HP Z1 All-in-One Workstation PC Review

HP Z1 All-in-One Workstation PC Review

Trace takes a look at HP's newest all-in-one workstation: the Z1, a machine that packs enterprise reliability into an attractive package.

| Jan 13, 2014 at 8:00 am CST
Rating: 91%Manufacturer: HP

Introduction, Specifications, Configurations, Pricing


We've got HP's Z1 all-in-one workstation in the lab. It's somewhat unusual for a workstation to be an all-in-one machine, but the Z1 appears to pull it off quite nicely. The machine features a large display that hides all of the rest of the components.

The Z1 expands upon HP's reliable workstation lineup by providing workstation-class reliability, in an attractive all-in-one package. Workstations feature nearly identical hardware to desktop PCs, but are put through a rigorous testing schedule to verify reliability, and compatibility.

Since this is our first workstation review, we've introduced a new benchmark, and the methodology hasn't been fully set in stone. Benchmarks may be added or removed as we verify results across multiple machines.

Without further ado, let's dive into the meat of this review, and see what the Z1 is made of -literally.

Specifications, Configurations and Pricing

Our specific configuration of the HP Z1 features an Intel Xeon E3-1245v2, a 77-watt server chip. Intel's Xeon designation is for chips that are usually used in servers, a place where reliability is important, as downtime is costly. The E3-1245v2 is specifically a four-core, eight-thread beast, clocked at 3.4GHz, with TurboBoost taking it up to 3.8GHz.

The E3-1245 is paired with an NVIDIA Quadro K3000M professional video card. NVIDIA's Quadro line of GPUs is designed to utilize drivers that have been tweaked for professional applications, rather than gaming. It features 2GB of VRAM, and is an entry-level Quadro GPU.

The Z1 is equipped with 16GB of RAM, which should be plenty for most professionals. The RAM is configured with four 4GB sticks. It clocks in at 1,600MHz, and features ECC, which also adds to the stability of the overall system.

The operating system pre-installed on our system's 256GB SSD is Windows 7 Professional 64-bit. Users can customize the Z1 to come with a variety of different hardware depending on their needs on budget.

Our system specifically retails for around $3,580, though the Z1 all-in-one can be had for as cheap as $1,899.

Packaging, Bundle and System Pictures

You can see the HP Z1's packaging below in the unboxing video.

System Pictures

The following pictures are of the system:

HP Z1 All-in-One Workstation PC Review 02 | TweakTown.com
HP Z1 All-in-One Workstation PC Review 03 | TweakTown.com

Testing Methodology

- CPU Tests

Cinebench R11.5 starts off our tests. The multi-threaded rendering test is run, and the score is reported. wPrime is run for both the 32M calculation, and the 1024M calculation, with the number of threads available on the system.

- Storage Tests

CrystalDiskMark is run to put a number on how well the system HDD / SSD runs. It measures five different metrics, of which higher scores are better for all. The higher the numbers, the snappier the operating system will feel; especially if the "4K" number is high, as most operating system files are small files.

HD Tune is run on any storage drives installed in the system. Maximum, minimum, and average read and write speeds are reported in the charts.

- System Tests

PCMark 7 is run to get an overall idea of how the system performs as a whole. It tests all aspects of the PC, and puts a score on how well it performs overall. In this test, a low scoring area can affect the overall score, so it's important to read the analysis. A higher score is better.

- Gaming Tests

3DMark Vantage is run on the "Extreme" preset to get a feel for how the computer would manage gaming. The CPU, GPU, and combined scores are reported. A higher overall score is best, and a high GPU or CPU score shows particular prowess with tasks that use that part of the computer.

3DMark 11 is run on the "Extreme" preset, and the Physics, GPU, and combined scores are reported. This test is only run if the system supports DirectX 11. A higher overall score is the target, though a high individual result shows prowess in a particular area.

3DMark- Fire Strike Extreme Test is run on the system to measure DirectX 11 performance, and CPU performance. 3DMark is the latest version of Futuremark's widely used gaming benchmarking software. The combined, GPU, and Physics scores are all reported in the charts.

Battlefield 3 is run at 1920 x 1080 resolution with the graphics preset set to "Ultra." The test is run three times due to higher variability than the other benchmarks. FRAPS is used to record 60 seconds worth of FPS data; recording starts when the character first picks up the gun at the start of the campaign, and usually finishes shortly after the train explosion. The game is played in a similar manner each time.

