Build and Power Consumption

Where I think the HP Z420 winds up really losing step with the Dell Precision T3600 (and where HP's current workstation lineup loses step with Dell's pending update) is build quality. The Z420 isn't badly built, but not much seems to have changed in some time. It's easy to rest on your laurels when you're on top, and that seems to be the case with

The side panel pops off via a quick-release lever, and most of the individual parts are accessible via internal quick-release levers. Our Xeon is also cooled with a custom liquid-cooling solution (required with this upgrade), but HP sticks with an 80mm fan instead of moving up to a potentially more powerful (and quieter) 120mm fan, wasting some of the radiator surface area.

I personally prefer the internal layout of Dell's Precision T3600, with its easily swappable power supply and just generally cleaner interior design, but where HP wins and Dell loses out is memory capacity: the Z420 sports the full eight DIMM slots that Sandy Bridge-EP supports, while the T3600 is forced to make do with just four.

Gallery: HP Z420

Unfortunately for HP, Dell's system looks better and is ultimately easier to service. The best thing HP has to compete with the sturdy aluminum handles built into the Dell chassis is a $30 upgrade to a service handle that occupies the top optical bay. Clearly the money is in enterprise, but a $30 handle is the kind of thing you expect to see on a government expense report.

Idle Power Consumption

Load Power Consumption

HP's system is also a lot less efficient than Dell's under load. The idle difference isn't major and can probably be chalked up to the extra pair of hard drives in Dell's build. Unfortunately, under load the extra 20 watts off of the processor, the closed-loop liquid cooler, and the four extra DIMMs all seem to take their pound of flesh. I have a hard time believing that accounts for a full sixty watts of power; HP may need to go back and tinker with their power supply.

Workstation Performance Conclusion: The Times Change for HP
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  • Grandpa - Monday, May 21, 2012 - link

    From a company that touts itself as INVENT comes a computer like all the others. When I first saw this review I thought I was looking at a PC from 1996. Just seems like they should be able to do better by now.
  • pelle2012 - Wednesday, May 23, 2012 - link

    Wouldnt the Z420 perform better than the t3600, when configured with full memory (64GB)?
    The HP one would have 2 x 8GB on each channel, compared to 1 x 16GB on the Dell one.
  • ghost6007 - Wednesday, May 23, 2012 - link

    Who unearthed this from the 1990's garbage dump?

    The innards can be all powerful and the performance can be scorching but the design! The design would probably relegate this to be used a god dammed footstool in a modern office.
  • yashooa - Monday, July 16, 2012 - link

    Some of you act as if you are about to attend the ball and the Z420 is your party dress.
    I have both the T3600 and the Z420 in my lab in identical configurations and I will take the additional memory capacity and bandwidth over aesthetics.
    Plus HP has offered the Z420 to us at a substantially lower price than Dell has with the T3600.
    Not only have they undercut Dell on the price they have installed more RAM as well.
    Most of our tech savvy users know that the T3500 had 6 DIMMS and T3600 only has 4 and when you use 24GB of RAM as a standard it can a lot more expensive when you have half as many DIMM slots to populate. We have to use ECC in this platform (we used non-ECC in the T3500) so when you have to buy 8GB DIMMs instead of 4GB DIMMs the cost goes up dramatically. We then have justify the cost increase to the business and the justification of "well it has a prettier case than the HP" just doesn't cut it.

  • paeratyo - Monday, March 30, 2015 - link

    I am now looking for this HPZ420. Anybody suggest me where can i get it?

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