I decided to make the leap to Kaby Lake as my 8-year-old build started giving stability issues.
Unlike previous builds, this time I decided to buy a HP Z240 workstation, my first ever desktop PC purchase. My workplace has been using HP PCs over the past 10 years and they have been very reliable and quiet running. I was getting very close to buying a slimline PC (that goes under the monitor), but in the end chose a full size tower.
The Z240 series is the HP entry level range, but more than adequate for my needs. The configuration I chose has an Intel i7 7700K, 16GB RAM, 256GB SSD, a 4TB hard disk and Windows 10 Pro. Its PCI3 Expansion bays include 2 x16 bays (1 x4 mode), 1 x4, 1 x1 and 1 M.2 (x4 mode). Back interfaces include 4x USB3, 2x USB2, 2x DisplayPort and 1x DVI-D. Personally, I would have liked more USB slots on the back as I have all 6 used, then again a lot of PCs surprisingly still come with just 2 USB3 slots, e.g. most Fujitsu models. On the front, it has 2x USB3, 2x USB2, SD (UHS-II) reader, headphones & mic and surprisingly, a laptop-style DVDRW drive. It also has 2 unused 5.25” bays, so I’ll likely get an M-Disc capable BD drive later.
My first impression of turning it on was reaching back down to turn it on again! I cannot hear it without putting my head to the rear of it. So far I haven’t heard any fan sound, even throughout the Windows Creators Update. Of course, I’ve yet to try some video encoding… One thing I always liked about most branded PCs is the POST time. This PC is no exception and it appears to fully boot to the desktop quicker than what my old Gigabyte board took to complete the POST stage.
As this is a business grade PC, it comes with minimal software, i.e. Windows 10 Pro with drivers preinstalled and a HP recovery tool. There’s no other non-Windows software or bloat that I can see. With what looks like a clean Windows installation, I decided not to do my own clean installation.
My old PC it replaced was built mid-2009. It has a Core i5 750, Gigabyte (GA-P55A-UD3P I think), 12GB RAM, a SanDisk Ultra II 480GB SSD and 4 hard disks (1TB, 2x2TB and 3TB). It has been my longest lasting build to date and I probably would have continued using it another year or two had it remained stable. Over the past few months, it started giving stability issues with its interfaces. Every day or two, a USB port would randomly drop out, so an external HDD, Wi-Fi, etc. would randomly cut out. Even the on-board Ethernet port randomly dropped out. Sometimes even a reboot didn't re-enable all the ports or resulted in another port not working.
It will interesting to see whether this one lasts another 8 years…