HP Z1 review

£3048
Price when reviewed

The market for all-in-one PCs has been pretty static over the past year or so, with Apple’s iMac and Sony’s VAIOs at the top of the heap, a bevy of consumer machines and business desktops below, and precious little innovation. HP’s Z1 changes all that, with one of the most exciting designs we’ve ever seen.

Initially, it looks like any other all-in-one: it’s a screen on a stand with a computer clamped to the back. Press the green button on the hinge, however, and the Z1’s 27in IPS screen tilts to a horizontal position. A quick tug on two tabs at the bottom of the screen, and the display lifts up like a car bonnet, revealing the PC’s insides.

It’s the Z1’s party piece, and it’s deeply impressive. The screen lifts up smoothly on its own hydraulic cylinder – installed so it can be left to close safely – and the PC’s components are laid bare, most of them in proprietary caddies and enclosures.

On the left-hand side is the power supply, housed in a long, narrow metal shroud, and it’s connected to the PC with a standard 24-pin ATX power plug. The graphics card is a mobile part mounted on a desktop-style card and connected to the board via an MXM PCI Express x16 slot. Beside that is the hard disk, which is held in a plastic caddy that pivots in and out of the case, and next to that is the removable heatsink and optical drive.

Almost all the main components can be removed with a quick tug of a green tab, with a Torx screwdriver needed to remove the Intel Xeon processor and its heatsink. The motherboard itself is accessible, too: the DIMM slots and SATA ports are easy to get at, and the mobile Wi-Fi chip sits in a mini-PCI Express x1 slot with two more of these small ports free alongside it.

HP’s ingenious design extends further than the removable components. There’s only one 3.5in hard disk enclosure, but it’s home to two combined SATA and power connections, with support for RAID0 and 1 included, so in theory you could install a pair of 2.5in drives. Alas there are no preinstalled fittings, so this approach would require a bit of DIY bodging. Elsewhere, two daughterboards are pressed into service: one for the USB sockets, card reader and audio connections on the right-hand side, and another for the four small speakers at the front of the machine. There’s even a diagram of the Z1’s internals on the inside of the lid.

HP Z1

It’s all put together extremely well, with cables hidden and routed between components, and we can’t fault the build quality: the huge stand and sturdy enclosure make for an extremely solid-feeling machine. Its sheer bulk means the act of moving the screen up and down requires a bit of muscle, though.

Don’t for one minute think the internal design is the Z1’s only appealing feature: the IPS panel, for starters is a sterling piece of work. It measures 27in from corner to corner, sports a resolution of 2,560 x 1,440 and detail is pin-sharp. Theres no sign of backlight bleed at all and weve few issues when it comes to quality. The 472.8cd/m2 brightness level makes for a panel that’s bright without searing your retinas, and the contrast ratio of 637:1 is fine. Colour accuracy is excellent thanks to a Delta E of 2.1 – better than almost everything else out there, and a fine foil for the similarly excellent iMac.

Warranty

Warranty3 yr return to base

Basic specifications

Total hard disk capacity1,000GB
RAM capacity8.00GB
Screen size27.0in

Processor

CPU familyIntel Xeon
CPU nominal frequency3.60GHz
Processor socketLGA 1155
HSF (heatsink-fan)HP proprietary

Motherboard

MotherboardHP proprietary
Conventional PCI slots free0
Conventional PCI slots total0
PCI-E x16 slots free0
PCI-E x16 slots total1
PCI-E x1 slots free2
PCI-E x1 slots total3
Internal SATA connectors4
Wired adapter speed1,000Mbits/sec

Memory

Memory typeDDR3
Memory sockets free2
Memory sockets total4

Graphics card

Graphics cardNvidia Quadro 3000M
Multiple SLI/CrossFire cards?no
3D performance settingLow
Graphics chipsetNvidia Quadro 3000M
Graphics card RAM2.00GB
DVI-I outputs0
HDMI outputs0
VGA (D-SUB) outputs0
DisplayPort outputs1
Number of graphics cards1

Hard disk

Hard diskHitachi DeskStar
Capacity1.00TB
Hard disk usable capacity931GB
Internal disk interfaceSATA/600
Spindle speed7,200RPM
Cache size64MB
Hard disk 2 make and modelN/A
Hard disk 2 nominal capacityN/A
Hard disk 2 formatted capacityN/A
Hard disk 2 spindle speedN/A
Hard disk 2 cache sizeN/A
Hard disk 3 make and modelN/A
Hard disk 3 nominal capacityN/A
Hard disk 4 make and modelN/A
Hard disk 4 nominal capacityN/A

Drives

Optical disc technologyDVD writer

Monitor

Monitor make and modelHP proprietary
Resolution screen horizontal2,650
Resolution screen vertical1,440
Resolution2650 x 1440
DisplayPort inputs1

Case

Case formatAll-in-one
Dimensions660 x 419 x 584mm (WDH)

Free drive bays

Free front panel 5.25in bays0

Rear ports

USB ports (downstream)4
FireWire ports1
PS/2 mouse portno
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports0
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports1
Modemno
3.5mm audio jacks6

Front ports

Front panel USB ports2
Front panel memory card readeryes

Mouse & Keyboard

Mouse and keyboardHP wireless keyboard and mouse

Operating system and software

OS familyWindows 7

Noise and power

Idle power consumption133W
Peak power consumption271W

Performance tests

3D performance (crysis) low settings134fps
3D performance settingLow
Overall Real World Benchmark score1.02
Responsiveness score0.98
Media score1.08
Multitasking score0.99

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