Processors

$7000 HP Z1 teardown reveals all-in-one that's easy to service, packed with high-end hardware

Bill Detwiler cracks open a $7,000 HP Z1 all-in-one workstation and discovers a machine that's easy to service, packed with high-end hardware, and engineered to be cool and quiet.

The HP Z1 Workstation may look like your average Windows all-in-one computer, but it's not. As I show you in this week's Cracking Open episode, the Z1 is packed with high-end hardware, has a near tool-less chassis, and was designed to be both cool and quiet.

All-in-ones, like the Apple iMac, offer a desktop computer and display in a single package. They're a good way to free up a little desk space and eliminate some of the cables running under your feet. But, their cases don't offer much room to expand and they generally have less processing power than a traditional tower. HP's Z1 Workstation is the exception.

Cracking Open observations

  • Packed with high-end hardware: You can customize your Z1 with a variety of hardware, and prices start at $1,899 (US). Our $7,000+ test machine had 3.5GHz Intel Xeon processor, 16GB of DDR3-1600 ECC RAM, an NVIDIA Quadro 4000M graphics card, two 300GB SSDs, and a 27-inch IPS LCD (2,560 x 1,440).
  • Easy-to-service: The Z1's stand allows the machine to lie flat, and the case opens more like the hood of a car than a computer. Many internal components (such as the video card, power supply, and optical drive) can be removed without tools. When a screwdriver is required to remove a part, such as the motherboard or LCD, a standard Torx T6 or T15 bit is all you need. No tamper-resistant screws here.
  • Designed it to be cool and quiet: The Z1 has four distinct cooling zones. The machine's six fans pull fresh air into each zone and push the heated air out, without the air moving between the zones. To reduce fan noise, HP used large diameter fans, which can be turned more slowly than smaller fans. They also gave the Z1 nine independent thermal sensors, which control the fans' speed--only turning them as fast as is needed.

My only complaints about the Z1 are minor. First, it's heavy. At over 47 pounds, it is 17 pounds heavier than the 27-inch iMac. Second, the included HP wireless keyboard and mouse use a USB adapter. There's a special port inside the case for it, but I don't know why HP doesn't include a standard Bluetooth keyboard and mouse.

As workstations go, the Z1 is an entry level machine. But, it's the only workstation that's also a 27-inch all-in-one.

Internal hardware

Our HP Z1 Workstation test unit has the following hardware:

  • 3.5GHz Intel Xeon E3-1280 processor
  • Intel BD82C206 platform controller hub (PCH)
  • NVIDIA Quadro 4000M graphics card
  • 16GB Hynix DDR3-1600 ECC RAM
  • 300GB Intel SSD 320 Series SSD
  • Sony Optiarc BD/DVD/CD rewritable optical drive (Model: BD-5841H)
  • 27-inch LG Display IPS LCD (Model: LM270WQ1)
  • Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6230 wireless adapter
  • Nuvoton Technology NPCD379HAKFX
  • 400W Delta Electronics power supply (Model: DPS-400AB-15A)

About

Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop supp...

18 comments
Trilln451
Trilln451

Because Bluetooth sucks ditchwater through a short straw (IMHO). My many experiences with it are a list of frustration & fail. Device not found, device not recognized, pairing denied. On the joyful occasions when I have gotten my BT mouse & laptop to come - I used to use an MS BT mouse with my laptop, & after some fussing, could achieve pairing - their happy union ended the minute I closed the laptop. Aren't they supposed to STAY linked?? USB works.

john.oconnor
john.oconnor

Correct me if I am wrong but, the teardown lists 16gb of DDR3-1600 ECC RAM, but Intel's spec site shows that the board supports 32gb's of DDR3-1066/1333 max, so why would you go through the effort of putting in 1.6ghz ram if it will run at the lower frequency anyway? is this a different chipset or does the installed (As above) RAM have some other technical benefit other than costing more?

carpetking
carpetking

I've found when running windows 7, I can spend less than $1,000 for a tower, or a Laptop that works just fine for this C# developer. Now, the big screen is nice. The fact that it all fits in one box is pretty cool too, but would I drop $7,000.00 of my own money for a box like that, no thank you! Would I ask my employer to buy hardward like that? No, I can't even get close to justifying it! This is a no brainer. 'No, I'll pass on this unit'!

