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If you’ve never heard of the HP Z workstation line, you’ve probably never seen one of these powerhouses in action. The HP Z line, which includes tower workstations, small form factor workstations, and mobile laptop workstations, is mostly designed for creative professionals who need power, speed, and flexibility in their systems. These computing behemoths don’t mess around with mid-level specifications—they go for maximum impact with high-end processors, hefty graphics power, and large RAM loadouts. They are to the PC community what Mac Pros are to the Apple community.
Although these top-of-the line PCs are created for robust workloads, HP is keeping models that may suit a more consumer-level need. Consider the HP Z230 F1L68UT Tower Workstation. This unit sports a fast 4th-generation 3.4GHz Intel® Core™ i7-4770 Haswell quad-core processor, which ensures fast web surfing, solid day-to-day word processing and accounting software tasking, and even some light-to-medium video editing. It’s enhanced by 16GB of DDR3 1600MHz non-ECC unoffered RAM, which adds to the power of the processor. For storage, a very fast 256GB solid-state drive will keep your data accessible and ready for action, and the NVIDIA Quadro K2000 graphics card with 2GB of dedicated RAM will suit all your high-end graphic needs.
These and other HP workstations are sold without a monitor, but the open flexibility of the graphics options allows you to tailor your system to be the best it can be, whether it’s for graphics editing, gaming, or just everyday family use. HP also makes Dreamcolor displays that are optimized for high-end graphics work.
This unit also includes a PCie Thunderbolt 2 I/O card so you now have the 20GB/s bi-directional speed to connect displays, hard drives, or other peripherals to your system.
Extras that you expect to find in a high-end system, like USB 3.0 ports, Gigabit Ethernet 10/100/1000 connectivity, and PCIe slots, along with expansion bays for other add-ons like extra hard drives or optical drives are also included. As with most of HP’s workstations, this one comes pre-installed with the Windows 7 Professional (64-bit) operating systems, but includes a license to upgrade to Windows 8.1 Professional.
Next up are the HP Z420 series workstations, which step up the game a little as they incrementally improve the processor. The first, the HP Z420 F1L64UT, comes with a 3.7GHz Intel® Xeon™ E5-1620v2 processor, which runs with a 10MB cache. It can be over-clocked with Intel Turbo Boost, up to 3.9GHz. This quad-core processor is aided and abetted by the same 16GB of DDR3 1600MHz RAM as the previous model, which you will find extremely helpful with high-end tasks like video editing. It also includes a 256GB solid-state drive, Thunderbolt 2 PCIe I/O card, and a Blu-ray writer. This unit does contain a more powerful graphics card, the NVIDIA Quadro K4000, with 3GB of dedicated graphics. The same operating system configuration applies to this as well.
The HP Z420 F1L65UT is configured almost exactly the same, but increases speed with the Intel Xeon E51650v2 processor. This processor is a six-core processor capable of 3.5GHz of speed (overclocking brings that to 3.9GHz) with a 12MB cache. All other parts of this configuration match the F1L64UT.
For the big guns, HP once again revs up the engine with the processor. The HP Z420 Series F1L78UT carries an Intel Xeon E5-1680v2 eight-core processor with a substantial 25MB cache running at 3.0GHz (over-clocking to 3.9 GHz). This model also includes the same 16GB RAM loadout and 256GB solid-state drive as the previous model, but leaves out the Thunderbolt 2 PCie option and graphics card. With that much power under the hood, HP lets you cherry-pick a far more powerful graphics option.
Moving up to the Z620 series workstations, HP has configured these models slightly differently—these include an extra slot if you want to add another CPU. The Z620 Series F1L48UT includes an Intel Xeon E5-2643v2 processor. This six-core processor runs at 3.5GHz and can be over-clocked to 3.8GHz, while maintaining a serious 25MB cache. It is powered with 16GB of DDR3 1866 ECC registered RAM, and includes the Thunderbolt 2 PCIe card option. For graphics work, it includes an NVIDIA Quadro K4000 card with 3GB of dedicated memory, and a Blu-ray writer. The standard OS system configuration from the previous workstations applies here as well.
The other in the Z620 series, the HP Z620 Series F1L49UT model, sports an Intel Xeon E5-2667v2 eight-core processor running at 3.3GHz (with an over-clock speed of 4.0GHz). It also includes the same hard drive, RAM build, and optical drive. What it leaves out is the Thunderbolt 2 option and the graphics card—again, presumably, so that you can build your own mega system from this core.
And last, but certainly not least, is the high-end HP Z820 series. The two models in this series use über processors with incredibly large caches (to better and more efficiently task the multi-core threads of your processor). The first, the HP Z820 Series F1L40UT Workstation, includes an Intel Xeon E5-2667v2 eight-core processor, running at 3.3GHz (over-clock ramps that to 4.0GHz) with a 25MB cache. This rack-mountable workstation also includes 16GB of DDR3 1866MHz ECC unbuffered RAM, a 256GB solid-state drive, Thunderbolt 2 PCie card, Blu-ray writer optical drive, and an NVIDIA Quadro 5000 card with 4GB of dedicated RAM. The other workstation in the series is the HP Z280 Series F1L41UT, which runs an Intel Xeon E5-2697v2 twelve-core processor at 2.7GHz (which can be brought to 3.5GHz with over-clocking), and includes all the amenities of the F1L40UT, with the exception of the Thunderbolt 2 PCIe option and graphics card.
As with all HP Z Series workstations (and mobile units) these three series of workstations are made with two things in mind: power and expandability. You can use these as a base for building a stronger machine or series of machines for your workplace, or you can add your own options to create a high-end workstation at home. These units may be created with heavy design and/or video editing work in mind, but HP also wants the mid-level consumer to know that if what you want is a very powerful computer with options to expand, HP will “Z” that you have it.