HP is now offering Ivy Bridge – Intel’s third-generation Core processor technology –in its entry level desktop and mobile workstations.
The new chip should give a little boost in performance, while reducing running costs due to its energy efficient 22nm design.
HP’s new entry-level desktop workstation is the Z220. Like Lenovo’s ThinkStation E31, it’s available in two form factors – a Convertible Minitower (CMT) and a Small Form Factor (SFF). Both offer a choice of Ivy Bridge Core i7 and Intel Xeon E3-1200v2 processors and up to 32GB of 1600MHz DDR3 memory (ECC or non-ECC) – quite a substantial amount for an entry-level workstation.
There’s also support for Intel Smart Response Technology, a disk caching technology that is designed to improve storage IO performance, for faster boot time and frequently accessed applications (it basically uses a low capacity solid-state drive (SSD) to function as cache for a high-capacity mechanical drive).
At a mere 100mm x 338mm x 381mm, the SFF Z220 looks to be a very tidy machine – nicely styled and incredibly compact. The downside is the trade off in specification – the most significant being limited options in graphics (only an AMD FirePro V3900 or Nvidia Quadro 600).
This really makes it suitable for AutoCAD or entry-level 3D, while the CMT should do pretty well with even the most demanding of 3D CAD applications, with options up to an AMD FirePro V7900 or Nvidia Quadro 4000.
For CAD on the go, HP’s new EliteBook w-series mobile workstations feature a range of new Ivy Bridge Intel Core i7 quad-core or i7 or i5 dual-core processors and up to 32 GB of system memory.
The HP EliteBook 8770w, offers high-end professional graphics (up to Nvidia Quadro K5000M) and a choice of 17.3-inch LED backlit displays including the excellent DreamColor (1,920 x 1,080), which features IPS technology.
With a 15.6-inch screen, the HP EliteBook 8570w gives a good balance between portability and performance, but for true portability, it’s great to see HP introduce a new 14-inch model – the HP EliteBook 8470w (14-inch mobile workstations have been thin on the ground ever since Dell dropped this form factor from its Precision range a few years back).
All of the new mobile workstations feature a magnesium aluminum chassis, precision aluminum-alloy hinges and, according HP, meet stringent military standards for dust, vibration, shock, altitude, drop, high temperature, low temperature, temperature shock. Intel Smart Response Technology, as offered in the desktop Z220 workstation, is also supported.