$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.

Cracking Open the $7000 HP Z1 Workstation

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)

By Bill Detwiler

Bill Detwiler is Editor in Chief of TechRepublic 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 support specialist in the ...