WORKSTATION HEAT, SOUND, AND POWER USAGE:
LENOVO THINKSTATION S30 VS. HP Z420 WORKSTATION
When selecting a workstation, it’s important to consider how it will
contribute to a reliable and comfortable work environment for the user and
how much electricity it will require. Workstations vary considerably in the
amount of heat and noise they generate and in the amount of power they
consume. A system with a cooler operating temperature helps you two ways: by
being less likely to fail and by requiring less air conditioning to keep the office at
a comfortable temperature. A quieter system provides a more pleasant user
experience and a more power-efficient system lowers your electric bill by using
less electricity and running cooler, which reduces the amount of cooling
required.
In our labs, Principled Technologies (PT) tested the Lenovo ThinkStation
S30 and the HP Z420 Workstation. We found that the Lenovo workstation was
quieter and less power-hungry than the HP workstation while idle and while
under load. These findings show that the Lenovo ThinkStation S30 could
contribute to a reliable user experience and a comfortable office environment
and save on electricity costs.
NOVEMBER 2012
A PRINCIPLED TECHNOLOGIES REPORT
Commissioned by Lenovo
WHICH WORKSTATION MAKES FOR A RELIABLE, PLEASANT,
AND POWER-EFFICIENT WORK ENVIRONMENT?
A workstation that generates more heat and noise and uses more
power than necessary can be more prone to system failure, can be distracting
and uncomfortable for workers, and can boost electricity bills—both because of
the power the system itself draws and the power that additional air
conditioning uses. To determine how two workstations compared on these
fronts, we measured the heat, noise, and power consumption of the Lenovo
ThinkStation S30 and the HP Z420 Workstation.
We performed the tests while the two systems were idle and again
while they were running a heavy workload that consisted of two benchmarks
stressing each system’s hard disk, processor, and memory.
Figure 1 presents highlights of our test results.
Lenovo ThinkStation S30
Heat (degrees Celsius above room temperature)
Rear system fan
1.9
exhaust (idle)
Average of 5 internal
9.4
locations (idle)
Acoustics (decibels)
Idle
24.4
Under load
24.4
Power usage (watts)
Idle
40.2
Under load
86.4
HP Z420 Workstation
Comparison
2.4
26.3% cooler
10.8
14.5% cooler
34.1
34.7
48.9% quieter*
51.0% quieter*
55.9
101.0
Used 28.0% less power
Used 14.5% less power
Figure 1: Test result summary. Lower numbers are better. *For explanation of acoustics comparison, see the
Quieter is Better section below.
For detailed specifications of our test systems, see Appendix A. For
details of our testing, see Appendix B.
Workstation heat, sound, and power usage: Lenovo
ThinkStation S30 vs. HP Z420 Workstation
A Principled Technologies report 2
COOL UNDER PRESSURE
The operating temperatures of computers vary considerably. While one
advantage of a cooler workstation is obvious—no one wants a hot office—
workstations running at cooler temperatures also bring other benefits.
It is well known within the IT industry that operating temperatures
degrade hardware reliability. Excess heat can cause hard drives, CPUs, memory,
and other components to fail. For example, overheating can expand hard drive
platters, causing hard drive failure. At the very least, excess heat can reduce the
drive’s effective operating life. According to a recent Fujitsu white paper, hard
disk manufacturers now suggest cooler operating temperatures for drive
enclosures.1 Because many users fail to back up their data on a regular basis,
adequate ventilation and cooling in a workstation goes a long way to avoiding
problems such as catastrophic data loss due to hard drive failure.
Many workers are not fortunate enough to have control over the
climate in their offices. Not only do workstations with higher operating
temperatures place extra wear on hardware, but they can make an already
warm office even more uncomfortable.
With system reliability and user comfort in mind, we measured the
temperature of several key internal and external spots on the two workstations
while they were idle and while they were running a heavy workload. However,
given that most workstations run 24 hours a day, we believe the most
appropriate measure of thermal performance is the temperature of the air
exiting the rear exhaust when the workstation is idle.