Crysis 3 is run at 1920 x 1080 resolution with the graphics specifications set to "Very High." No anti-aliasing is used. See the picture on actual test page to see full details. The test is run three times due to higher variability than the other benchmarks. FRAPS is used to record 60 seconds worth of FPS data; recording starts at the start of the campaign, and finishes most of the way up the tower. The game is played in a similar manner each time.

- Heat, Noise, and Power Consumption

The system is fully loaded using Furmark and Prime 95. Component temperatures are recorded using CoreTemp and Furmark. Noise is recorded in front of the system; midway up, six inches from the machine, using a decibel reader.

Idle power consumption is system consumption while sitting at the desktop, as recorded by a Kill-A-Watt style meter. Loaded consumption is recorded using the same meter, during the load of Prime 95 and Furmark.

CPU Tests

Version and / or Patch Used: R11.5 build CB25720DEMO

Developer Homepage: http://www.maxon.net

Product Homepage: http://www.maxon.net/products/cinebench/overview.html

CINEBENCH is a real-world, cross platform test suite that evaluates your computer's performance capabilities. CINEBENCH is based on MAXON's award-winning animation software: CINEMA 4D, which is used extensively for 3D content creation by studios and production houses worldwide. MAXON software has been used in blockbuster movies such as Spider-Man, Star Wars, The Chronicles of Narnia, and many more.

HP Z1 All-in-One Workstation PC Review 20 | TweakTown.com

The Xeon in the Z1 produced a respectable core of 7.27. While certainly not the fastest CPU we've tested, it is chosen for its reliability, and its ability to make use of ECC memory, which is something the workstation crowd usually demands.


Version and / or Patch Used: 2.09

Developer Homepage: http://www.wprime.net/

Product Homepage: http://www.wprime.net/

wPrime is a leading multithreaded benchmark for x86 processors that tests your processor performance. It does this by calculating square roots with a recursive call of Newton's method for estimating functions, with f(x)=x2-k (where k is the number we're sqrt-ing), until Sgn(f(x)/f'(x)) does not equal that of the previous iteration; starting with an estimation of k/2. It then uses an iterative calling of the estimation method a set amount of times to increase the accuracy of the results. It then confirms that n(k)2=k to ensure the calculation was correct. It repeats this for all numbers from 1 to the requested maximum.

HP Z1 All-in-One Workstation PC Review 21 | TweakTown.com

wPrime shows similar findings. The CPU is by no means as fast as an overclocked 3770K, but is once again chosen for its reliability and ability to use ECC memory. Faster clocked Xeons are available, which would boost the Z1 into the range of a gaming desktop.

Storage Tests

Version and / or Patch Used: 3.0 Technical Preview

Developer Homepage: http://www.crystalmark.info

Product Homepage: http://crystalmark.info/software/CrystalDiskMark/index-e.html

Download here: http://crystaldew.info/category/software/crystaldiskmark

CrystalDiskMark is a disk benchmark software that allows us to benchmark 4K and 4K queue depths with accuracy.

Key Features:

* Sequential reads/writes

* Random 4KB/512KB reads/writes

* Text copy

* Change dialog design

* Internationalization (i18n)

Note: Crystal Disk Mark 3.0 Technical Preview was used for these tests, since it offers the ability to measure native command queuing at 4 and 32.

HP Z1 All-in-One Workstation PC Review 23 | TweakTown.com

The Z1 is equipped with a speedy 240GB SSD. Its sequential read speeds of 445.8MB/s put it in the middle of the pack, though not too far behind the leader.

HP Z1 All-in-One Workstation PC Review 24 | TweakTown.com

Write speeds for the Z1 continue the trend by placing the machine squarely in third place, though again, not far behind the leader. It produced a sequential write speed of 273.8MB/s.

System Tests

Version and / or Patch Used:

Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com

Product Homepage: http://www.pcmark.com/benchmarks/

PCMark 7 is a great utility for testing a PC's all-around capabilities. It tests all aspects of the computer from graphics performance to hard disk performance, and attempts to put a score on it, which is not an easy task.

HP Z1 All-in-One Workstation PC Review 27 | TweakTown.com

Our Z1 test rig produced a PCMark score of 5618; likely losing out because of its workstation-class video card, which is not ideal for gaming.

