About two years ago, I bought a 5 year old used HP Z440 workstation with a 6 core Xeon E5-1650 v4, 32 GB of RAM and an Nvidia M2000 graphics card for around 800 euros. At the time I wanted to have some CPU processing power with little noise and an Nvidia graphics card that could do H.264 video encoding and decoding in hardware. This turned out to be a great investment, as I use the workstation daily to run a number of computing intensive virtual machines and also make good use of the hardware video encoder, all with pretty much zero noise emission from below the desk. By now, the hardware is about 7 years old and one would think that even refurbishers would be out of stock by now and sell the system at a significantly lower price. Turns out that this is not the case.
When I recently got a newsletter from my preferred refurbished PC dealer, they still had the Z440 on sale, and still for 800 euros. The specs were pretty much the same, they just added a 256 GB SSD and exchanged the Nvidia M2000 for an M4000 model. A 256 GB SSD only costs a few euros these days and the M4000 is unlikely to H.264 encode videos any faster than the M2000, as even the latest and greatest Nvidia graphics cards are not endcoding videos any faster.
I have to admit, I’m a bit baffled that they still find customers for 7 year old workstations at this price. From a CPU performance point of view it’s still doing quite ok, the CPU performs at about the same speed as the AMD Ryzen U4750 CPU in my two year old notebook. But from a workstation CPU point of view, it’s not competitive anymore. The 12th generation Intel 12800H CPU in that high performance Dell notebook I recently reviewed runs about twice as fast, even when throttled to 45 watts. So at this price, I don’t think I’d go for it again today. However, a quick search on the net revealed that also other vendors are selling refurbished Z440’s at this price point. Interesting!