HP's Z820 workstation: Just how much "tool-free serviceability" does it offer?

The only think you will need to take this workstation down to its component parts is a T15 Torx or a flathead screwdriver.

The Z820 is HP's new workstation built with high-end computing and visualization in mind. It also promises "tool-free serviceability" – but just how much "tool-free serviceability" can you expect from an OEM like HP? This is the question that the service team from iFixit set out to answer.

So, just how tool-free is it?

The answer: very.

HP Z820
(Source: iFixit)

The HP Z820 is a beast of a system, featuring support for one or two Intel Xeon E5 processors, 16 DIMM slots configurable to half a Terabyte of ECC DDR3 RAM, up to 5 3.5-inch 7200rpm SATA drives, three external 5.25-inch drive bays, and comes with several Nvidia GPU options.

The iFixit team were able to do the following with no tools whatsoever:

  • Get inside the Z820
  • Remove hard drives and optical drives
  • Remove the PSU
  • Remove the cooling fan assembly
  • Remove the RAM
  • Remove the PCIe cards
  • Remove the motherboard

In fact, the only time the iFixit team had to resort to tools was to remove the CPU heatsinks, and these were held in place with combination flathead/T15 Torx screws, which made them easy to get past.

Given how easy it is to get inside and work on the HP Z820, iFixit repairability score of 10 out of 10 (where 10 is easiest to repair).

Personally, I have a love-hate relationship with tool-free PC designs. I like the idea but hate the over-reliance on plastic fittings, which can wear out and break.