HP Z200 Review: Performance and Benchmarks

April 14, 2010 by J.R. Nelson Reads (31,065)
Editor's Rating

Ratings Breakdown (1-10)

    • Software & Support
    • 9
    • Upgrade Capabilities
    • 5
    • Usability
    • 9
    • Design
    • 10
    • Performance
    • 9
    • Features
    • 9
    • Total Score:
    • 8.50
    • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10

Performance
Clearly, performance is, or should be, what sets a workstation apart from a regular business desktop. At most manufacturers, both enjoy good build quality and superior, if pricey, customer support. I find it troubling, then, that HP offers the Z200 in its base configuration with a Pentium Dual-core G6950. In 2010, a computer with a Pentium Dual-core – and yes, I know they get updates to the line – shouldn’t be considered a workstation. Lenovo does the same thing. Dell, at least, offers dual-core Core i3 and Xeon CPUs in its base configuration models. With the assumed market and use for these devices, quad-core processors should really be the default. If a business needs something less powerful, or cheaper, they can buy a regular business desktop. At that level, there’s little that sets the workstation apart.

Additionally, HP should be called out a little bit for the drastic markup they charge for component upgrades. Customizing a computer on HP’s website, as opposed to buying one of their quick-ship models, has always carried with it unfortunate extra fees. On Intel’s website, buying the CPU used in this machine costs $316, when purchased in shipments of 1,000 or greater. Newegg sells it for $349. Lenovo charges $450 for the upgrade (remember, they use the same base Pentium G6950 CPU as HP). What does HP charge for it? $850. I am well aware that companies have to make money, but this kind of markup is unfortunate and hurts consumers.

wPrime benchmark test results:(lower is better)

Desktop Score
Alienware Area-51 x58 (Core i7 965 @ 3.2GHz) 7.426s
Alienware Area-51 ALX (Core i7 960 @ 3.2GHz) 8.065s
HP Pavilion Elite m9600t (Core i7 920 @ 2.66GHz) 8.835s
Dell Studio XPS (Core i7 920 @ 2.66GHz) 9.1s
HP Z200 SFF Workstation (Xeon X3460 @ 2.80GHz) 9.813s
Dell Studio XPS 8000 (Core i5 750 @ 2.66GHz) 11.717s

PCMark05 system benchmark test results: (higher is better)

Desktop PCMark05
Alienware Area-51 ALX (Core i7 960 @ 3.2GHz) 13,099 PCMarks

Dell Studio XPS (Core i7 920 @ 2.66GHz)

10,928 PCMarks
Alienware Area-51 790i (Core 2 Quad Q9450 @ 2.66GHz) 10,616 PCMarks
HP Pavilion Elite m9600t (Core i7 920 @ 2.66GHz) 10,157 PCMarks
AVA Direct GT3 (Core i7 920 @ 2.66GHz) 9,834 PCMarks
HP Z200 SFF Workstation (Xeon X3460 @ 2.80GHz) 8,984 PCMarks

PCMark Vantage system benchmark test results: (higher is better)

Desktop PCMark Vantage
Alienware Area-51 ALX (Core i7 960 @ 3.2GHz) 10,813 PCMarks
Dell Studio XPS 8000 (Core i5 750 @ 2.66GHz)  6,825 PCMarks
HP Z200 SFF Workstation (Xeon X3460 @ 2.80GHz) 6,607 PCMarks
HP Pavilion Elite m9600t (Core i7 920 @ 2.66GHz) 6,479 PCMarks

AVA Direct GT3 (Core i7 920 @ 2.66GHz)

6,134 PCMarks

Dell Studio XPS (Core i7 920 @ 2.66GHz)

6,056 PCMarks

With that said, the HP Z200 performed as expected in our tests. I mentioned the cliche “Big things come in small packages” in the introduction to this review, but it bears repeating. With a quad-core Xeon CPU, 8GB of RAM and a discrete – if somewhat weak – video card, the Z200 is a has a lot of potential for use in workstation environments.

We try and step out of bounds when it comes to workstation testing, since they have an obvious different goal in mind than traditional consumer desktops. Still, we run some of the same tests since it gives you, our readers, easy points of comparison to gauge the capabilities of the system. So while we ran some of our usual benchmarks, like Futuremark’s 3DMark and PCMark, we also ran more workstation-inclined tests like those by SPEC.

