HP Workstations Feature Intel, Nvidia, AMD Chips, PC Pricing

HP has introduced new EliteBook workstations as well as a Z210 small form-factor and Z210 minitower with big power but small price tags.

Hewlett-Packard's workstation-making history extends back 30 years, and on April 12, at the Microsoft MIX11 event in Las Vegas, the PC maker kept the tradition going with the introduction of three new mobile workstations, a convertible minitower and new small form-factor workstations.

The high-powered machines, for markets from animation to finance to oil and gas, count performance, durability and portability among their expected bragging points, and for the first time HP has also put a focus on design, prettying up its w-series EliteBooks with radial-brushed gunmetal finishes, backlit logos and orange accents.The three new EliteBooks are also built on HP's new "Forge" framework, which the company said in a statement would "embody a timeless construction, with precision-engineered durability features" designed to be reliable and environmentally sensitive. They also support migration to professional 3D applications with second-generation Intel Core i7 and i5 dual- and quad-core processors and up to 32GB of RAM.The most powerful of these, the EliteBook 8760, features a 17.3-inch high-definition screen, a choice of Advanced Micro Devices' FirePro or Nvidia's Quadro professional graphics, up to 4GB of video memory and can be configured with one of three hard drives and RAID 5 support.A smaller 8560w features a 15.6-inch HD display, either AMD FirePro graphics for 1GB of video memory or Nvidia Quadro graphics for 2GB of video memory and the option of an HP DreamColor display. The DreamColor displays enable 1 billion active color combinations, which, according to HP, is 64 times that of a traditional display. It additionally uses a 30-bit notebook LCD panel for a "level of color control exclusive to the EliteBook w-series," HP said in a statement, and can be combined with HP's Mobile Display Assistant and Advanced Profiling Solution, for more precise color control.Lastly, the HP EliteBook 8460w features a 14-inch HD display, an AMD FirePro 1GB video memory professional graphics card and a starting weight of 4.9 pounds.When paired with an AMD discrete graphics solution and the optional Advanced Docking Station, any of the three notebooks can support up to five independent displays. There are USB 2.0, USB 3.0 and eSATA ports; the HP Performance advisor user interface, for calibrating the machine's performance, and compatibility with HP's Extended Life Notebook Battery or Ultra-Capacity Notebook Battery. The 8760w and 8560w come with an 8-cell battery, while the 8460w can be paired with 6- or 9-cell options.The 8760w starts at $1,899, the 8560w at $1,349 and the 8460w at $1,299, and all three will be available in May.The new 17.6 by 7 by 17.9-inch HP Z210 CMT (convertible minitower) and the made-for-tiny-spaces SFF (small form-factor)-which is 65 percent smaller than the convertible system, at 3.95 by 13.3 by 15 inches-are shooting for workstation power on PC budgets. Created for image-viewing industries such as video editing, they feature next-generation Intel Xeon E3-1200 Family processors with 3.5GHz Intel Xeon E3-1280 or 2nd-generation Intel Core i3, i5 or i7 processors and claim performance boosts of 20 percent over their previous versions. For the first time on HP workstations, there's also the option of Intel vPro technology."HP Z210 workstations with the new Intel Xeon processor E3 1200 family are changing the definition of the entry-level workstation," Anthony C. Neal-Graves, general manager of Intel's Workstation unit, said in a statement. "This processor's greatest innovation is how it integrates the CPU and graphics engines on the same die. That means visual and 3D graphics capabilities that were once only available to entry workstation users with discrete graphics cards will now be accessible to anyone with an entry workstation powered by the Intel Xeon E3 family with Intel HD Graphics P3000."Users have the choice of new Intel HD Graphics P3000/2000 and 2D and 3D graphics options from Nvidia and AMD, there are tool-free chassis entry designs, multiple USB ports, expanded PCIe, FireWire, USB 2.0 or optional USB 3.0 interfaces, a variety of SATA, eSATA and storage bays, an HP Blu-ray Writer and a media card reader.They're also energy efficient, with 90 percent efficient power supplies, and are more than 90 percent recyclable. All HP workstations also come with HP Performance Advisor software, which helps users to tune the machine and track its power utilization.Available immediately, the HP Z210 CMT starts at $659 and the Z210 SFF at $569.