HP fits all-in-ones into tight spaces

LAS VEGAS — New markets and new use cases will be enabled by the launch of the Z1 all in one workstation according to Hewlett-Packard Co. [NYSE: HPQ], which launched the new offering at its global partner conference on Tuesday.

HP’s Z series of workstations already includes a line of towers, mobile workstations and a small form factor device. When they heard HP was developing an all in one workstation, some people were skeptical it would just be PC-class components, but from the start HP was insistent it had to be workstation quality and have “Z DNA” said Jim Zafarana, vice-president and general manager of HP’s global workstations business.
 
“It couldn’t just be PC DNA. People would see through that,” said Zafarana. “It had to be workstation performance.”

The workstation market has grown dramatically over the last 10 years, and with HP doubling its workstation volume over the last five years, Zafarana said there is lots of appetite in the market for workstation-class computing. HP hopes the Z1 will open up new markets it couldn’t reach with its other Z Series devices, markets where space is at a premium. CAD design, video editing and education are key target markets, but health care, financial trading, architecture and science are other likely markets.

“Workplaces are evolving. There’s less space to work in, and that can stifle productivity and hurt results,” said Josh Peterson, director of worldwide product marketing for HP workstations.

Available in April, Z1 pricing will start at $1,955 on a basic configuration with an Intel Core i3 processor and integrated graphics. Customers can choose to upgrade to an array of Intel Xeon processor and Nvidia Quatro graphics options, as well as SATA, SSD and RAID storage options. The 27” LED display supports more than 1 billion colours. Like the other Z Series offerings, its a tool-less chassis to easily swap-out hard drives and other components.

The Z1 has been certified for Adobe Premiere, various CAD tools and all the other applications that workstation customers expect to use, said Ira Weiss, workstation business manager with HP Canada. Development was focused on the needs of users in fields such as architecture, engineering and digital media creation, but it’s a good for for many different markets. Education and the public sector will be key target markets.

“It’s a full-featured workstation that’s applicable to many different businesses,” said Weiss. “It’s self-serviceable for our customers, so they can make whatever changes they want to their configurations. They can add memory, and change out their graphics cards as their business or application needs change. And we’ve certified this workstation, just like we do all our workstations, for the applications that our professional customers and commercial customers are expecting to be able to run on them.”

The Z1 will be a good option for workstation-focused shops that may have had some non-workstation all-in-ones in the past for specific functions said Paul Edwards, research director at London, Ont.-based Info-Tech Research Group. Now they can standardize on one product family.

“I think it will work both as a workstation upgrade as well as developing new market opportunities,” said Edwards.

Edwards added vertical market expertise and specialization will be key in selling these workstations, with the education market in Canada looking like a particularly good fit.

Follow Jeff Jedras on Twitter: @JeffJedrasCDN.