Slayer_
Slayer_

I don't get it, its priced higher than many high end servers.

Jensen G
Jensen G

As others have said, $7,000 is far too much to pay for this. Why not review a configuration that would actually be commonly bought? And if you need 600gb of HD space, I doubt you're going to go SSD unless you have tons of extra money to burn.

gerbilio
gerbilio

Overpriced it may be, but I REALLY like the way you can easily open it to upgrade. *Sigh*...why can't Apple do that? :-\ (Actually, I think I know: maintenance/repair forms a lucrative revenue stream...) >:-(

snideley59
snideley59

What's the upgrade path? I'm used to dealing with workstations with 48-96 GB of DDR3 and 1 GB NVIDIA graphics cards. Of course, these are 60 lb tower chases, but at 47 lbs, weight is not such a big deal. 7k-11k per workstation equipped with HP2405 24" displays. Not too shabby

ejoy
ejoy

Overpriced for the hardware you get, workstation or not, $7k for a Xenon with 16GB of DDR3 RAM? And only 2x300GB SSDs, it's still incredibly overpriced (even factoring the Quadro, which is a damn good card actually). So you're paying for maybe ~$1,500-2,000 worth of hardware, and ~$5,000 for the design/form factor. Absolute waste IMHO, I don't think they're going to sell many of these, but there are a lot of fools out there with too much money to spend, so I could be wrong.

sarai1313
sarai1313

you get yelled at too.i like it thanks for your time in the review.

kmadison
kmadison

If this Z1 is an entry level computer then what are the specs the pros use? The seven grand must be going to buy the SSD hard drives. Also, are the SSD's running in raid mode? And I agree with rigbi001 ... $4000 maybe ... but $7000?

rigbi001
rigbi001

For what you get. The components come to about $4000 admittedly, but what's the extra $3000 for? It's presumably aimed at high end users,, but HP surely wouldn't want to scalp its customers just because they can, would they? All that said, it does look good though!

Bill Detwiler
Bill Detwiler

Reader feedback (both good and bad) is par for the course when you're a writer, editor, or video host. (You should see the comments on YouTube for my Cracking Open videos.) Having done this job for over a decade, I'm used to it. Honestly, I wouldn't have it any other way. TechRepublic has THE best audience of IT professionals and business technology users--bar none. And, they aren't shy about expressing their opinions, sharing their experiences, and offering assistance. I wouldn't want to work for a site that didn't have TR's vibrant, vocal community.

pappaknox
pappaknox

dont we all get yelled at,,,i like the design of it looks easy too swap out parts to upgrade

Bill Detwiler
Bill Detwiler

The Z1 isn't and entry-level computer, and I never said it was. I purposefully called the Z1 as an entry level "workstation"--a term used to describe a high-performance desktop used for intensive computing tasks such as MCAD, 3D modeling, scientific simulation. You wouldn't buy a Z1 and give it to someone in accounting--unless they were running extremely complex financial calculations. HP offers a complete line of workstations--the Z1, Z220, Z420, Z620, and Z820. Pricing for the Z820 starts around $2,300, but a fully-loaded Z820 can top $10,000. Another factor contributing to the price is the 3-year, on-site warranty that comes standard with the Z1 and all HP workstations.

GAProgrammer
GAProgrammer

This is NOT an entry level computer. 2 300GB SSDs + 16GB of RAM + Quadro 4000M is near high end hardware specs. An entry level computer would have 4GB of RAM, a 300GB 7200RPM spin drive and maybe a Quadro 2000 tops. Other than that, great article - thanks for the pics and info!

sarai1313
sarai1313

i am sorry i get a little confused when am talking bout tech and some one charges back like i am talking bad about thier moms,or thier girlfriends .gee it is about tech.I need to know info so I can fixt or god forbid one of my many family and friends systems go down. though it does not happen offen because of the advice i have receved from you and others at cent .hell i dont even know how much of apples programing but it almost rivals what i have in windows. i guess i have to put up with some crap to get the fruit.

Bill Detwiler
Bill Detwiler

See my reply to kmadison's original post. I called the Z1 a "workstation", not a computer.

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