HP's workstations are flying high -- quite literally, since NASA has just shipped 30 ZBook 15 Mobile Workstations to the International Space Station (ISS), where they will run mission-critical workloads (life support, vehicle control, maintenance, and operations systems) and support onboard experiments, email, entertainment, and more.
Back on Earth, HP has unveiled an upgrade to its all-in-one Z1 Workstation, currently in its second generation, and also announced that its Remote Graphics Software (RGS) will be available for Mac users.
The main change in the third-generation Z1 G3 Workstation is a reduction in display size from 27 inches to 23.6 inches -- to more easily accommodate customers wanting to run dual-display setups, according to HP. A smaller display stand also means that the Z1 G3's depth is reduced, giving more room for a keyboard in front of the system on smaller desks. Potential customers will be pleased to note a 21 percent cost reduction, bringing the all-in-one Z1 G3 into line with HP's entry-level tower-format Z240 range.
Apart from the smaller display, which has a UHD 4K resolution (3,840 x 2,160 pixels, or 187 pixels per inch), the Z1 G3 offers the following feature upgrades:
- Latest-generation (Skylake) Intel Xeon E3 and Core i5/i7 CPUs
- Up to 64GB of ECC (with Xeon E3) or non-ECC (with Core i5/i7) RAM
- Latest-generation (Maxwell) Nvidia Quadro M1000M and M2000M GPUs
- Dual PCIe HP Z Turbo Drives (for fast boot-up, calculation and response times for large files), plus support for up to two additional 2.5-inch SATA SSDs or hard disk drives
- Dual Thunderbolt 3 ports with USB Type C connectors and USB 3.1 support
HP notes that its workstation customers require "mission-critical reliability where downtime is not an option," which it satisfies with "true server-grade hardware". We look forward to testing that with a review unit in due course. The HP Z1 G3 Workstation is expected to be available in the UK in May starting at £1,050.
Remote Graphics Software
HP describes RGS as "a remote desktop tool on steroids". It comprises a sender on a high-performance Windows or Linux workstation that transmits encrypted screen content over the network to a receiver on a remote laptop or PC. According to HP, it's a ground-up rewrite of the traditional remote desktop solution, including the proprietary HP3 codec, and is aimed at engineers, animators and scientists who want to work more flexibly.
RGS is a free download for HP Z workstation customers, and can also be purchased for use on supported non-HP hardware. And this summer, a Mac OS X (10.10/10.11) version of the RGS receiver will also be available, for free, to RGS customers.
HP says that, when connected via RGS to a fully-loaded HP Z840 Workstation, the result "is like upgrading your Mac with up to 9x the processing cores, 30x the memory and adding professional Nvidia Quadro graphics".