By Nam Tran
If you’ve been thinking about building your own PC workstation, you might want to consider two new options from HP in the form of the HP Z240, which comes in two flavors: the bigger Tower workstation and the Small Form Factor workstation (SFF). The only real differences between the two are size and fewer expansion slots on the SFF, so if you’re looking for a future-proof system, and size is not an issue, the bigger Tower workstation will be the better choice.
HP touts the new HP Z240 as the company’s “most affordable workstation.” Although the only price point known so far is $879, I’m willing to bet editors will need a minimum of a $1,300 configuration, if we use its predecessor, the HP Z230, as reference. Even then, you will probably also need to include a graphics card — either a workstation card or the much more affordable Nvidia gaming card (not included in the factory installed configurations).
The HP Z240 Tower and Z240 SFF offer a choice of future Intel Xeon processor E3-1200 v5 product families, Intel Core, or Intel Pentium processors (three) and two ultra-fast HP Z Turbo Drive G2s. The Z240 offers a choice of Windows 7, Windows 10 or Linux operating systems.
Features of the HP Z240 include:
– A 100 percent increase in max RAM at 64GB DDR4 ECC memory.
– An M.2 slot, which allows the user to attach small form factor devices or SSDs, freeing up a PCIe slot for other parts.
– A USB 3 charging port that you can use even when the workstation is turned off.
– An amazingly convenient dust-filter that you can easily pop off the machine to clean, and then plop it back on.
– Up to 92 percent energy efficient power supply options.
I tried using the $949 configuration of the HP Z230 to estimate what we might expect in the HP Z240 at $879. With only an integrated Intel HD graphics P4600, a 3.3GHz 4-core Intel Xeon proc, and 4GB of ECC RAM, it’s just not quite enough of a starting point for entry level editors. If the new HP Z240 starts out with at least 8GB of ECC RAM for $879, I think that would instantly upgrade the machine to the best workstation for the price point. But you would still need to install your own GPU in order to make it a real workhorse.
Nam Tran is a New York City-based colorist, editor and motion graphic design artist.