HP has unveiled a powerful workstation PC aimed at graphics professionals. The Z1 is its first workstation in all in one PC form factor. It has a 27in LED-backlit screen is an IPS (in-plane switching) panel that supports 32bit colour. This enables the Z1 to display a billion different shades of colour, up from the 16.7 million that most flatpanel monitors can process. It will cost from $1899 and will go onsale worldwide in April. 

The PC, powered by a pair of Intel Xeon processors, was unwrapped at HP’s Global Partners Conference in Las Vegas. It is a revision of HP’s existing high-end Z800 workstation – a product line introduced in 2009 and described by HP’s Jeff Wood as “our badge of honour”.

HP is the worldwide market leader in workstations as well as desktop PCs as a whole, something it attributes to creating the right product and then ensuring its “unrivalled reliability”. Wood referred to the “mission-critical” work that designers using workstation PCs are routinely engaged in. They’re engaged in medical imaging, designing planes, trains and automobiles – they’re in the White House”, he enthused.

Clad in brushed aluminium, the HP Z1 has a double-jointed stand allowing the screen to be folded flat. It also aids upgrades: as with other products in the Z workstation line, the all in one model is toolless. A Kensington lock prevents unauthorised access to the machine’s innards. The nVidia Quadro MXM graphics card, EEC high-performance memory, SSD and SATA drives (there are twin bays to accommodate these) and the power supply unit can all be pulled free from the motherboard and replaced. The base model will be an Intel Core i3 2120 processor. HP says it uses mobile nVidia graphics for reasons of ensuring the Z1's quiet operation.

The Z1 sports two USB 3.0 ports, has a high-definition video camera, optional slot-loading Blu-ray drive, a 90-degree tiltable screen, cushioned front-facing SRS speakers and a stereo microphone.

HP is consciously trying to create design-led products – a good ploy given the enthusiasm that consumers and creative professional show for Apple’s pretty PCs and iMacs. Earlier in the press conference, Vyomesh Joshi, executive vice-president of HP’s imaging and printing group, spoke of HP’s commitment to designing “products people don’t just want – they desire”.