Anyone who has ever tried to show a client a DVD of a project on a PC workstation while running a power-demanding software can tell you horror stories about how the DVD can start skipping frames and the software show signs of major weakness. This problem is caused by CPU trying to handle a challenging multi-tasking function. But all of us should forgive Intel, the maker of all those processors as its new Pentium 4, 3.06 GHz has resolved this problem. I can testify to this because I tried a few difficult multi-tasking operations on HP xw 5000 that comes with the new processor, and the system passed with flying colors. The 3.06 GHz Hyper-Threading technology lets the software packages view this CPU as two CPUs. Of course you really need Windows XP or Linux operating systems to benefit from this Hyper-Threading feature of Pentium 4, 3.06 GHz.
The HP xw 5000 workstation I tested also came with 1 GB of RAM, a 120 GB hard drive, a DVD ROM, a DVD RW, four USB ports on the back, two USB ports in front and a Fire Wire port.
My hat goes off to the HP engineers for their superb design of the xw 5000 box. It is very easy to access and modify for expansion. The cooling system works perfectly, and I never detected any problems or experienced any crashes during the two weeks that I used the system for this review.
To check the xw 5000 performance, I installed Adobe Photoshop 7, Macromedia MX Studio, Imagineer mokey 2, Discreet 3ds max 5.1 and Maxon Cinema 4D 8 XL bundle. All these programs performed fast and free from any problems or crashes. For example when I was working on a sophisticated 3ds max scene, I was also burning a DVD of a video project, and neither of the tasks was slowed down. My rendering time in both max and Cinema 4D was reduced compared to the time required on a Pentium 4, 2.5 GHz. A part of this great performance is due to the use of the NVIDIA Quadro4 980 XGL graphic card that comes with 120 MB of RAM.
Good News: You can configure your own HP xw 5000 by determining the speed of the processor, kind of operating system, size of the drive(s) and type and quantity of all its other components. This means you can fit your system to your budget and goals.
Wish List: Small video and animation post shops will welcome the chance to buy a video-ready and animation-ready HP systems.
The Bottom Line: The system I tested, a HP xw 5000 (Pentium 4 3.06 GHz, one GIG of RAM, 120 GB hard drive, DVD ROM, DVD+RW, NVIDIA Quadro4 980 XGL) with all its other components has a price tag of $3,637. Add a few software packages and a digital camcorder to this system, and you’ll have a studio right in your room.
Web address: www.hp.com
Final Score: *****
Seal of Excellence of Animation Magazine
Ease of Use: *****
Ease of modification and Maintenance: *****