To display all of your wonderful renderings the HP Z1’s 27in screen hides its 3,686,400 pixels (2560 x 1440) behind a glossy glass panel which is great for vibrant colours, but unless you've some control over lighting in your working environment then this finish can easily become a nuisance.
The screen looks great but the gloss finish could be distracting in some scenarios
Aside from the huge screen area, the real benefit though is that this is an IPS panel which means it remains clear at almost any viewing angle so you can show off your work to as many people as can gather round it. Personally I’d like to see HP offer an anti-glare screen, but I must admit that the picture quality is fantastic as it is.
Beneath the display lay a set of dual-cone stereo speakers which are more than capable of handling my mp3 collection, but they aren’t about to wow any audiophiles. On the right hand side you’ll find USB 3.0 ports accompanied by FireWire, audio ports and an SD/xD/MMC/MS reader. Around the back are four USB 2.0 ports, gigabit Ethernet, Line in/out, SPDIF, and subwoofer ports. There’s also a full-size Display Port socket for connecting a second monitor, as if you need one.
Need an additional monitor? No problem
HP also includes its bog standard wired keyboard and mouse, which are fairly unremarkable but nonetheless comfortable to use and work as expected. If you like the sound of all this hardware but aren’t keen on what Microsoft has to offer, fear not because HP will happily supply enterprise Linux solutions from both Suse and Red Hat.
Anyone out there hoping the HP Z1 would be cheaper than a 27in iMac will be disappointed. The nearest BTO equivalent iMac costs £2049, which makes it almost £900 cheaper than the Xeon Z1 I have here. So, for personal users with a big screen an all-in-one habit, I would have to say the iMac is a better deal. That said, the HP Z1 offers upgrade flexibility way beyond what Apple will let you tinker with.
If you are a professional designer that absolutely needs the Quadro GPU but can also spare the space for a tower, then a traditional workstation will provide more power and a desktop class GPU for considerably less money. As far as the user experience goes I would be happy to use the Z1 on a regular basis, but I reckon it really does need an SSD to be a real performer, as well as a higher-end Quadro card than the 1000M. It looks good, has easy access to get the best performance, but it certainly is pricey. ®
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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.