HP Announces New Workstation and EliteBooks

Hewlett-Packard announced some new hardware today:

  • The HP Z210 Workstation, an entry-level workstation designed for a broad market segment that works with images or video and
  • An update to the HP EliteBook w-series, which encompasses three new laptops designed to be rugged and strong enough for professional tasks.

HP Z210 Workstation: Compact, cheap and capable

The HP Z210 Workstation seems to be a good fit for designers working with basic CAD graphics and projects in Adobe Creative Suite. What I like about the Z210 compared to a Mac Pro is its versatility: a mini-tower and smaller compact box are available. In contrast, the Mac Pro only comes in one size: large. The smaller form factor is priced at US $569 and the mini-tower is $659, so both are fairly cheap and still more powerful than last year’s HP Z200 product.

From the press release:

The HP Z210 SFF is 65 percent smaller than the HP Z210 CMT. Both sizes offer the choice of high-performance, enterprise-class Intel® Xeon® E3 and second-generation Intel Core™ i3/i5/i7 processors, surpassing PC offerings and increasing overall performance by up to 20 percent over previous-generation processors.

“Built for professionals, HP Z210 workstations with the new Intel Xeon processor E3 1200 family are changing the definition of the entry-level workstation,” said Anthony C. Neal-Graves, general manager, Workstation Unit, Intel Corporation. “This processor’s greatest innovation is how it integrates the CPU and graphics engines on the same die. That means visual and 3-D 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 HP EliteBook w-Series

Today HP announced three new laptops in the w-series: the 8760w (17″ display), 8560w (15.6″) and 8460w (14″). Last year I took a look at the 8540w, which preceded the 8560w model. That computer was a well-built and capable mobile workstation and had some pros and cons compared the MacBook Pro. The models announced today have some improvements:

  • A revision to the EliteBook’s industrial design gives it a circular gun-finish on the cover, backlit logo, and actual buttons for the QuickLook and QuickWeb apps that don’t require booting up the machine. Previous models used touch-sensitive glass strips instead of actual buttons, but I remember you had to press them pretty hard to activate them. Going back to physical buttons makes sense.
  • The EliteBook w-Series supports five displays.
  • The touchpad is now glass instead of plastic and it’s twice as big.
  • The 8540w I tested had a variety of access points on the laptop’s base; HP has simplified and streamlined the base for this new lineup.
  • The 8760w can support up to 3TB on three hard drives and some powerful video cards, such as the NVIDIA Quadro 5010M with 4GB video memory.

The EliteBook 8760w and 8560w both offer DreamColor displays. I learned in the press demo that DreamColor was developed in collaboration with DreamWorks Animation, the well-known computer-generated animation studio. In testing, DreamWorks measured their displays before and after a nine-month project and they didn’t lose their initial calibration in a measurable way. The EliteBook I tested a few months ago had a very nice DreamColor display with good color, but of course I didn’t test it over the course of nine months.

The HP EliteBook 8760w, 8560w and 8460w start at $1,899, $1,349 and $1,299 respectively, and are expected to be available in the United States in May.