HP offers CAD workstations on subscription

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HP Z240 SFF – now available to rent.

HP is giving small to medium design and engineering firms the chance to rent their workstations through its new HP Subscription program.

Rather than having to pay for workstation hardware upfront customers pay a low monthly fee for the duration of the subscription period.

Contracts range from 12 to 60 months and include helpdesk services, support and optional next business day onsite repair.

So who is likely to be most interested renting their workstation?

The obvious ones are startups or firms that want to optimise cash flow, but HP Subscription could also interest those who want new technology for project work or flexibility in these uncertain economic times.

Shorter term contracts could specifically appeal to firms who like to refresh their technology more regularly. While a recent DEVELOP3D survey of designers, engineers and architects showed that the majority upgrade their workstation every three years (37%), 16% said they did so every two years and 3% every year.

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Workstation rental is nothing new. Specialist workstation manufacturer Scan launched a rental program earlier this year, though this is aimed at shorter term loans and customers also have the option to buy. We understand that HP is the only tier one supplier to offer a subscription model aimed specifically at SMEs.

HP Subscription could have a significant impact on the way design and engineering firms invest in new technology. With many CAD software developers moving customers away from perpetual licensing and on to subscription, upfront costs could be completely eliminated with firms getting monthly bills for everything – software and hardware.

Indeed, CADHireUK (part of Adris) already offers HP workstations for hire, which can be pre-loaded with Autodesk software to support manufacturing and construction projects.

Compared to bank financing or a credit card purchase HP believes its subscription pricing is very competitive. An HP spokesperson told DEVELOP3D a 36-month contract provides the best return as it is usually cost neutral or cost negative compared to an outright capital purchase.

To put this into numbers, a typical HP Z240 SFF workstation may cost £959 to buy outright but can be rented for three years at an overall cost of £904 (£25.11 per month). However, unlike a capital purchase where the workstation can be handed down to a less demanding CAD user or office worker, with HP Subscription the customer returns the machine at the end of the contract.

HP Subscription is not limited to workstations. Customers can also ‘rent’ a wide range of other business machines, including laptops and printers.


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