New workstation ultrabook has Haswell processors, Keplar graphics

With the latest refresh of its Z-series workstation family, Hewlett-Packard Co. isn’t just adding the latest Intel processors and Nvidia graphics – it’s adding a new form factor as well.

HP already has several mobile workstations in its Z-series lineup, but its new HP ZBook 14 is its first ultraportable workstation, meeting all the requirements set down by Intel to meet the ultrabook specification. Non ultra-book, but still mobile and portable, it has also launched the ZBook 15 and ZBook 17.

While HP already had a 14” mobile workstation previously, customers told the vendor they wanted something thinner and lighter in the 14” category but with the same functionality and features, said Ira Weiss, business category manager for workstations with HP Canada.

“We built a new 14” ultrabook workstation that meets those expectations, and gives them a high performance workstation in a mobile platform,” said Weiss.

The ZBook 14 weighs in at just under 3.5 lbs, and measures about 22mm thick. All three ZBooks feature 4th generation Intel Haswell dual and quad-core processor options and the newest Nvidia and AMD graphic options, including Nvidia’s new Keplar-based professional graphics. A touch-enabled panel is available for the ZBook 14, and the ZBook 15 and 17 come with a Thunderbolt port and optopma; DreamColor Display panel for higher-end image display.

ZBook 14

In addition to the new mobile workstations, HP also refreshed its Z-series workstation towers with three new models: the Z420, Z620 and Z820, each offering progressively more power for users with more workload-intensive computing needs. All three will be available with Intel’s new Ivy Bridge processors, the Xeon E5-1600v2 and E5-2600v2 and new memory HP says will run 16 per cent faster, and 2nd generation Thunderbolt ports with data transfer speeds four times faster than USB 3.0.

The high-end model is the dual socket Z820 with up to 24 processing cores, up to 512GB of ECC memory, up to 15TB storage, and up to two Nvidia K6000 graphics cards. The mid-level Z620 has up to 24 discrete processing cores, up to 192GB of ECC memory, up to 12TB of storage and either Nvidia K6000 or dual K5000 graphics. And the Z420 offers up to eight processing cores, up to 64GB of ECC memory, up to 12TB of storage, and Nvidia K600 or AMD W700 or dual Nvidia K2000 graphics.

“These new models are evolutionary updates to the current workstations,” said Weiss. “You’re really getting improved performance.”

Finally, HP also launched two new Z Displays optimized for use with its workstations: the HP Z27i and HP Z30i OPS. The vendor promises 100 per cent coverage of the sRGB colour space, and with the Z30i full coverage of the Adobe RGB colour space, as well as power savigns of up to 37 per cent over the previous generation.

“We have programs and promotions in place to help resellers with (taking the new models to market),” said Weiss. “The U.S. has a full series of Blue Carpet partner training modules, and we’ll be leveraging those and bringing them to Canada to help resellers communicate fully the value proposition of HP workstations.”

Communicating that value proposition is key to partner success in the workstation space, said Weiss.  He has recently been focused on working with HP’s traditional PC resellers to add workstations to their lineup, which can offer more profitable margins than traditional hardware sales. He said there’s money to be made by partners upselling from PCs to workstations, if they can communicate the business value to their clients.

“I really try to talk to them about articulating the value of the workstation to their customers, why they should be talking to their customers about workstations,” said Weiss. “It’s really the value message that will help them upsell their customers from a PC to a workstation.”

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Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras
A veteran technology and business journalist, Jeff Jedras began his career in technology journalism in the late 1990s, covering the booming (and later busting) Ottawa technology sector for Silicon Valley North and the Ottawa Business Journal, as well as everything from municipal politics to real estate. He later covered the technology scene in Vancouver before joining IT World Canada in Toronto in 2005, covering enterprise IT for ComputerWorld Canada. He would go on to cover the channel as an assistant editor with CDN. His writing has appeared in the Vancouver Sun, the Ottawa Citizen and a wide range of industry trade publications.

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