3DMark06 graphics benchmark test results: (higher is better)

Desktop 3DMark06
Alienware Area-51 ALX (Core i7 960, 2 x ATI HD5970) 22,235 3DMarks
Dell Studio XPS (Core i7 920, ATI HD4850) 13,085 3DMarks
HP Pavilion Elite m9600t (Core i7 920, ATI HD4850) 13,081 3DMarks
AVA Direct GT3 (Core i7 920, ATI HD4850) 13,006 3DMarks
Lenovo ThinkStation S10 (Core 2 Extreme QX6850, NVIDIA FX4600) 10,327 3DMarks
HP Z200 SFF Workstation (Xeon X3460, NVIDIA FX380 LP) 3,314 3DMarks

3DMark Vantage graphics benchmark test results: (higher is better)

Desktop 3DMark Vantage
Alienware Area-51 ALX (Core i7 960, 2 x ATI HD5970) p20883
AVA Direct GT3 (Core i7 920, ATI HD4850) p9834
Dell Studio XPS 8000 (Core i5 750, NVIDIA GTX260) p9458
HP Pavilion Elite m9600t (Core i7 920, ATI HD4850) p7815
Dell Studio XPS (Core i7 920, ATI HD4850) p7603
HP Z200 SFF Workstation (Xeon X3460, NVIDIA FX380 LP) p1125

The low 3DM scores are a result of the weak low-profile graphics card; its CPU score component was 18026.

CrystalDiskMark benchmark test results: (higher is better)

Benchmark HP Z200
Sequential Read 102.002 MB/s
Sequential Write 93.902 MB/s
Random Read 512kB 34.045 MB/s
Random Write 512kB 65.001 MB/s
Random Read 4kB 0.406 MB/s
Random Write 4kB 1.385 MB/s

From SPEC.org:

“The Standard Performance Evaluation Corporation (SPEC) is a non-profit corporation formed to establish, maintain and endorse a standardized set of relevant benchmarks that can be applied to the newest generation of high-performance computers. SPEC develops benchmark suites and also reviews and publishes submitted results from our member organizations and other benchmark licensees.”

In this instance we ran SPEC’s SPECviewperf 10, which is a general workstation/graphics benchmark, and SPECapc for Maya 2009, which is a Maya-specific workstation benchmark. Maya is a 3D rendering program by Autodesk that’s used to create the computer generated imagery you see in some movies and games. As we get more workstations in for review, we’ll be running more and more of these industry-specific tests to give those looking specifically for a workstation the ability to see if it meets their needs.

SPECviewperf 10 64-bit benchmark results: (higher is better)

Viewset Lenovo ThinkPad W510 HP Z200 SFF Workstation
Composite
(no AA)
Composite (no AA) Composite (2x AA) Composite (4x AA) Composite (8x AA) Composite (16x AA) Composite (32x AA)
3dsmax-04 34.51 39.25 34.88 29.83 22.33 13.82 0.62
catia-02 42.86 32.50 31.41 25.81 18.09 11.18 0.61
ensight-03 40.82 26.24 24.24 20.40 14.80 9.09 0.61
maya-02 60.02 58.73 52.80 47.25 36.30 21.12 0.64
proe-04 50.81 41.01 26.78 23.82 18.08 12.06 0.62
sw-01 58.78 44.39 43.33 41.24 33.03 19.71 0.64
tcvis-01 25.93 11.79 11.36 10.18 8.21 5.02 0.55
ugnx-01 23.66 12.02 12.27 10.78 8.84 6.04 0.56

CINEBENCH R10 results: (higher is better)

Benchmark HP xw4600 HP Z200
Single CPU Rendering Test 3469 CB-CPU 4637 CB-CPU
Multiple CPU Rendering Test 12419 CB-CPU 17321 CB-CPU
Shading (OpenGL Standard) 5253 CB-GFX 4964 GB-GFX

CINEBENCH11.5 results:(higher is better)

Benchmark HP Z200
CPU Rendering Test 5.04 fps
OpenGL Rendering Test 8.05 fps

CINEBENCH11.5 comparison results: (higher is better)

Benchmark CPU Rendering Test GPU Rendering Test
Intel Xeon W5590 11.69 fps
Intel Xeon X5570 10.33 fps
AMD Opteron 2435 7.95 fps
Intel Core i7-960 5.48 fps
Intel Core i7-860 5.06 fps
Intel Xeon X3460 5.04 fps
ATI FirePro V8750 48.73 fps
NVIDIA Quadro FX5800 45.52 fps
ATI Radeon HD4850 32.26 fps
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 280M 31.69 fps
ATI Radeon HD4870 29.44 fps
NVIDIA Quadro FX380 LP 8.05 fps

In our tests, the only downside to the Z200 is the graphics card, which, while capable, may not be enough for users who have really incorporated the general-purpose computing on graphics processing units (GPGPU) capabilities of modern graphics cards into their workflow. For everyone else, the lower power, low profile units are probably more than enough.


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