HP xw4600 workstation review

£1349
Price when reviewed

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On the desktop, HP also includes its PTF (Performance Tuning Framework) application. Launch it and you’re presented with an msconfig-style tabbed window, with tabs including Graphics Driver, Application and OS Tuning options.

The Applications tab is the most interesting. PTF is aware of a raft of workstation applications – Photoshop, Solidworks, 3ds and so on – and can make explicit recommendations about performance and give information on ISV certification of the currently installed graphics driver for that application.

The HP Backup and Recovery tool is simple but effective and gives a little more convenience compared to XP’s standard Backup. You can, for instance, select general classes of files to back up (office documents, images and so on) rather than simply specific locations.

With such a sparse basic specification the xw4600 does no better in the performance stakes than a desktop PC costing half as much, with an overall application benchmark score of 1.45.

In absolute terms though it’s more than capable of handling basic 3D design work, if not very well equipped for rendering the end results as fast as you might like.

You could get yourself a much faster computer than this with just a quick glance at our A List. It would cost less and you’d get a monitor with it too.

But you couldn’t get one with workstation-class graphics or the feeling that HP’s expertise has been applied to make the machine as a whole work as smoothly and reliably as possible. Plus you’d be hard-pressed to match the standard 3-year onsite warranty. Exactly how much value deserves to be attached to those depends on you, but for a mission-critical application they’re compelling features.

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