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When I was growing up in suburban Long Island, N.Y., my best friend's older brother -- who seemed to be born with a wrench in his hand -- was fitting an old Ford Pinto with a 289 cubic-inch V-8 engine. By the time he was done, that car could literally do wheelies. But looking at the car with its hood down as it rolled through our quiet neighborhood, you'd never suspect what it could do with the power tucked away under few square feet of sheet metal.
That Pinto came to mind as I tested the 15 x 13.5 x 4-inch Z210 Small Form Factor Workstation that Hewlett Packard sent the CRN Test Center this week for review. Expecting small performance from a small box, what we found was something else entirely.
The first thing to impress us was the Z210's boot time. Out of the box, the machine went from powered-off to ready-to-launch-apps in just 26 seconds. Chalk that up, in part, to a 160-GB Intel solid state drive, which is standard equipment in the high-end model that we tested. Also helping to keep boot time short is an unusually short power-on self test (POST) delay. So short, in fact, that HP has published a support advisory with instructions for increasing the POST delay duration. Apparently there were enough complaints from service technicians whose reflexes were slower than those of the cat-like Z210.
Even more impressive were the Z210's Geekbench scores. With Windows set for maximum performance, testers fired up the 64-bit version of Geekbench 2.1.13 and recorded the fastest score from five test runs of 10006. That's faster than many servers we've tested, and 23 percent faster than the 7695 score of an HP Z200 Workstation tested in April 2010. We attribute much of that performance increase to the processor speed bump; last year's quad-core Xeon was running at 2.28 GHz; this year's is at 3.3 GHz.