HP Hits The Graphics Market With All-in-One 27-Inch Workstation


HP has stepped up its game with the Z1, a massive, all-in-one workstation with a big display and snap-open case

The Hewlett-Packard brand is not generally synonymous with game-changing. Reliable and solid, sure, but creative professionals looking for the fireworks-bringing devices may be more likely to look toward Apple.

HP is claiming a world first for its large 27-inch display which houses the all-in-one workstation. It also points out that the Z1 is “blazingly fast”, “whisper quiet” and offers an “optimised visual and computing performance”, all of which it hopes will attract new customers to the brand.

Easy access

Arguably cooler still, the display snaps open, without the need for any tools, making it possible for users to upgrade parts, add a hard drive or access the graphics card – in short, to easily extend the life and functionality of their investment.

The HP Z1 runs Intel Xeon E3 processors or Core , Nvidia Quadro graphics – with support for more than a billion colours – and features Remote Graphics Software, enabling remote users to access the Z1’s handy performance, 3D and video.

Storage options include 7.2K or 10K Serial ATA, solid-state drive (SSD), optional RAID configurations, removable drives, a multi-format media card reader, and optical drive options, not the least of which is a slot-load Blu-ray writer.

There are front-facing dual-cone speakers with SRS Premium Sound, a high-definition Webcam that can also capture HD-quality video and, should the machine seem in need of a tune-up or software upgrade, HP Performance Advisor software is said to eliminate the need for troubleshooting by providing a report of the Z1’s hardware and software configurations.

The Z1 is intended for engineers, architects, videographers and other creative professionals working with robust programs. Attracting a few is certainly a good idea.

HP led the worldwide PC market during the fourth quarter of 2011, shipping 14.7 million PCs to second-ranking Lenovo’s 12.9 million. Lenovo, however, posted 23 percent year-on-year growth, and third-ranking Dell grew by 7.8 percent while HP posted a decline of 16.2 percent. HP also held its top-shipping title in the United States, though again posted a major year-on-year loss of 26.1 percent, while second-placed Dell dipped by 4.5 percent and Apple, at third, posted 20.7 percent growth, according to figures from Gartner.

Research firm Canalys, however, which includes tablet shipments in its PC totals, gave top billing to Apple, with shipments of 15 million iPads; this made the Mac maker the top PC vendor during the quarter.

“Now the second-largest client PC vendor worldwide,” said the Canalys report, “HP will struggle to compete with Apple following the end of its TouchPad.”

HP, under former-CEO Leo Apotheker, considered spinning off its PC division, but new CEO Meg Whitman reversed the decision, announcing in an Oct. 2011 statement that she believed the decision was “right for customers and partners, right for shareholders and right for employees”.

Whitman added that HP is “committed to [its Personal Systems Group], and together we are stronger”.

This week, HP also introduced two new thin-clients for enterprise customers, the HP t510 and the HP 610. Both feature dual-core Advanced Micro Devices(AMD) CPUs and ship standard with twice the RAM of previous models.

The Z1 will begin shipping worldwide in April, starting at $1,899 (£1,199).

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