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Editor’s Pick: HP Unveils New Z Workstations

Dear Desktop Engineering Reader:

My four-door, 1972 baby blue Dodge Dart was 12 years old when I got it for 50 bucks. It smelled musty, had a permanent dust layer on the inside, and sported a carriage of Bondo and compressed rust. Great car. One Christmas morning it was 30 below in New Hampshire. Lenore was the only car in the neighborhood that started. Pulling up this baby to jump-start a yuppie friend’s Beamer was bliss. Such a workhorse. And a workhorse is what I’ve always wanted out of cars and computers. Nothing leaves me sorer than a mechanism that’s become a doorstop. So, HP’s recent announcement of its new Z230 Workstation caught my eye because they say flat out that it’s engineered for professional use 24/7/365.

The Z230 comes in traditional tower and small form factor (SFF) versions. The tower unit measures 15.7 x 6.7 x 17.4 in. (H x W x D) and the SFF comes in at 3.95 x 13.3 x 15.0 in., which is something like 57% smaller than the tower. Yet, they’re pretty much the same unit with just the kind of variations that you’d expect with that size difference — things like low profile expansion slots on the SFF and the room to accommodate higher-end (i.e., good-sized) AMD FirePro or NVIDIA graphics accelerators on the tower.

Both workstations pack a lot of punch: quad core Intel CPUs running 3.20GHz Core i5 processors with 6MB of cache up to 3.60GHz Xeon processors with 8MB of cache. They can house up to 32GB memory, and a slew of storage options will take you well into terabyte territory. Among the interfaces supplied are networking and a bunch of front, rear, and internal ports such as USB 3.0/2.0, monitor hook-ups, audio, and the like. Integrated audio and remote management capabilities are standard, and other capabilities, specialized ports, solid-state drives, and all sorts of expansions like that are available as options.

Speaking of options, the Z230 is offered with your pick of operating systems, including Windows 8 Pro (64-bit), Windows 7 Professional (32-bit), SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop, and Red Hat Enterprise Linux Desktop/Workstation.

The HP Z230 tower workstation, says HP, has earned a wide range of ISV certifications. The HP Z230 SFF is, according to HP, a redesign for that form factor, so I’m guessing that the certification process is underway for it. By the by, both workstations are equipped with 92% efficient power supplies, says HP. It’s a 400-watt unit in the Tower, while the SFF offers 240 watts of power.

HP describes the HP Z230 Tower and the HP Z230 SFF as entry-level workstations. And that’s reflected in the $999 starting price. So if you’re a designer using an application like Autodesk AutoCAD, these sound like good, cost-effective units to bump you up to the next level. And if you have greater needs, kicking up a tower workstation with high-end AMD FirePro or NVIDIA graphics gets you a lot of compute- and graphics-intensive power as well as multi-display capabilities. Incidentally, HP also introduced a series of Z Displays that are optimized for its Z workstation line, including the new Z230s.

The HP Z230 Tower and the HP Z230 SFF workstations are so new that shipments have yet to begin but are due to in August. So, for now, download the data sheet on the HP Z230 Tower and HP Z230 SFF from the link at the end of today’s Pick of the Week write-up. There are a couple of videos to watch and a technical paper to download that describes the HP Z230’s chassis and what it means for you.

Thanks, Pal. — Lockwood

Anthony J. Lockwood
Editor at Large, Desktop Engineering

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About Anthony J. Lockwood

Anthony J. Lockwood is Desktop Engineering's Editor-at-Large. Contact him via de-editors@deskeng.com.