HP's New Workstations Span a Range of Sizes, Prices, and Portability

21 Apr, 2011 By: Cadalyst Staff

The energy-saving, penny-pinching Z210 desktop comes in two form-factor flavors, while the 8460w, 8560w, and 8760w offer power and mobility.

Earlier this month, HP announced the latest additions to its Z desktop and EliteBook mobile workstation families, giving shoppers a total of five new options to consider — including a desktop designed with CAD users in mind.

More Efficiency on the Desktop

The HP Z210 is the economy-minded desktop debutante, offering a performance improvement of more than 20% compared with its predecessor, but at a lower price. The Z210 is also more energy-efficient than its Z200 forerunner, with standard 90% efficient power supplies and available ENERGY STAR v5–qualified configurations. HP has its eye on power consumption in other models as well; Josh Peterson, worldwide manager of marketing for workstations, told the media that the company is moving toward making those high-efficiency power supplies its standard offering across the board.

The HP Z210 is available in two sizes: a convertible mini-tower (CMT; starting at $659) and the small form factor (SFF; starting at $569), which is 65% smaller than its fraternal twin. HP's number-one target with the Z210 CMT is the MCAD/AEC market, followed by digital media and entertainment, engineering and design education, public sector engineers and technicians, power office users, and OEMs. According to HP, this model is applicable to the growing model sizes and complexity, the transition from 2D to 3D, and the need for better visualization that CAD users are experiencing.

The Z210 SFF, on the other hand, is targeted primarily toward medical imaging applications in space-limited environments, with entry-level MCAD/AEC users further down the list. Both sizes offer the choice of Intel Xeon E3 and second-generation Intel Core i3/i5/i7 processors. Selected processors also feature Intel vPro technology, a first for HP's workstations.

"This processor’s greatest innovation is how it integrates the CPU and graphics engines on the same die," said Anthony C. Neal-Graves, general manager, Workstation Unit, Intel. "That means visual and 3D graphics capabilities that were once only available to entry workstation users with discrete graphics cards will now be accessible to anyone with an entry workstation powered by the Intel Xeon E3 family with Intel HD Graphics P3000."
The Z210 also features:

  • Intel HD graphics (P3000/2000) and 2D and 3D professional graphics options from NVIDIA and AMD
  • DDR3-1333 ECC memory, expandable up to 32 GB
  • HP Performance Advisor software for maintaining drivers, operating systems, and applications
  • Access to the HP Carbon Footprint Calculator, which helps users to learn how they can reduce their environmental impact and costs of computing
  • HP Power Assistant, which provides real-time battery capacity and power consumption information.

Look for a Cadalyst Labs review of the Z210 coming soon.

Meet the Mobile Workstations

At the same time, HP unveiled three new members of its EliteBook family of mobile workstations: the 8460w ($1,299 and up), 8560w ($1,349 and up), and 8760w ($1,899 and up). Mobile workstations are "the fastest-growing segment of the workstation market," reported Efrain Rovira, HP's director of mobile workstations, Notebook Business Unit.

The spiffed-up trio sports a new radial brush pattern decorating the gunmetal-gray cases, shiny alloy hinges and latches, and orange accents — HP’s first-ever industrial design specific to mobile workstations. They also have a "cleaner" appearance than their precursors, thanks to the relocation of various stickers and labels under the battery pack or service door. The smooth touchpad is made of chemically strengthened glass.

The three new EliteBook models all feature redesigned exteriors, including a radial brush-patterned lid.

8460w. This entry-level mobile workstation is the smallest of the three, with a 14.0-inch HD display. "It can open up even in a coach seat," joked Chris Convertito, HP's worldwide category manager of mobile workstations. It's also the lightest, weighing in at about 4.9 pounds, and the battery life is expected to be 6 to 7 hours. It features the newest AMD FirePro graphics card, offering 1 GB of video memory. It lacks the backlit keyboard included in the other two models.

8560w. The 15.6-inch model offers more configuration options, three graphics card choices, a backlit keyboard option, and an optional DreamColor display. Although the DreamColor display technology is not new, incorporating it into mobile workstations is a recent initiative for HP. According to the company, DreamColor allows for more than 1 billion active color combinations and uses a 30-bit notebook LCD panel for consistent color appearance from concept to production. The HP Mobile Display Assistant and optional HP Advanced Profiling Solution enable more precise control, adjustment, and alignment of the DreamColor display.

This workstation weighs in at 6.5 pounds, and the battery offers more than 5 hours of power. The 8560w supports AMD FirePro graphics for 1 GB of video memory or NVIDIA Quadro graphics for 2 GB of video memory.

Moving up to 17.3 inches increases the weight to 7.6 pounds, and battery life drops to near 4 hours, depending on the configuration. DreamColor technology is also available on this model. This machine can accommodate a second hard drive, or even a third if the optical drive is removed. Options include AMD FirePro or NVIDIA Quadro graphics, up to 4 GB of video memory, and RAID 5 support (available for the first time in an HP mobile workstation).

Addressing concerns about the embattled Cougar Point chipsets in Intel's Sandy Bridge processors, an HP representative stated, "That issue is behind us, and we're shipping the corrected chipset." The EliteBook 8760w, 8560w, and 8460w are expected to be available in the United States in May.

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