New Features Include Windows 8 Multitouch, Up-to-Date Nvidia Quadro GPUs, Matte-Screen Option

At CES, HP updated the tightly packed Z1 all-in-one pro workstation it launched back in 2012 with the new Z1 G2, which adds Windows 8 multitouch capability and Thunderbolt 2 — an optional module that fits into the side of the system —  to the sleek desktop design.

Like its predecessor, the Z1 G2 has two USB 3.0 ports, but FireWire has been removed. "Given that we have two Thunderbolt 2 ports, as well as USB 3, we felt it was time to free that space up on our platform," said Mike Diehl, worldwide product manager for high-end workstations, during a press briefing to introduce the system. "Another significant step forward, due to customer usage models, is incorporation of mSATA Flash storage in addition to the other two drive bays included. We can support up to three storage devices. The perfect usage model may be where a user places the OS and applications on a very fast flash storage device and lets their data be in a RAID array across two SSDs or small-form-factor drives."

The Z1 G2 features the same chassis design as its predecessor, allowing users to get under the hood without using tools to loosen screws or pry open components. The G2 uses a fourth-generation Intel Haswell 22 nm CPU, with support for up to 95W processors. (CPU options include the Intel Core i3-4130 and i5-4570 as well as Intel Xeon E3-1225v3, -1245v3, and -1280v3.) A single Gen3 PCIe x16 NXN slot supports Nvidia Kepler 2 mobile GPUs, with the Nvidia Quadro K610M, K2100M, K3100M, and K4100 available as options. 

The system has four slots for two-channel DDR3 memory (up to 32 GB total), supports 3.5- and 2.5-inch HDD, SSD, or mSATA devices, and is built around a 400W power supply. Wireless LAN and Bluetooth are on board.

The 27-inch 2560×1440 8-bit display uses the same panel as HP's Z27i professional display, and is available in a glassy finish for touch-interface use as well as an optional matte finish for non-touch systems.

Asked about the potential for a version of the Z1 with an actual 4K display at some point, HP reps declined to comment. "We do recognize that 4K workflows are becoming more popular," said Josh Peterson, director of worldwide product management, "but we can't comment on unannounced products."

The Zw G2 will run Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 — and will support Linux, as well.

Finally, support for optical discs — remember those? — includes options for slim tray-load DVD-ROM, DVD RW, and BD-R drives. The Z1 G2 is scheduled to ship by the end of this month, with a starting price of $1,999.