For each of the locations, we measured the temperature three times
and noted the number of degrees Celsius each measurement deviated from the
ambient room temperature. Because the ambient temperature varied
throughout our testing, the temperature difference between the ambient
temperature and the surface temperature we recorded for each system makes
the fairest comparison.
1
http://www.fujitsu.com/downloads/COMP/fcpa/hdd/sata-mobile-ext-duty_wp.pdf
Workstation heat, sound, and power usage: Lenovo
ThinkStation S30 vs. HP Z420 Workstation
A Principled Technologies report 3
QUIETER IS BETTER
Any user, given a choice, would prefer a quiet system to a noisy one. As
Figure 2 shows, the Lenovo ThinkStation S30 was considerably quieter than the
HP Z420 Workstation under both load conditions.
We calculated the difference in perceived volume with the two
workstations using the following formula2 for sound level change:
The change in sound level (L) is related to the ratio for loudness (or
volume) by using the calculated L as follows:
For example, if the level change (L) is 9.7dB, the ratio for loudness is
1.959x, or 95.9 percent louder.
Using this approach, we determined that the HP Z420 Workstation was
95.9 percent louder than the Lenovo ThinkStation S30 when the systems were
idle and 104.2 percent louder when they were under load.
Another way to look at this same data is that the Lenovo ThinkStation
S30 was 48.9 percent quieter than the HP Z420 Workstation when both systems
were idle and 51.0 percent quieter when they were both under load.
Acoustics (lower is better)
40
30
Decibels
Figure 2: The Lenovo
ThinkStation S30 was
quieter than the HP
Z420 Workstation both
when idle and when
under load.
34.7
34.1
35
25
24.4
24.4
20
15
Lenovo
ThinkStation
S30
HP Z420
Workstation
10
5
0
Idle
2
Under load
http://www.sengpielaudio.com/calculator-levelchange.htm
Workstation heat, sound, and power usage: Lenovo
ThinkStation S30 vs. HP Z420 Workstation
A Principled Technologies report 4
LESS POWER USED IS BETTER
A workstation that uses less power saves you money when the electric
bill comes. As Figure 3 shows, the Lenovo ThinkStation S30 used less power than
the HP Z420 Workstation—28.0 percent less when the systems were idle and
14.5 percent less when they were under load. We used an Extech® Power
Analyzer to measure power consumption while the systems were idle and under
load.
Power usage (lower is better)
120
101.0
100
Figure 3: The Lenovo
ThinkStation S30 used
up to 28.0 percent less
power than the HP
Z420 Workstation.
86.4
Lenovo
ThinkStation
S30
Watts
80
55.9
60
40.2
HP Z420
Workstation
40
20
0
Idle
Under load
IN CONCLUSION
A workstation that runs in a quiet and cool manner and uses less power
is a great boon to workers and the companies they work for. In our tests, both
when idle and when under load, the Lenovo ThinkStation S30 ran more quietly
and at lower surface temperatures than the HP Z420 Workstation and used less
power. These findings make the Lenovo ThinkStation S30 an excellent choice for
those who want to provide a reliable, comfortable work environment while
using less power.
Workstation heat, sound, and power usage: Lenovo
ThinkStation S30 vs. HP Z420 Workstation
A Principled Technologies report 5
APPENDIX A: DETAILED SYSTEM CONFIGURATION
Figure 4 presents detailed configuration information for the two systems we tested.
