HP Z1 All-In-One: Compact Workstation

If you are working on professional tasks related to CAD/CAM, photo editing, video editing, or 3D animation, you need a powerful PC. But what if you don’t have the space for a separate tower, external displays, and all of the cables? HP has released a PC targeted at this scenario: the Z1 all-in-one workstation.

Z1-full-600

I have been using a Z1 for a while now, and have had an opportunity to run some professional Windows desktop apps on it including Adobe After Effects CS6. With a 27” 2560 x 1440 display (the same resolution as the Samsung Series 9 LPS display I recently blogged about) this PC has great screen real estate. I’m really impressed by the innovative tool-less design used by the HP team that makes the Z1 a unique all in one. By rotating the screen down flat and then opening two latches, you can access the internal components and service/upgrade without tools in many cases (see the video at the end of this post for a demonstration).

Z1-hood-open-600

Here we see the inside view of the PC. From left: Power supply, NVIDIA Quadro 4000M graphics card, Xeon CPU and fans (top), SSD chassis (bottom), DVD drive (top), and case fan (bottom). All of the components mentioned here are serviceable without tools, and you can see how upgrading this PC would be easy (graphics, SSDs, etc). The gas strut support for the lid is a nice touch as well as it helps to support the weight of the display panel and top enclosure when opening and closing the PC.

There’s also a nice assortment of ports and connections on the outside of the machine including:

  • Right Side: headphones/mic, USB 3.0 (2), card reader, Fire wire
  • Under Side: Display Port, USB 2.0 (4), analog audio, SPDIF audio, NIC

z1-sd-slot-600

The integrated card reader is another excellent touch for photo/video/audio professionals that make extensive use of SD cards or similar media. I found this more convenient than having to plug in my external USB card reader.

Just because a workstation is compact doesn’t mean it has to suffer in the performance department. The Z1 I’m using features a Xeon processor (quad core), NVIDIA Quadro 4000 graphics, and 16GB RAM. Performance in Photoshop CS6, Premiere Pro CS6, and After Effects CS6 was quite good. After using the Z1 and the Z820 (see write-up here) for a while now, I’m getting used to workstations with 27” displays. It’s really nice to have the extra resolution and screen area when working extensively with graphics.

For more information and to read the full specs, you can visit the HP Z1 official page. If you want to see the Z1 in action (including opening up the machine), check out the quick video I put together:

You can follow me on twitter here: @GavinGear