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Video: HP launches Xeon powered

New Z Series will enable productivity gains that cover the purchase cost in months, HP claims

Beverly Hills, Calif. – Hewlett Packard (NASDAQ: HPQ) has refreshed its high-end, high-performance workstation line with the launch of its new HP Z Series workstations. Designed to leverage the power of Intel’s new Xeon 5500 processors, the vendor says the completely redesigned workstations offer compelling efficiencies around productivity and IT management, and strong opportunities for partners to drive higher margins and value-added services.

The Z workstations feature the new Intel Xeon processor 5500 series with integrated memory controllers and Intel Turbo Boost Technology, built-in high-definition audio and an option for solid-state drives, and include three models.

*The entry level HP Z400 starts at US$969 and is aimed at professionals working in video editing, photography, design and engineering. The first single-socket workstation based on Intel’s Nahalem architecture, the Z400 also comes with a liquid-cooling option.

*The mid-level HP Z600 starts at US$1,679 and balances size and performance for professionals in industries such as video production, finance and midrange CAD, supporting up to eight displays.

*The high-end HP Z800 starts at US1,999 and is designed for users working with applications such as 3-D animation, broadcast video, oil and gas discovery, and medical imaging. The quad-core machine also leverages the new Intel QuickPath Technology, and comes with a liquid-cooling option.

Jeff Wood, director of worldwide workstation marketing for HP, said a large portion of HP’s workstation business flows through the channel, and the Z Series workstations represent an opportunity for the channel not only to drive performance into the market, but to drive more services to their end users. Margins tend to be better on higher-end machines, and Wood said partners can add further value by integrating other graphics cards, more memory, and new software solutions. He adds many partners are starting to work on pre-packaged bundles.

“For the video production market they might integrate Adobe CS4 Suite and offer some value-added services to the end customer,” said Wood. “It’s a great opportunity to offer a richer solution to the end customer, earning more revenue and higher margin, and quite frankly, giving an end solution to the end customer they wouldn’t be able to get anywhere else.”

The performance and productivity gains enabled by the new workstations make the Z Series a stimulus package for the enterprise said Jim Zafarana, vice-president and general manager of HP’s workstation global business unit. When you do the math, he said, the new workstations can pay for themselves in one to three months, depending on the workflow.

“We really believe in the midst of the most competitive economic environment most people in this room have ever seen, productivity should be at the forefront of our minds,” said Zafarana. “More than ever, in this kind of economy, we believe our customers need to improve their productivity, to get a great return on their innovation resources. Our new HP Z workstations were designed from the core-out to completely change the workstation experience, both in levels of performance, reliability and innovation.”

In addition to performance improvements, the new systems offer improved energy efficiency, including an 89 per cent power supply on the Z800, and the line has achieved Energy Star 5.0 certification.

The Z Series also integrates several design innovations designed to allow for easier maintenance, upgradability and portability. For example, handles have been integrated into the box because HP heard from customers that they’re regularly moving their workstations to set up new project teams.

“It’s important these systems are very easy to service and very reliable,” said Zafarana. “We’ve designed these in a modular fashion so the IT person can go in, upgrade or reconfigure the systems with just a touch of their hands as their project needs change.

A modular design has also been employed inside the chassis that reduces cabling, and allows components to be swapped in and out without tools.

“As we surveyed our customers, many told us when they go in and try to upgrade or reconfigure a competitive system they’ll have cuts on their hands, they’ll literally bleed,” said Zafarana. “That won’t happen with our design. This system is designed for the one tool we all carry with us: our hands. It’s tool-less. It’s very intuitive.”