Lenovo S30
ThinkStation
System
General
Number of processor packages
Number of cores per processor
Number of hardware threads per
core
Total number of system threads
System power management
policy
Processor power-saving option
CPU
Vendor
Name
Model number
Stepping
Socket type
Bus/Core Ratio
Core frequency (GHz)
Intel QuickPath Interconnect
Speed
L1 cache
L2 cache
L3 cache
Platform
Vendor
Motherboard model number
Motherboard chipset
BIOS name and version
HP Z420 Workstation
1
4
1
4
1
1
4
4
ThinkCentre Default
Balanced
EIST
EIST
Intel®
Xeon®
E5-1603
M1
LGA2011
2.80
28
Intel
Xeon
E5-1603
M1
LGA2011
2.80
28
0 GT/s
0 GT/s
256 KB (32 KB + 32 KB per core)
1 MB (256 KB per core)
10 MB (shared)
256 KB (32 KB + 32 KB per core)
1 MB (256 KB per core)
10 MB (shared)
Lenovo
Lenovo
Intel C602
Lenovo A0KT39AUS
(08/10/2012)
HP
1589
Intel C602
HP J61 v01.14 (07/17/2012)
Memory module(s)
Vendor and model number
Type
Speed (MHz)
Speed running in the system
(MHz)
Timing/Latency (tCL-tRCD-tRPtRASmin)
Size (MB)
Number of memory module(s)
Micron® MT9JSF25672PZ1G6M1FE
PC3-12800
1600
Samsung M391B5773DH0-CK0
PC3-12800
1600
1600
1600
7-7-7-19
7-7-7-19
2048
1
2048
1
Workstation heat, sound, and power usage: Lenovo
ThinkStation S30 vs. HP Z420 Workstation
A Principled Technologies report 6
Lenovo S30
ThinkStation
System
Total amount of system RAM
(GB)
Chip organization (singlesided/double-sided)
Channel (single/dual/quad)
Hard disk
Vendor and model number
Number of disks in system
Size (GB)
Buffer size (MB)
RPM
Type
Controller
Driver
Operating system
Name
Build number
Service Pack
File system
Kernel
Language
Microsoft DirectX version
Graphics
Vendor and model number
Type
Chipset
BIOS version
Total available graphics memory
(MB)
Dedicated video memory (MB)
System video memory (MB)
Shared system memory (MB)
Resolution
Driver
Sound card/subsystem
Vendor and model number
Driver
HP Z420 Workstation
2
2
Double-sided
Double-sided
Single
Single
Seagate® ST500DM002-1BD14
1
500
16
7,200
SATA 6.0Gb/s
Intel C600 Series Chipset SATA
RAID Controller
Intel 3.2.0.1126 (06/20/2012)
Seagate ST500DM002-1BD14
1
500
16
7,200
SATA 6.0Gb/s
Intel C600 Series Chipset SATA
RAID Controller
Intel 3.1.0.1068 (03/15/2012)
Microsoft® Windows® 7
Professional x64
7601
1
NTFS
ACPI x64-based PC
English
11
Microsoft Windows 7
Professional x64
7601
1
NTFS
ACPI x64-based PC
English
11
NVIDIA® NVS 300
Discrete
NVS 300
70.18.83.0.8
NVIDIA NVS 300
Discrete
NVS 300
70.18.89.0.2
1255
1243
512
0
743
1280 x 1024
NVIDIA 8.17.12.7642
(12/10/2011)
512
0
731
1280 x 1024
NVIDIA 8.17.12.9670
(04/27/2012)
Realtek™ High Definition Audio
Realtek 6.0.1.6581 (02/29/2012)
Realtek High Definition Audio
Realtek 6.0.1.6449 (08/30/2011)
Workstation heat, sound, and power usage: Lenovo
ThinkStation S30 vs. HP Z420 Workstation
A Principled Technologies report 7
Lenovo S30
ThinkStation
System
Ethernet #1
Vendor and model number
Driver
Ethernet #2
Vendor and model number
Driver
Optical drive(s)
Vendor and model number
Type
USB ports
Number
Type
Other
IEEE 1394 ports
Number
Monitor
Type
Screen size (inches)
Refresh rate (Hz)
HP Z420 Workstation
Intel 82579LM Gigabit
Intel 11.15.16.0 (01/11/2012)
Intel 82579LM Gigabit
Intel 11.15.16.0 (01/11/2012)
NA
NA
NA
NA
LG DH40N
DVD-ROM
HP TS-H353C
DVD-ROM
12
10 x USB 2.0, 2 x USB 3.0
Serial port
9
5 x USB 2.0, 4 x USB 3.0
NA
0
2
ViewSonic® VG730m
17
60
ViewSonic VG730m
17
60
Figure 4: System configuration information.
