Hands-on: HP Z1 Workstation Teardown


Hands-on: Inside the HP Z1 Workstation

The new HP Z1 workstation is based on the Intel C206 chipset and it supports current Sandy Bridge processors, or better known as the 2nd generation 32nm Intel Core processors. Users buying the HP Z1 workstation will have the option to select from three available processor options :-

  • Intel Core i3-2120, 3.3GHz, 3MB cache, 2 cores, 4 threads, 65W, integrated Intel HD Graphics 2000
  • Intel Xeon E3-1245, 3.3GHz. 8MB cache, 4 cores, 8 threads, 95W, integrated Intel HD Graphics P3000
  • Intel Xeon E3-1280, 3.5GHz, 8MB cache, 4 cores, 8 threads, 95W, no integrated graphics

The most basic option will be the Intel Core i3-2120 without a discrete graphics card and that should set you back for as much as US$1899. But if video editing, 3D graphics and CUDA enhanced applications are part of the workstation's usage, then you should really consider picking one of the available NVIDIA Quadro options. In fact, these new Quadro graphics were introduced specially for the HP Z1 Workstation and is the result of collaboration between NVIDIA and HP. As you can see from the model numbers, the Quadro graphics used in the HP Z1 Workstation are based on mobile parts and this is largely due to its highly power efficient design, in addition to an NVIDIA's latest power saving Optimus technology. We compared the specifications of all the options offered by the HP Z1 Workstation against the previous generation high-end Quadro FX 3800M in the table below.

  High-End Mid-Range Entry Level
  Quadro FX 3800M Quadro 4000M Quadro 3000M Quadro 1000M Quadro 500M
NVIDIA CUDA Cores 128 336 240 96 96
Frame Buffer 1GB GDDR3 2GB GDDR5 2GB GDDR5 2GB DDR3 1GB DDR3
Memory Bandwidth 64GB/s 80GB/s 80GB/s 28.8GB/s 256-bit
Max. Power Consumption 100W 100W 75W 45W 35W
OpenGL 3.3 4.1 4.1 4.1 4.1
DirectX / Shader Model 10 / 4.0 11 / 5.0 11 / 5.0 11 / 5.0 11 / 5.0
PCI Express Gen 2 Gen 2 Gen 2 Gen 2 Gen 2
3D Vision / 3D Vision Pro yes yes yes yes yes
NVIDIA Optimus - yes yes yes yes

Now that we've sorted out the various hardware options available to the HP Z1, let's have a detailed look inside the system.