Review: HP Z1 All-in-One Workstation

Streaming Medai by Tim Siglin

How does the all-in-one that's won over the workstation crowd stack up against laptop form-factor workstations for speed, power, and upgradability for streaming media producers?

We first covered the HP Z1 in February 2012, just after HP launched its first all-in-one workstation. At that time, the Z1 received plenty of industry attention, primarily for its unique upgradeability—a feature not found in other all-in-one Windows or Macintosh machines.

In the intervening 18 months, HP has been hard at work introducing a number of upgraded desktop- and mobile-workstation models across its Z lineup. Just a few weeks ago, the company announced three laptop form factor workstations, the larger two of which come complete with Thunderbolt 2, as well as several desktops and two very impressive DisplayPort-centric monitors (one of which we will review in the next few weeks).

That brings us back around to the Z1, though, which was not updated. While anything’s possible in terms of update schedules, we wanted to review the Z1 on its own merits in light of continuing advancements in the desktop computing space. After all, the Z1 fits into a unique niche between those who use fully portable systems and those who require the top-of-the-line computing afforded in a much more expensive desktop computer.

I’m writing part of this review on the Z1 itself, using both Windows 7 and Windows 8. Each are certified for the Z1, although the current upgrade (Windows 8.1) is too new yet to receive certification.

Certification is a key point across all of HP’s workstation line: from components to operating systems and key applications, HP spends the time to test integration of all the parts so that its machines function with the speed of a thoroughbred and the stamina of a workhorse.

Form Factor and Weight
The Z1 has the appearance of an oversized monitor, partly due to the IPS panel’s actual size (27”) and also due to the fact that the entire computer, in all its upgradeable glory, resides behind the IPS panel. read more...

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