HP Z1 quad-core Xeon 27in PC
All in one workstation, anyone?
PC users who secretly covet their cubicle neighbour’s 27in iMac but don’t want to leave the Windows world can begin to feel rather smug these days. HP's Z1 is its take on the all-in-one concept, but has the heart of a workstation. It's a handsome beast too, with a 27in display which also houses a Xeon server-class CPU as well as everything else you need for a professional level powerhouse.
Desktop dominance? HP's Z1 all-in-one workstation
HP’s primary focus with its Z1 all-in-one design is the user customisation aspect, as access to the internals is breeze. That said, a range of excellent options are available from the factory. The review unit came equipped with a 3.5GHz quad-core Intel Xeon E3-1280 which has an 8MB L2 cache and is partnered with 8GB of 1600MHZ DDR3 and a 2GB NVidia Quadro 1000M professional graphics card.
When purchasing you can opt for lower spec CPUs such as the marginally slower quad-core Xeon E3-1245 (3.30GHz, 8MB L2) or the dual-core i3-2120 (3.33GHz, 3MB L2), although I’m not sure why you’d go down that route. If you go for the crappier chips, you also get lumped with Intel HD Graphics. Still, you can alway add a separate card from the Quadro range (1000M, 3000M or 4000M) from the build to order options.
That's a 27in panel there, so it's not as small as it looks
There’s also a choice between DVD+/-RW or BD-R optical drives and, for those seeking serious performance, there’s SSD and RAM upgrade routes too. Between the four full-size DDR3 slots you can cram in up to 32GB of the stuff, providing all of your DIMMs use ECC. If not, you are limited to 8GB. Storage takes the form of either one 3.5in HDD or two 2.5in disks.
The review sample came with single 3.5in 7,200RPM 1TB drive installed, but if I wanted to replace it with either one or two 2.5in drives a new caddy would be required. HP offers 3.5in hard disks from 500GB to 2TB as well as 2.5in 10,000RPM 300GB and 600GB units. SSDs are also on the cards in 160GB and 300GB capacities, but HP does not elaborate on their origins.
Swapping out parts is a snap
In order to get to all of the internal fun stuff all you have to do is fold the Z1 back on its stand and release the two catches on the bottom edge. From there simply lift the screen up and it will swing away on hinges and remain supported by a gas-strut.
Next page: Open and shut case
Re: Almost there, really
and you're going to fit that lot in an AIO case with propper cooling and ventilation just how?
If you want a fully modular system with standardised components it's always going to be bigger and clunkier than will fit into what is basically a monitor case. Live with that or buy a mini tower, your choice.
I count .. 6 fans in that screenshot of the things guts (2 screws in the PSU + 4 centrifugal) . Is it noisy ?
Re: The author was just wrong
"So.. the only arguments for this machine being a "real" workstation compared ti the MAC (or any homebrew) is the certification, officiel support, NBD blabla - thievery?"
I know the concept is a bit difficult to grasp if all you've ever seen are self-build home PCs and Macs but in an industry where reliability and precision is much more important than the lowest possible price or the ability to impress drinking buddies with the symbol of a half-eaten Apple, certified hardware means that this computer is guranteed to run that very important and very expensive piece of software without any hickups, and that any issues will be dealt with swiftly which even may include the software manufacturer providing a purpose-built patch within a few hours.
"All of it just i big scam, and completely pointless if you know how to swap a stick of RAM, PSU etc...."
You really don't get it, do you? It's not about RAM or PSU (that's what the hardware support is for, which again is worlds apart from what Apple offers), it's about ISV (ISV=Independet Software Vendor, the guys that provide your f*****g expensive application) support. The thing with most ISVs for professional software is that if the software shows a problem (say your 3D model doesn't show all textures) then they will ask you if you use a certified platform (combination of certified hardware, certified OS/drivers and often enough also a certified BIOS level), and if you don't then they'll say sorry but go and f**k yourself. Which is not a problem if all you do is playing games on that computer, but which translates to an actual loss of money if you use that computer for anything important in a business.
Additionally, not every business can afford to keep dedicated IT staff. Especially small businesses can't have someone sitting around until some hardware breaks so that he can change that. Even more, having spare parts of everything to compensate for a hardware problem is a no-no in business as it means stocking dead capital. That's why workstations usually come with 3 years onsite warranty next business day as standard, which can be upgraded to 4hrs reaction time 24/7. With that you also get engineers which know your workstation inside out, and can locate and fix the problem quickly.
A workstation is not your typical home PC. It's a computer for areas where the hardware price is almost irrelevant compared to the overall costs (software, support) per seat, and people buy that not because they are idiots but simply because the return of their investment justifies that expense.
Re: The author was just wrong
>>The iMac is no workstation.
I disagree... for about £1600 (with cunning use of a friends student discount etc.) you can get a 3.4Ghz (quad) i7 with 4Gb a 2Gb 6970M, slap in another 4Gb for £20 an extra 120Gb Sata3 SSD for £70 to go with the 1Gb (which you can swap over as a data disk), bootcamp it if you want, lovely Apple screen (similar to the Z1), all in all around the same as the entry price for the Z1 - but arguably a better machine.
In other words, a high spec iMac is better spec and value than an entry level Z1, but put some serious cash into a Z1 (like 3 grand) and you have a much better spec machine than an iMac (no shock there), I think there's an overlap between the iMac and the Z1 but it's quite a narrow band.
The author was just wrong
"Then why are they insisting on EEC RAM if you want to go above 8Gb? That pushes the price up considerably."
This doesn't make any sense (I know first hand that the z1 works fine with 16GB non-ECC) and the author was just wrong.
However, according to the Quickspecs (HP's term for a specification sheet) the z1 can be configured with either a XEON CPU (which supports both ECC and non-ECC RAM) and with a Core i3 processor which does not support ECC, and therefore ECC memory is only supported in the XEON variants. Simples.
I guess the author came to that (false) conclusion because HP only offers a 8GB config (4x 2GB) as the largest non-ECC memory config. This does however not mean that the z1 can't take non-ECC memory in larger configs (i.e. 4x4GB), it just means that HP does not offer more than 8GB in non-ECC form.
"I#ll be that HP branded RAM is the only stuff that will work without BSOD's as well."
You lost. The z1 works fine with any memory that is JEDEC compliant, as does any other PC workstation made by HP during the last 10 years or more.
"Nice try but it ain't an iMac killer especially if as rumoured Apple are going to announce some juicy H/W upgrades in a few days."
This isn't supposed to be an 'iMac killer', it's a professional workstation in a compact AIO format. The iMac is no workstation.
Apple may announce some hardware upgrade in a few days but so far they were too cheap to put professional graphics in their top model (Mac Pro), so if I were you I wouldn't bet that they now start to put XEONs and Quadro graphics into the iMac as you may loose again.