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First Look: HP's all-in-one Z1 workstation

By Lance Grange
February 15, 2012
First Look: HP's all-in-one Z1 workstation
LAS VEGAS — Hewlett Packard, at their Global Partners Conference, released the Z1, a workstation the company claims is the first workstation-class, all-in-one system on the market. The Z1 was designed in the spirit of the Z800 workstation and has an all-in-one industrial design to take note of. 

When normally seeing all-in-one workstations, you end up having severe limitations, such as difficult-to-access components, lack of processor speed and limited RAM capacity, which has limited the ability for industrial design or video production work in this form factor. While this workstation is not to be confused with the high-end Z800 workstation, it has formidable specs, with Quad Core Xeon processors, expandability of up to 32 GBs of ECC memory, and access to a line of Nvidia Quadro graphics cards with up to 2GB of GDDR5 memory. 

The 27-inch backlit LCD IPS 30-bit monitor has the ability to display over a billion colors at 2560x1440 resolution and also has a DisplayPort allowing users to connect an additional monitor. The Z1 shows real attention to detail with its modular design and the ability to get into the guts of the system with one push button as well as a tool-less design to easily remove and exchange parts, which is rare for an all-in-one system. The system comes with 2 USB 3.0 ports and the ability to be equipped with a slot loading Blu-ray writer optical drive. It supports 2-2.5-inch 10K SATA or SSD drives, or 1-3.5-inch SATA drive and supports RAID configurations. 

Other areas of expansion include an internal USB 2.0 port (for security) and 3 miniPCIe slots. It also comes with an integrated 1080p Webcam, as well as SRS premium sound with front facing speakers — another rarity in an all-in-one. Also, for sound, it includes analog audio in and out, as well as SPDIF out. 
The attention to design detail is noticed with the inclusion of a two way DisplayPort, allowing for this monitor to be used as an external monitor. The inclusion of a handle on the back of the unit for easy transportation, and the attachment to the stand via a VESA mount for easy wall mounting or for custom desk mounts are some of the smaller design features that makes this product stand out. 

As for operating systems, the Z1 supports Windows 7 Professional 32- and 64-bit, as well as Linux. The system comes with a 3-year warranty and a starting price point of $1,899 for the base model. It’s scheduled to ship in April. In summary, this appears to be a well-designed workstation-class machine for those looking for the aesthetics and space constraints of an all-in-one design form factor.

Lance Grange is an IT professional who can be reached at: gecnal@gmail.com.