Gaming Tests

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.1.0

Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com

Product Homepage: http://www.3dmark.com/3dmarkvantage

3DMark Vantage tests both processor and graphics performance, and is a good indication of how systems compare. The results are generally more repeatable and consistent than other forms of benchmarking. Vantage uses DirectX 10, and can handle multi-core CPUs.

HP Z1 All-in-One Workstation PC Review 37 | TweakTown.com

Just to preface this test: A workstation machine is not designed for playing games. In fact, 3DMark 11 and 3DMark wouldn't even run on the workstation-class GPU installed in the Z1. We've included the 3DMark Vantage tests just to drive this point home. However, you wouldn't buy a workstation to play games.

With that said, the Z1 produced a respectable CPU score of 25619. However, the graphics score was a paltry 5203, which could be bested by a respectable mobile chip.

Temperatures, Noise, and Power Consumption

The system is fully loaded using Furmark and Prime 95, similar to our laptop testing. The sound recordings are made in front of the machine, about 6 inches from the center of the tower. Temperatures are reported as recorded by CoreTemp and Furmark.

HP Z1 All-in-One Workstation PC Review 40 | TweakTown.com

The HP Z1 doesn't fair too well in our temperature testing. As you can see in the chart above, its CPU is among one of the warmest we've seen. The GPU stayed a reasonable 75?C though, which is within the thermal limits for the chip.

HP Z1 All-in-One Workstation PC Review 41 | TweakTown.com

Although, there appears to be a good reason for the high temperatures: low noise production. The Z1 is by far the quietest system we've tested; it produces just 35 decibels of noise. That's basically unnoticeable, or a very, very quiet whisper. This is a good thing, as it would likely be used in a room with a high quantity of systems. If they were all loud, that room would quickly become overbearingly loud.

Power Consumption

Power consumption is measured while the system is loaded for the temperature test, and while sitting idle at the desktop. Measurement is taken at the wall, so it includes everything running in the system; not including the monitor. Note: Since this is an all-in-one system, the monitor is included in the power consumption.

HP Z1 All-in-One Workstation PC Review 42 | TweakTown.com

At idle, the machine draws 161 Watts. This is a bit high because it is powering the monitor as well as the system. During a full load, system energy draw spikes to 278 Watts.

Final Thoughts

This HP Z1 is the first all-in-one system I've had the pleasure of reviewing. It's an extremely well-engineered system, but it is pretty heavy. The 27-inch display is quite nice. It's a 2560x1440 IPS panel that provides roughly 75 percent more pixels than a 1080p screen, or roughly 600 pixels in additional width, and 400 in additional height. When you're working on large pictures, those extra pixels are invaluable.

The design of the Z1 is excellent. The monitor can be tilted so the panel is flat (parallel to the desk), or to various angles for optimum viewing. However, there was an issue with port placement. The power, Ethernet, and various other ports are located on the back of the Z1. This normally wouldn't be an issue; however, the stand makes accessing the ports quite difficult.

The components are user-serviceable; this helps extend the life of the machine, which is something that is important in the workstation market. HP also backs the Z1 with superior customer service, which is something companies shopping for workstations expect.

Performance is excellent. Powered by a workstation video card, the Z1 is capable of all of your 3D modeling, video editing and encoding, picture editing, and other workstation needs. The CPU is a server-class CPU, making it capable of cool, stable running.

It's important to keep in mind that this is a workstation-class product, which means it comes with a professional-class price tag. While the system starts at $1,899, our fairly highly spec'd system comes in at just under $3,600. Before you start saying that's expensive, realize that you're getting a 2560x1440 IPS display included in that price, which costs $350 minimum on Newegg, though the HP version is around $1,000.

When it comes down to it: the HP Z1 all-in-one workstation is an excellent machine. It's decently portable-aside from the weight-making it easy to take with you should the need arise. It's built very solidly with great engineering.

The Z1 is an excellent choice should you be in the market for a workstation, or all-in-one desktop. Just don't be expecting to do any sort of gaming on it if it's equipped with a workstation-class video card.

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Last updated: Apr 7, 2020 at 12:32 pm CDT

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Trace is a starving college student studying Computer Science. He has a love of the English language and an addiction for new technology and speculation. When he's not writing, studying, or going to class, he can be found on the soccer pitch, both playing and coaching, or on the mountain snowboarding.

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