6007 - Wednesday, May 23, 2012 - link

    Who unearthed this from the 1990's garbage dump?

    The innards can be all powerful and the performance can be scorching but the design! The design would probably relegate this to be used a god dammed footstool in a modern office.
  • yashooa - Monday, July 16, 2012 - link

    Some of you act as if you are about to attend the ball and the Z420 is your party dress.
    I have both the T3600 and the Z420 in my lab in identical configurations and I will take the additional memory capacity and bandwidth over aesthetics.
    Plus HP has offered the Z420 to us at a substantially lower price than Dell has with the T3600.
    Not only have they undercut Dell on the price they have installed more RAM as well.
    Most of our tech savvy users know that the T3500 had 6 DIMMS and T3600 only has 4 and when you use 24GB of RAM as a standard it can a lot more expensive when you have half as many DIMM slots to populate. We have to use ECC in this platform (we used non-ECC in the T3500) so when you have to buy 8GB DIMMs instead of 4GB DIMMs the cost goes up dramatically. We then have justify the cost increase to the business and the justification of "well it has a prettier case than the HP" just doesn't cut it.

  • paeratyo - Monday, March 30, 2015 - link

    I am now looking for this HPZ420. Anybody suggest me where can i get it? Reply

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