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Results: 3D Modeling And Digital Audio

HP Z1 Workstation: High-End Hardware In An All-In-One
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NewTek LightWave 3D 11.5

Even though LightWave 3D 11.6 is now available, we're running 11.5 to keep our comparison data consistent for a bit longer.

The LightWave rendering results are very close; HP's Z1 manages a lead between 0.5 and 1.5 percent. Considering that the 100 MHz speed difference between the two CPUs only accounts for about 2% of their total frequency, the outcome is in-line with what we'd expect.

Difference between both GPUs affects preview speeds in LightWave as well. The Z1's higher-clocked CPU gives it an edge in this largely single-threaded test, allowing us to clearly see the difference between GPUs without a bottleneck in the way.

Meanwhile, HP's Z1 blows the doors off of the baseline machine in LightWave's Modeler test. We've seen this pattern before. A slight increase in memory bandwidth and a better GPU make all the difference. In essence, we're illustrating the impact of memory bandwidth and graphics performance on user-interface operations within LightWave 3D's Modeler.

E-on Vue 11 PLE

As we saw in LightWave 3D, the landscape render results in Vue show the Z1 two percent faster than our baseline configuration. The workload is entirely processor-bound; the way we'd push higher performance would be through a six- or eight-core processor operating at higher clock rates.

Blender

Meanwhile, Blender indicates slightly less than a 0.5 percent difference.

Thesycon DPCLat

Thesycon's DPCLat measures total system latency. These are very good results, suggesting the Z1's potential suitability as a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW).

Tom's Score

The outcome of this test is split. At 44.1 kHz, the Z1 comes out faster, while at 192 kHz, it's slightly slower. We're reminded just how similar the CPUs in both machines really are.

DAWBench 2012 RXC

DAWBench tells a different story. The baseline machine outperforms the Z1 at all three latency settings. At higher latencies, the two systems get closer together, again reflecting the similarities between their CPUs.

The Z1's poor DAWBench results can likely be attributed to HP's use of a JMicron FireWire chipset instead of the VIA silicon inside iBuyPower's baseline machine (or other brands known for solid performance, such as Texas Instruments). This is made more ironic by HP's reliance on TI for enabling USB 3.0 support.

When we take these results and consider that an audio professional won't need the Z1 display's expanded capability, the second-gen version of this all-in-one starts looking like a better option. Plus, the newer model sports a Thunderbolt option, which can be connected to either a Thunderbolt audio interface or a Thunderbolt-to-FireWire adapter.

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