Move aside TouchSmart desktops, HP has probably made their ultimate iMac competitor official today (some might even call it the iMac killer). Now, a little history and thoughts before we talk about HP’s new Z1 all-in-one workstation; many folks in the industries of graphics design and video editing (and other ‘creative’ works and chores) have all been hailing the iMac for years now thanks to the combination of its big screen and desktop processor inside… but let’s face it, there are many downsides: it’s an Apple, it’s not upgradeable, it has laptop class graphics cards inside and iMacs are generally very “if this is how Apple shipped it to you, then you will stick to this forever until you buy the next iMac”; not very cost efficient at all.
The new HP Z1 workstation changes all that with a revolutionary design that’s never been seen before. On the outside, it looks like a typical all-in-one… or a big monitor cousin to the HP ZR2740w display; and yes, that’s because it is indeed easy to mistake this compact workstation with a 27 inch 2560 x 1440 IPS display as ‘just a very fat monitor’. But under that big monitor are desktop-level components: Core i7 desktop processors, Nvidia Quadro workstation-class desktop cards (not the ‘M’ mobile versions used by HP’s EliteBook laptops), space for big and spacious hard disks/SSDs.
The killer feature lies in the fact you can flip the 27 inch display up (like you would with the front of a car when checking the engine) and upgrade the components within: the graphics card, processor, memory and hard disks/SSD drives. And the killer feature OF the killer feature? Upgrading is tool-less, just like on a ‘box-style’ workstation, so there’s no fiddling with screws, bolts and tools; just disconnect, slide and upgrade. That’s just insane and previously unheard of on an all-in-one computer!
The HP Z1 workstation comes with a 400 watt power (external) adapter brick, which is a good balance between a moderately powerful and efficient power supply. The Z1 seems to be geared towards folks who want a brilliant and big 27 inch display with a very small physical footprint at home or in tight office quarters. I haven’t heard of specifications from HP yet, but from photos, the HP Z1 does not appear to be much thicker than the ZR24w monitor I have at home (around 3 or 4 inches thin I guesstimate)… think about it: this thing houses a display AND desktop computer parts into something not much thicker than the fattest Alienware laptop.
Port selection includes USB 3.0 ports, audio input and output, including a port for a subwoofer, SD card slot and firewire port. There is also a standard VESA mount on the back of the Z1 workstation so you can mount it to the wall of your room or penthouse suite if you felt like it.
The HP Z1 will be available in April starting at $1899.