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The HP Z420 Workstation is eminently expandable, with space for two more optical drives, one additional hard drive, another PCIe x16 graphics card, two PCIe x8 cards (one PCIe gen2, one PCIe gen3), one PCIe x4 card, and an old-school PCI card slot for good measure. There are four memory DIMM slots free (the system can handle up to 64GB), and seven SATA ports to support more drives than can fit in the chassis. It’s a lot of space, fitting for a mainstream workstation PC. There’s a 600W power supply to run it all. The case lid, card slots, optical drive bays, and the sleds for the hard drives are all tool-less. You won’t need a screwdriver to install most upgrades. On the whole the system is easy to upgrade and service.
The system’s outer I/O ports are also impressive, with five USB 2.0 ports and four USB 3.0 ports mixed among the front and back panel of the system. There are also two FireWire 400 ports (one front, one back) to support older drives you need to grab data from. A pair of PS/2 ports will support that mouse and keyboard that you just can’t work without. The four USB 3.0 ports are capable of 5Gpbs transfers, over ten times faster than the 480/400Mpbs you’d get from the older USB 2.0 or FireWire 400 technologies.
The Z420 we looked at came with a quad-core Intel Xeon E5-1620 processor running at 3.6GHz stock speed. In addition to the 16GB of system memory, the Z420 came equipped with a 256GB SSD as the primary C: drive and a 1TB 7,200 rpm SATA hard drive as the data storage drive. The SSD helps speed everyday drive operations like opening applications, booting the system, and some file transfers. The data drive will help your graphics or engineering folk create scratch disks or keep large files local for immediate access to current projects.