Workstation heat, sound, and power usage: Lenovo
ThinkStation S30 vs. HP Z420 Workstation
A Principled Technologies report 8
APPENDIX B: DETAILED TEST METHODOLOGY
Measuring surface temperature
Test requirements



Fluke® 2680A Data Acquisition System
PassMark BurnInTest Professional
Linpack benchmark
Measuring system temperature and power while idle
Setting up the test
1. Set the power plan to the manufacturer’s default setting. Set the display brightness to 100 percent:
a. Click Start.
b. In the Start menu’s quick search field, type Power Options
c. Move the Screen brightness slider all the way to the right.
2. Set the remaining power plan settings as follows:
 Dim the display: Never
 Turn off the display: Never
 Put the computer to sleep: Never
3. Disable the screen saver.
4. Place the workstation, mouse, keyboard, and display in a windowless, climate-controlled room.
5. Attach a Type T thermocouple to the exterior of the workstation at the following locations:
 Front center
 Top
 Side opposite the motherboard
 Side closest to the motherboard
 Back in center of power supply exhaust
6. Attach a Type T thermocouple to the following locations inside the case:
 On the hard drive
 On the CPU heatsink
 On the VRM FET
 On the chipset heatsink
 On one DIMM
7. Close the case.
8. Configure the Fluke 2680A Data Acquisition System to take measurements from the temperature
probes and one ambient temperature probe using the Fluke DAQ software.
a. Connect the Type T thermocouples to channels in the Fluke Fast Analog Input module (FAI).
b. In the Fluke DAQ software, click each surface temperature channel, select Thermocouple from
the list of Functions, and choose T from the list of ranges.
c. Label each channel with the location associated with each thermocouple.
d. In the Fluke DAQ software, click the ambient temperature channel, select Thermocouple from
the list of Functions, and choose T from the list of ranges.
e. Label this channel Ambient.
9. While running each test, use a Fluke 2680A Data Acquisition System to monitor ambient and
temperature at each interior and exterior point.
Workstation heat, sound, and power usage: Lenovo
ThinkStation S30 vs. HP Z420 Workstation
A Principled Technologies report 9
10. Connect the power cord from the workstation to the Extech Instruments 380803 Power Analyzer’s
DC output load power outlet.
11. Plug the power cord from the Power Analyzer’s DC input voltage connection into a power outlet.
12. Connect a separate host computer to the Power Analyzer using an RS-232 cable. This computer will
monitor and collect the power measurement data.
13. Turn on the Extech Power Analyzer by pressing the green On/Off button.
14. Turn on the host computer.
15. Insert the Extech software installation CD into the host computer, and install the software.
16. Once installed, launch the Extech Power Analyzer software, and configure the correct COM port.
Running the test
1. Boot the system and bring up an elevated command prompt:
 Select Windows Start orb.
 Type cmd and press Control-Shift-Enter.
2. Type Cmd.exe /c start /wait Rundll32.exe
advapi32.dll,ProcessIdleTasks
Do not interact with the system until the command completes.
3. After the command completes, wait 15 minutes before running the test.
4. Start the Fluke 2680A data logger using the Fluke DAQ software, and begin recording power with the
Extech Power Analyzer.
5. Allow the workstation to sit idle for 1 hour.
6. After 1 hour, stop the Fluke 2680A data logger using the Fluke DAQ software, and the Power
Analyzer data logger.
7. Export the thermal measurements to a CSV file. The Power Analyzer creates a CSV file as it collects
that data.
8. Use the thermal measurement CSV file to find and report the highest temperature measured at each
location during the test.
9. Use the Power Analyzer CSV to calculate the average power draw in watts during the test.
10. Power the workstation off for 1 hour, and allow it to return to room temperature.
11. Repeat steps 1 through 9 two more times.
Measuring system temperature and power while under load
Setting up the test
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.
12.
Download PassMark BurnInTest Professional 7.0 from http://www.passmark.com/products/bit.htm.
Double-click bitpro_x64.exe to run setup.
At the Welcome screen, click Next.
Accept the license agreement, and click Next.
