The HP Z800 Workstation Review: A Refresh
3dsmax-04 Weighted Geometric Mean = 57.91
catia-02 Weighted Geometric Mean = 69.86
ensight-03 Weighted Geometric Mean = 53.59
maya-02 Weighted Geometric Mean = 212.61
proe-04 Weighted Geometric Mean = 63.40
sw-01 Weighted Geometric Mean = 141.06
ugnx-01 Weighted Geometric Mean = 32.74
tcvis-01 Weighted Geometric Mean = 37.56
I was hoping to include Specapc for 3ds Max in the mix this time, but unfortunately I experienced some puzzling errors that kept the tests from completing. Believe me, I tried.
The 3ds Max Tests
What would a review be without my 3ds Max 8 render tests? In case you're unfamiliar, these are tests run under 3ds Max 8 with no service packs installed. You can look back through some of my older reviews to see the specs on the original Z800 and the xw8600 systems in the following comparison. The new system shaved a full minute and two seconds off the original's score in the Displacement & DOF.max render test, and cut 16 seconds off the Light Gallery test.
Displacement & DOF.max
HP xw8600 - 5:25
HP Z800 (2009) - 4:30
HP Z800 (2010) - 3:28
HP xw8600 - 0:55
HP Z800 (2009) - 0:50
HP Z800 (2010) - 0:34
Final Impressions and Recommendations
After a year, I'm still quite enamored with the Z800's case design. It's an industrial work of art that you'll want to display on top of your desk, rather than underneath it. And if what's inside counts, you have nothing to worry about there.
My two main beefs -- however small-- both revolve around the slot-loading DVD drive. It seemed a little slow transferring data off a CD, and a bit of a pain to eject media, since it had no eject button. I cracked open the case and took a look and it was an eSATA drive, which made me even more curious. That said, performance is not a deal-breaker, especially since USB sticks work better for file transfers anyway.
Previous beefs aside, installing programs is extremely quick -- probably thanks in part to the Z800's 15,000 RPM hard drive. And if speed is key, then this is your system. As the axiom goes, sometimes it really does take money to make money.
Bryan Hoff is a multifaceted artist and writer. A web designer, digital artist and animator, his credits include movie and television effects, online games, 3D corporate animation, Flash and traditional Web site design. His writing credits include articles for LinuxWorld, Element K Journals and InformIT, covering such topics as Photoshop effects, Linux 3D graphics applications, Web and HTML design, RSS feeds and painting with a graphics tablet. Hoff has written eBooks on blogging and Web site creation for beginners and co-authored the book Moving from Windows to Linux.