- Runs reasonably cool
- Not too loud
- Compact size may limit configurability
- Limited expansion options
A solid entry-level workstation option; good for users craving stability.
They say good things come in small packages, and HP’s Z220 SFF WorkStation is no exception. HP’s diminutive powerhouse packs a big performance punch into a SFF (Small Form Factor) housing that is some 65% smaller than the typical workstation tower. Powered by your choice of Intel’s Xeon E3-1200 family of processors or Intel’s Core i3/i5/i7 processors, the HP Z220 SFF offers a multitude of configuration options that are housed in a quiet, tool-free chassis.
HP is positioning the Z220 SFF Workstation series as an entry level workstation system, which is end-user serviceable, as well as upgradeable. However, the SFF design does limit expansion and add-on options. The Z220 can be configured with a variety of Intel processors, optional SSDs, supports as much as 32 GB of ram, 4 TB of storage and can come equipped with either Intel HD Graphics or NVIDIA Quardro 600 Pro 3D graphics. The Z220 also has room for Dual NVIDIA NVS 310 2D graphics as well. Other primary features include Intel vPro support, Intel Smart Response Technology, four USB 3.0 ports and a power supply that HP claims offers 90% efficiency.
HP sent over a nicely equipped Z220 SFF for testing, featuring an Intel Panther Point Chipset, Intel E3-1245V2 3.4Ghz Xeon (Sandy Bridge) processor, 8 GB of DDR3-1600 ECC ram, 256 GB SSD, 16X DVD+-RW SuperMulti SATA optical drive and NVIDIA Quadro 600 graphics. The test unit bordered on the high end of available configurations and featured what most professionals would want in a high performance workstation.
With a retail price of about $2,100, the HP Z220 SFF (as configured) is a little on the pricey side, however the unit does come with a 3 Year Warranty, 24×7 support, Windows 7 Pro 64-bit, and a standard keyboard and mouse. Entry level units with Core i3 processors and Intel graphics can be had for under $1000, so price is really a question of value and HP seems to be quite competitive with high-end PC makers, at least when it comes to features and options offered on a workstation-class system.
Design and Performance
The HP Z220 SFF offers several design innovations – first and foremost is the tool-less case, which can be opened and serviced in just a matter of minutes. That proves to be very handy for technicians, but could be a concern in an environment where components may “go missing”. The case can be secured to prevent that from happening, but that becomes another expense and hassle. Other innovations in the design include noise reduction, the Z220 SFF is almost silent in its operation and a custom BIOS reduces power consumption, without impacting performance.