HP announces next-gen workstation Ultrabooks

The Zbook 15u checks in at 6.3 lbs compared to 4.23 for the HP Zbook 14, while both have 5th-generation Intel Core processors, up to 16 GB of memory and up to 1.25 TB of storage.

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The HP ZBook 14 (left) and the HP ZBook 15u

This afternoon at CES, HP announced next generation versions of its thin and light workstation Ultrabooks, the HP ZBook 14 and the HP ZBook 15u, which is a 15.6 inch screen model. At the same time, HP also announced its next-generation virtual workstation and enhancements to its Remote Graphics Software.

“Historically, the demand for mobile workstations was performance, to do things like showing 3D demos when visiting customers, but as we made products thinner and lighter, the mobile element became as important,” said Jimmy Holbert, Worldwide Mobile Workstation Category Manager at HP. “We had 14 inch mobile workstations in the past, and we put quad cores on them, but then the result was that they weren’t very mobile. These ones have Intel I7 processors, discrete graphics and other workstation features, but all put in the smallest possible chassis.” The Zbook 15u checks in at 6.3 lbs compared to 4.23 for the HP Zbook 14.

The two new models are targeted at the film and video editing, graphic design, CAD, education, architecture, manufacturing, finance and healthcare markets.

“The mobile workstation market is growing because everything is getting a lot smaller, and also because more people are carrying around digital cameras that require high end processing,” Holbert said.

The new models have either a 14-inch or 15.6-inch diagonal high-performance screen size, and are equipped with the new 5th-generation Intel Core processors, up to 16 GB of memory and up to 1.25 TB of storage. They also have HP Z Turbo Drive with PCIe connected solid-state storage, which have twice the performance of SATA SSD.

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The HP ZBook 14

“This is a significant technology innovation here,” Holbert said. “In the past, there had been a SATA bottleneck, but the higher performance of the PCI Express Port removes that bottleneck.”

These machines also come with AMD FirePro 3D graphics.

“Most customers demand Intel processors, but AMD, through their acquisition of ATI, has developed great graphics capability, especially at the low and mid end of the market,” Holbert said. Nvidia is stronger at the high end.

Both ZBook Mobile Workstation models are designed to undergo MIL-STD 810G testing and underwent 115,000 hours of testing in the HP Total Test Process.

In related announcements, HP unveiled the ninth generation of its HP DL380z Virtual Workstation product, which offers more power, more integrated I/O and an enhanced chassis with more expandability than the previous generation. High-end 3D graphics performance is provided by NVIDIA GRID cards. The DL380z has an innovative 2U rack mount, is powered by next-generation Intel E5 v3 processors with up to 36 cores, and has up to 3.5 GHz, and up to 1.5 TB DDR4 2133 MHz memory. It operates with a Windows and Linux Client OS and supports Citrix and VMware virtualized environments.

HP also announced HP Remote Graphics Software (RGS) 7.1, which delivers 60 per cent faster performance for workstation or server-based graphic-rich applications and collaboration remotely in real time from any PC, thin client or Windows tablet. RGS 7.1 also allows native Wacom tablet redirection to Linux at animation and FX studios across the country for collaboration between studios and remote offices to speed up the digital editing and content creation process.

The HP ZBook 14 and 15u Workstation Ultrabook products are expected to be available worldwide this month. Estimated U.S. pricing starts at $1,249 and $1,199, respectively. The HP DL380z Virtual Workstation is available now. HP Remote Graphics Software 7.1 is expected to begin shipping on HP Z Desktop and Mobile ZBook Workstations starting in April 2015 and will be available as a free download for existing HP Z Workstation customers at the same time. It will also be available to purchase for use on all other supported hardware.