HP Z220 convertible mini tower

28 January 2013

Specifications for this machine make it limited to 2D or basic 3D work.

Product HP Z220
Company name HP
Price £768

This convertible mini tower (CMT) is not the only machine in HP’s Z220 range.

Its little brother, the Z220 Small Form Factor (SFF), offers a similar spec, but limits the expandability and graphics so it can cram everything into a compact chassis.

With this in mind, it was a touch disappointing that our test machine didn’t come with an add-in GPU board, relying instead on Intel’s HD Graphics P4000, the low-end GPU that’s embedded within the quad core Intel Xeon E3-1225v2 CPU.

Our benchmarks confirmed that Intel still has a long way to go before its GPUs can be considered a serious option for 3D CAD.

In SolidWorks 2013 for example, performance could be boosted three-fold, simply by adding a £100 AMD FirePro V4900 GPU. The Intel GPU is also limited in its CAD software certifications, with nowhere near the same number of applications as there are with a professional GPU from AMD or Nvidia.

The system memory may be high-quality ECC (Error Correcting Code) RAM, but with only 4GB in total our test machine struggled during our multi-tasking CAM test, slowing right down when running three tests at the same time.

With the system running out of memory, data has to be swapped to the 7,200RPM hard drive leading to a big hit in performance. Swapping 4GB of ECC for 8GB non-ECC would be shrewd move here.

All of these limitations take the shine off what is otherwise a well-built entry-level machine. But with this particular spec the Z220 is really limited to 2D or entry-level 3D work. And at this price many CAD users would expect a little bit more.

To view comparative scores from other workstations please click here
For details of all our specific CAD/CAM/CAE benchmarks click here

Specifications

» Intel Xeon E3-1225v2 (3.2GHz) (4 cores)
» 4GB 1,600 MHz DDR3 ECC
» Intel HD Graphics P4000
» 1TB 7,200RPM SATA
» HP motherboard (Intel PCH C216 chipset)
» 3 year limited warranty including parts, labour, and next-business-day onsite service

CPU benchmarks

(secs - smaller is better)
CAD (SolidWorks 2010) - N/A
CAM (Delcam PowerMill 2010) - 1) 187 2) 298 3) 470
CAE (SolidWorks 2010 Simulation) - 121
Rendering (3ds Max Design 2011) - 316

Graphics benchmarks

(bigger is better)
CAD (SolidWorks 2010) - N/A
CAD (SolidWorks 2013) - 14
CAD (Creo 2.0 - SPEC) - 1.06

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