HP Z840 Workstation
By   |  July 13, 2015

The HP Z840 is a high-end workstation desktop made for hypercritical engineering and scientific tasks and projects. Its dual octo-core Intel Xeon processors and Nvidia Quadro K4200 graphics are equipped to help you evaluate multiple scenarios.

Whether you are trying to differentiate between natural gas and crude oil pockets 10,000 meters below a raging sea, rendering and comparing images from a series of MRI scans, or seeing how a thunderstorm will disrupt the laminar flow over an airliner’s wing. The Z840 has the power to perform all these tasks.

Design and Features
High-end workstations are massive overkill for most clerical and sales workers. The Z840’s base configuration is a $2,399 model with a single Xeon processor, regular hard drive, and doesn’t come with a graphics card. Our review unit is configured with two Intel Xeon E5-2667 v3 octo-core processors, 32GB of DDR4 memory (up to 512GB), an Nvidia Quadro K4200 graphics card, and two 256GB M.2 PCIe-based solid-state drives (SSDs). Even with all these components (and multiple cooling fans), the system is as quiet as a library reading room.

Build and inside space : big
The interior is impressive. Since the rack-mountable tower is big—21 by 17.5 by 8 inches (HWD)—it has lot of room inside the case. There’s space for adding four more 3.5-inch hard drives on easily removable sleds, two open optical drive bays, and plenty of free SATA and Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) ports to support those drives. There’s an additional PCIe x16 card slot for a second graphics card, one PCIe x8 (x16 physical) slot, and one PCIe x1 slot for lower-bandwidth cards like a wireless networking card. The system comes with a 1,125-watt power supply, so you’re all set to add another high-end graphics card and several hard drives. It’s easy to get in and replace everything. The air-cooling duct covers are easily removed and marked with dark green handles, and everything short of the CPUs and motherboard are tool-less.

Ports : plenty!
On the ports side, there are audio line-in and line-out ports, a DVI port and two DisplayPorts on the Quadro card, two Ethernet ports, two PS/2 ports for older keyboards and mice, two USB 2.0 ports, and eight USB 3.0 ports (four in front, four in back). The Thunderbolt 2 card has a Thunderbolt 2 port, as well as a DisplayPort input, so you can daisy-chain a Thunderbolt display to your Thunderbolt drives and devices. A DVD burner helps with older, archived data retrieval and program installation. The only thing missing is an HDMI port, but you can connect those to the Quadro card via a DisplayPort adapter. One of the two installed 256GB SSD is set up as a boot drive, while the other acts as a data drive. That lets you choose to use the data drive as local file storage or as a scratch drive for workstation apps. The CPUs and graphics cards are ISV-certified for a plethora of apps.

Performance
HP Z840 The Z840’s dual Xeon processors are built on the fourth-generation Haswell-EP architecture. They support DDR4 memory, and worked with the 4GB Nvidia Quadro K4200 graphics card to give stellar results on the benchmark tests. The system’s CineBench score of 2,526 points is the highest we’ve seen on so far. That means if you need multithreaded, processor-intensive computing power, choose the Z840. The HP workstation was also quite fast on our Handbrake (35 seconds), and on our Photoshop CS6 (3 minutes) test. The Quadro K4200 graphics card is designed more for precision graphics than outright animation speed, but can be replaced at order time.

With its combination of high-end processor performance, expandability, and new technologies, like DDR4 memory and Thunderbolt 2, the HP Z840 is the pinnacle of high-end performance. It has all the bells and whistles that an engineer and their supporting IT staff would need.

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