Sunday, 03 November 2013 14:38

HP Z Workstation


Why do workstations have to be big black or beige boxes? They do not – they can be big black notebooks as well.

HP has released a refreshed range of workstations exclusively for enterprise use. They are not available through retailers.

ZBook – a new high-end mobile workstation

Imagine a notebook that is almost as customisable as a desktop – HP’s easy access removable bottom panel reveals all expansion bays and more. Base options include: 14, 15.6 and 17.3” touch and non-touch screens; SUSE Linux, Windows 7, 8 or 8.1, standard or Pro, 32 or 64bit; i5 or i7 processors; up to 32GB ram; Intel graphics, nVIDIA Quadro (up to 8GB VRAM), or AMD FirePro; USB3.0; Thunderbolt; DisplayPort; VGA; SD slot; Wi-Fi AC; Bluetooth 4.0; LTE; Blu-ray/DVD; more SSD HDD storage; extra battery; fingerprint reader; and up to 3 years warranty.

These notebooks are almost totally customisable – perhaps that why you need a HP Partner to configure it – “Cord, for the use of Power. Australia. Sir, Yes Sir”. I am not kidding.

These will be extremely popular for remote sites – like mines, for power users like CAD and animators that want more power or storage, and for those who need to connect to corporate networks. A new feature is HP Sure Start that rebuilds the BIOS and OS in case it cannot start.


Z Workstations – Zeon based

These black boxes come in Small form factor, minitower, tower, and rackable - like their ZBook siblings are customisable to the nth degree – I have yet to see an option that could not be fitted. The new additions include Z420, Z620 and Z820 and are updated with: Up to 24 core Intel Xeon E5 processors, up to 512GB of ECC (error checking and correcting) memory, Thunderbolt, USB 3.0, nVIDIA PCIe single and dual GPU’s,

Even though desktops are apparently dead – and they are not in the enterprise space – these offer sufficient attraction to power users who want a totally customisable product.

Z Display

Naturally, to complement your black box you want a suitable monitor. HP’s Z Displays are IPS based for 178 degree viewing angle, have USB downstream ports, and come in 22 (1920x1080), 23 (1920x1080), 24 (1920x1200), 27 (2560x1440) and 30” (2560x1600).

Monitors are often the most ill researched item when buying enterprise workstations – ‘any brand will do’. These are impressive and worth buying, if only to keep all support with HP. More than that, these use 2nd generation panels (known as Advanced High Performance AH-IPS), narrow bezels, have high brightness and contrast and native DisplayPort access.

What is Display Port?

DisplayPort is becoming more of an enterprise standard over HDMI – the general rule of thumb is if it has HDMI ports, it is a consumer product. Of course, you can buy a converter for either standard to the other. HDMI has a licensed use and DisplayPort is a Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA).

Both send high definition video and audio – HDMI (1.4 audio return channel and Ethernet) up to 4096x2160 (4K) and DisplayPort up to 3840x2160 (no ARC or Ethernet). DisplayPort can daisy chain up to four 1920x1200 monitors with each display receiving discrete audio and video streams and is more often used for multi-monitor support.

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Ray Shaw

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Ray Shaw  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!

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