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HP's Z400 Workstation Runs The Tom's Hardware Gauntlet

HP's Z400 Workstation

The HP Z400 is the company's baseline single-socket workstation in the Z series. Below it is the smaller Z200 (and the even smaller Z200 Small Form Factor). Above it are the Z600 dual-processor workstation and the top-of-the-line Z800.

The Z400 uses Intel Xeon W35xx and W36xx processors running on a motherboard equipped with Intel's X58 Express chipset, while the Z200 uses the Intel 3450 chipset. The Z600 and Z800 use Intel's 5520, which is necessary to support dual-socket configurations. All of the Z-series systems are capable of using unbuffered 1333 MT/s DDR3 SDRAM, but come configured by default with 1333 MT/s ECC registered DDR3 SDRAM.

The Z-series enclosures were designed by the BMW Designworks in California. They're reasonably attractive (insofar as professional enclosures go) and essentially tooless cases. Levers and tabs retain most components, and the hard drives are held in by a pull-tab with rubber grommet-lined screws in the sides of each drive. These screws are the only parts requiring a tool when it comes to switching out components. The stock CPU cooler is actually supplied by Cooler Master.

All of the systems in the Z-series, except the Z200 SFF, are sized to fit into 19” racks, and there are rack mounting accessories available. The systems are all designed for front-to-back airflow, and only the Gen 1 Z400 (which is used for this review) is not shrouded to direct airflow inside the case. They all use 85% efficient power supplies, and were specifically architected for better acoustics than their predecessors from the xw-series. The fans on this machine were only slightly audible when the machine was under full load, though you can manually add quite a bit of fan noise by going into the BIOS and configuring the cooling subsystem for maximum duty cycle.

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HP Z400 Specifications
CPUIntel Xeon W3520 processor, 2.66 GHz, 8 MB Shared L3 cache
CoolerCooler Master HL5-NWDSB-X1-GP
MotherboardHP Z400 motherboard, Intel X58/ICH10R Chipset, LGA 1366
RAMMicron 2 GB DDR3-1333 CAS 9 (x 3)
GraphicsAMD FirePro V5700 512 MB (RV730), 700 MHz GPU, 900 MHz GDDR3 memory
Hard DrivesSeagate Barracuda 7200.12 250 GB, 7200 RPM, 8 MB cache, SATA 3Gb/s2 x Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 1TB, 7200 RPM, 32 MB cache, SATA 3Gb/s in RAID 0 configuration
SoundCreative Labs X-Fi Titanium PCIe
NetworkIntegrated Broadcom 5764 PCIe LOMController
PowerDelta Electronics DPS-475CB-1A, 475W, 80 PLUS, Active PFC
OpticalHP Super Multi DVD Rewriter GL15L
OSWindows 7 Professional x64
Graphics Driver8.723.0.0
Audio Driver2.17.007
ASIO DriverASIO4All v.2.10 Beta 1
MouseHP USB Optical Scroll Mouse
KeyboardHP USB Standard Keyboard
Warranty and Price
Warranty3 years parts, labor and on-site
Price As Configured$3,298.00

Since the Z400 uses its own HP-sourced motherboard, we’ll need to look at that as an item also.

HP Z400 Motherboard Features
ChipsetIntel X58 Express
Motherboard RevGen 1
BIOS786G3 v.3.07
Internal Interfaces
DDR3 Memory Slots4 (triple-channel; slots 3 and 4 are the same channel), Gen 2 boards have six memory slots
PCIe x162 (x16/x16)
PCIe x1/x40/2 (1 PCIe 1.0, 1 PCIe 2.0)
Legacy PCI2
USB 2.02 (four ports)
Serial Port1
Parallel PortNone
Ultra ATA-133None
SATA 3Gb/s6
SATA 6Gb/sNone
4-pin Fan6 (CPU, front and rear case fans, HP Liquid Cooling option connector, two additional)
S/PDIF AudioNone
Power ButtonNo
Reset ButtonNo
CLR_CMOS ButtonYes
Diagnostics PanelNo
I/O Panel Connectors
USB 2.06
Serial Port1 (Optional, uses motherboard header)
CLR_CMOS ButtonNone
Digital Audio I/ONone
Analog Audio3
Mass Storage Controllers
Chipset SATA6 x 3Gb/s
Chipset RAID Modes0, 1, 5, 10
HD Audio CodecRealtek ALC262 Audio