HP Announces a New Affordable Workstation

HP offers a new, affordable workstation to cut down hardware overhead.

One of the most daunting hurdles that faces both the bootstrapping engineer and the all-seeing firm is the cost of workstations. With prices for workstations regularly reaching $3-5K (and the sky’s really the limit, you could deck out a machine to cost $10K plus), a major financial investment has to made for every member of a drafting and design team.

So, it should come as some relief that HP has announced a new workstation, the HP Z240, and is positioning the machine as an affordable solution to hardware overhead.

In an announcement, HP shied away from adding any concrete specs to its new machine, however, after taking a look at HP’s I found that for $1084.05 an engineer could walk away with a workstation that sports this hardware:

  • Intel Core i5-6500 3.2 GHz (up to 3.6 GHz) 6M 4C TWR CPU
  • 4 GB DDR4-2133 nECC (1×4 GB) Unbuffered RAM
  • 500 GB 7200 RPM SATA 1st Hard Drive
  • Intel HD Graphics 530 (Core i3/i5/i7 CPUs) – PCIe

While those stats aren’t anything to scoff at, as someone who uses photo and video editing software, CAD packages like AutoCAD, SOLIDWORKS, Fusion 360 and more, I think I’d want a little more meat on the bone (even if it is just for the sake of my system’s longevity).

So, what would my ideal for an HP Z240 configuration be (provided we take into account the precarious teetering of price vs. performance)? I think I’d go for something more akin to this:

  • Intel Xeon E3-1245v5 3.5 GHz (up to 3.9 GHz) 8 MB GT2 4C 80W TWR CPU
  • 16 GB DDR4-2133 ECC (2×8 GB) Unbuffered RAM
  • 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 8 GB 1st Solid-State
  • NVIDIA Quadro K620 2 GB DL-DVI(I)+DP 1st No display cables included Graphics – PCIe

My configuration will run an engineer $1,644.69. Not a steal per se, but you’re getting a lot more power, better graphics capabilities, a significantly larger memory capacity and really quick file access. So, even with my beefed-up configuration, it has to be said that HP’s Z240 is making a compelling argument for being an affordable workstation solution.

In addition to its affordability, the HP Z240 has been vetted by undergoing Independent Software Vendor (ISV) stress tests against Autodesk’s Revit software and AutoCAD (though I would have liked to see an MCAD app thrown in for good measure). In those test the Z240 “performed 13 percent faster for Autodesk Revit and 12 percent faster for AutoCAD.”

According to HP, the Z240 is available now.