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HP Z1 Workstation review

This 27in All-in-One packs an Intel Ivy Bridge Xeon processor, 8GB of RAM and unprecedented access to the components. But is it worth the £2500 price?

We can't fault the large 27in display either. The 2,560 x 1,440 native resolution, has an average Delta E of 2.1 so colours are accurate, detail is sharp, and there's little sign of any graining even at close range.

The technology behind the IPS panel means its brightness reading of 472.8cd/m2 isn't the highest we've seen many screens record twice this figure but, in practice, the Z1's panel is bright enough for everyday use. The black level of 0.75cd/m2 could be a little harder, but it's a minor complaint.

HP Z1 - Front

We did love the 27in IPS panel, which provides plenty of real estate for business users

Expensive

As you've probably guessed this unique design doesn't come cheap. The sample we've reviewed will set you back a mighty 2,595 exc VAT - enough to kit out the average small office with all of the IT kit it might need and have change left over.

Ofcourse HP is also offering the Z1 with a range of more modest specifications. It's possible to choose a lesser Xeon or even a Core i3 processor, with the 3.3GHz E3-1245 and i3-2120 both available. The graphics chip can be upgraded to Nvidia's Quadro Q4000M or, if budget's tight, reduced to the Q1000M or Q500M. Intel's HD Graphics 2000 and P3000 chipsets are also on offer for low-end Z1 builds.

The 1TB hard disk can be swapped for a 2.5in, 10,000rpm drive with either 300GB or 600GB of space, and solid-state storage is also an option, with 160GB and 300GB drives available.

Those types of configurations inevitably drop the price to more manageable levels. Dropping the graphics card from a Quadro 3000M to a modest 1000M model reduces the price to around 2,470. Removing the graphics card altogether and choosing a cheaper Intel E3-1245 processor reduces the cost to 1,740 exc VAT. The cheapest configuration available uses the consumer-level Core i3-2120, integrated graphics and just two gigabytes of RAM, and costs 1,440 exc VAT.

Cost aside, the Z1 is a stunning machine. It provides versatility, access and manageability that most traditional desktops can only dream of, but in a strong, high-quality all-in-one chassis.

Verdict

HP should be commended for putting together the most impressive All-in-One we've ever seen. Those after pure power would still be better served by a traditional workstation, though, and the price means it's likely to be reserved for the wealthiest of IT departments.

OS: Windows 7 Professional 64-bit

PROCESSOR: 3.6GHz Intel Xeon E3-1280

RAM: 8GB DDR3

STORAGE: 1TB hard disk

SCREEN: 27in 2,560 x 1,440 IPS

CONNECTIVITY: Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11n WiFi, Bluetooth 3.0

PORTS: 2 x USB 3, 4 x USB 2, DisplayPort, S/PDIF, FireWire, 4-in-1 card reader, 4 x audio

OTHER: HP wireless keyboard and mouse

DIMENSIONS: 660 x 419 x 584mm (WxDxH)

WEIGHT: 21.3kg

IDLE POWER: 133W

PEAK POWER: 271W

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