At its launch, HP referred to its Z800 as a rock star amongst workstations. We take it for spin to see if it deserves to sit centre stage or if it should head back into rehab.
For those who think computers are dull, functional and slightly boring, the name 'workstation' isn't going to change their minds in a hurry. After all, it does what its name suggests - it's something that you sit at to get a job done as quickly and efficiently as possible.
HP's Z800 workstation is designed to do very much that, but there's one difference - it's a computer that's encased in a system that can quite justifiably be described as 'cool', which isn't the sort of term you'd normally find associated with workstations.
The Z800 sits at the top of HP's latest range of workstations, a successor to its xw series, though the latter is still available to buy on the HP website. The Z series is a new platform based on Intel's Nehalem architecture, and HP's Z400 and Z600 systems accompany it lower down the range.
The Z800, meanwhile, sits at the top of the tree and is aimed at serious computing tasks where multilple processors and huge amounts of memory bandwidth is required. We’re talking intense data analysis for industries such as oil exploration, and literally rocket science.
Prices for the Z800 range from £2,810 ex. VAT to £5,809 ex. VAT and that does not include a graphics card, so budget for that as well.
The key to the Z800 is the design; with the new look machines being created by BMW DesignWorks USA. It has a series of ridges running down the front that not only gives it a smart, efficient look, but also enables air to flow into the case from front to back, cooling all the internals.
A handle has been integrated into the design at the top and at the rear making it easier to move about during an office move. The case also stands on slightly raised rests so can be slid around a desk if needs be. HP has also said that the Z800's are virtually the same dimensions (20.35 x 52.65 x 44.51 cm) as the xw9400 series so making it straightforward to upgrade without having to invest in new desks.
Processors: 2x Intel Xeon 5560 2.8GHz
Memory: 24MB DDR3 RAM
Chipset: Intel 5520
Graphics: ATI FirePro 5700 Graphics
Storage: Fujitsu MBA3300 147GB iSCSI hard disk, Hitachi Ultrastar 15K450 300GB HUS154530VLS300 SAS hard disk, Hitachi LG HL-DT-ST DVD-RAM Optical drive
Operating System: Windows XP 64-bit
Warranty: 3 year parts and labour worldwide
Dimensions: 20.35 x 52.65 x 44.51 cm