At the Choose Install Location screen, accept the default location of C:\Program Files\BurnInTest,
and click Next.
At the Select Start Menu Folder screen, click Next.
At the Ready to Install screen, click Install.
At the Completing the BurnInTest Setup Wizard screen, deselect View Readme.txt, and click Finish to
launch BurnInTest.
At the Purchasing information screen, copy and paste the Username and key, and click Continue.
At the Key accepted screen, click OK.
Select Test selection and duty cycles from the Configuration menu item.
Select CPU, 2D Graphics, 3D Graphics, and Disk(s), and deselect all other subsystems.
Workstation heat, sound, and power usage: Lenovo
ThinkStation S30 vs. HP Z420 Workstation
A Principled Technologies report 10
13. Set load to 100, and click OK.
14. Select Test Preferences from the Configuration menu item and set or verify the following by clicking
on each tab:
 Disk: select C: drive
 Logging: select Turn automatic logging on
 2D Graphics: select All available Video Memory
 3D Graphics: use defaults
 CPU: use defaults
15. Unpack the Linpack benchmark and adjust the number of instances, problem size, and leading
dimension size so that the CPU is at 100% utilization, and the memory is as close to 100% utilization
as possible. We used a batch file to run the number of instances we determined for each
workstation.
Running the test
1. Boot the system and launch PassMark BurnInTest by double-clicking the desktop icon.
2. Bring up an elevated command prompt:
a. Select Windows Start orb.
b. Type cmd and press Control-Shift-Enter.
3. Type Cmd.exe /c start /wait Rundll32.exe
advapi32.dll,ProcessIdleTasks
Do not interact with the system until the command completes.
4. After the command completes, wait 15 minutes before running the test.
5. Click Start Selected Tests in the BurnInTest V7.0 Pro screen, and double-click the Linpack benchmark
batch file.
6. Start the Fluke 2680A data logger using the Fluke DAQ software, and begin recording power with the
Extech Power Analyzer.
7. After 1 hour, stop the Fluke 2680A data logger using the Fluke DAQ software, and the Power
Analyzer data logger.
8. Export the thermal measurements to a CSV file. The Power Analyzer creates a CSV file as it collects
that data.
9. Use the thermal measurement CSV file to find and report the highest temperature measured at each
location during the test.
10. Use the Power Analyzer CSV to calculate the average power draw in watts during the test.
11. Power the workstation off for 1 hour, and allow it to return to room temperature.
12. Repeat the steps 1 through 11 two more times.
Measuring acoustics
Test requirements


Extech SDL600 Sound Level Meter/Datalogger with SD card
PassMark BurnInTest Professional
Measuring acoustics of the workstation while idle
Setting up the test
1. Place the workstation, mouse, keyboard, and display in a windowless, sound-proofed professional
sound booth.
Workstation heat, sound, and power usage: Lenovo
ThinkStation S30 vs. HP Z420 Workstation
A Principled Technologies report 11
2. Set the Extech SDL600 on a tripod so that it is 3 feet in front of, and 2 feet above the workstation.
Running the test
1. Boot the system and bring up an elevated command prompt:
 Select Windows Start orb.
 Type cmd and press Control-Shift-Enter.
2. Type Cmd.exe /c start /wait Rundll32.exe
advapi32.dll,ProcessIdleTasks
Do not interact with the system until the command completes.
3. After the command completes, wait 5 minutes before running the test.
4. Start the Extech SDL600 Sound Level Meter/Datalogger and allow the workstation to sit idle for 1
hour.
5. After 1 hour, stop the Extech SDL600.
6. Power the workstation off for 10 minutes.
7. Copy the log file from the Extech SDL600 SD card.
8. Repeat steps 1 through 7 two more times.
Measuring acoustics of the workstation while under load
Setting up the test
Ensure that PassMark BurnInTest Professional 7.0 and the Linpack benchmark are set up on your
system.
Running the test
1. Boot the system and launch PassMark BurnInTest by double-clicking the desktop icon.
2. Bring up an elevated command prompt:
 Select Windows Start orb.
 Type cmd and press Control-Shift-Enter.
3. Type Cmd.exe /c start /wait Rundll32.exe
advapi32.dll,ProcessIdleTasks
Do not interact with the system until the command completes.
4. After the command completes, wait 15 minutes before running the test.
5. Click Start Selected Tests in the BurnInTest V7.0 Pro screen, double-click the Linpack benchmark
batch file, and start the Extech SDL600 Sound Level Meter/Datalogger.
6. After 1 hour, stop the Extech SDL600.
7. Power the workstation off for 10 minutes.
8. Copy the log file from the Extech SDL600 SD card.
9. Repeat steps 1 through 8 two more times.
Measuring power consumption
To record each workstation’s power consumption during each test, we used an Extech
Instruments (www.extech.com) 380803 Power Analyzer/Datalogger. We connected the power cord
from the server under test to the Power Analyzer’s output load power outlet. We then plugged the
power cord from the Power Analyzer’s input voltage connection into a power outlet.
Workstation heat, sound, and power usage: Lenovo
ThinkStation S30 vs. HP Z420 Workstation
A Principled Technologies report 12
We used the Power Analyzer’s Data Acquisition Software (version 2.11) to capture all
recordings. We installed the software on a separate Intel processor-based PC, which we connected to
the Power Analyzer via an RS-232 cable. We captured power consumption at one-second intervals.
We then recorded the power usage (in watts) for each system during the testing at 1-second
intervals. To compute the average power usage, we averaged the power usage during the time the
system was producing its peak performance results.
Workstation heat, sound, and power usage: Lenovo
ThinkStation S30 vs. HP Z420 Workstation
A Principled Technologies report 13
ABOUT PRINCIPLED TECHNOLOGIES
Principled Technologies, Inc.
1007 Slater Road, Suite 300
Durham, NC, 27703
www.principledtechnologies.com
We provide industry-leading technology assessment and fact-based
marketing services. We bring to every assignment extensive
experience with and expertise in all aspects of technology testing
and analysis, from researching new technologies, to developing new
methodologies, to testing with existing and new tools.
When the assessment is complete, we know how to present the
results to a broad range of target audiences. We provide our clients
with the materials they need, from market-focused data to use in
their own collateral to custom sales aids, such as test reports,
performance assessments, and white papers. Every document
reflects the results of our trusted independent analysis.
We provide customized services that focus on our clients’ individual
requirements. Whether the technology involves hardware,
software, Web sites, or services, we offer the experience, expertise,
and tools to help our clients assess how it will fare against its
competition, its performance, its market readiness, and its quality
and reliability.
Our founders, Mark L. Van Name and Bill Catchings, have worked
together in technology assessment for over 20 years. As journalists,
they published over a thousand articles on a wide array of
technology subjects. They created and led the Ziff-Davis Benchmark
Operation, which developed such industry-standard benchmarks as
Ziff Davis Media’s Winstone and WebBench. They founded and led
eTesting Labs, and after the acquisition of that company by
Lionbridge Technologies were the head and CTO of VeriTest.
Principled Technologies is a registered trademark of Principled Technologies, Inc.
All other product names are the trademarks of their respective owners.
Disclaimer of Warranties; Limitation of Liability:
PRINCIPLED TECHNOLOGIES, INC. HAS MADE REASONABLE EFFORTS TO ENSURE THE ACCURACY AND VALIDITY OF ITS TESTING,
HOWEVER, PRINCIPLED TECHNOLOGIES, INC. SPECIFICALLY DISCLAIMS ANY WARRANTY, EXPRESSED OR IMPLIED, RELATING TO
THE TEST RESULTS AND ANALYSIS, THEIR ACCURACY, COMPLETENESS OR QUALITY, INCLUDING ANY IMPLIED WARRANTY OF
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WITH PRINCIPLED TECHNOLOGIES, INC.’S TESTING. CUSTOMER’S SOLE AND EXCLUSIVE REMEDIES ARE AS SET FORTH HEREIN.
Workstation heat, sound, and power usage: Lenovo
ThinkStation S30 vs. HP Z420 Workstation
A Principled Technologies report 14