back to article Chuh. Heavy, dude: HP ZBook 17 mobile workstation

I don’t know which is going to kick in first: pins and needles or deep vein thrombosis. One thing I do know is that having a mobile workstation on your lap makes its presence felt in no time at all. HP ZBook 17 mobile workstation Making a big impression: HP's ZBook 17 mobile workstation As I sit here typing on HP’s ZBook …


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  1. Chris Miller

    As I understand it

    (and since I don't spend much time playing Blu-ray disks on my PC, I haven't looked into it recently) there's no good, free Blu-ray player for Win 7 (because of codec licensing issues). Win 8 can play them using standard WMP. So with Win 7 you're dependent on buying one or hoping the manufacturer bundled one (such as PowerDVD).

    But I bet some other readers have more knowledge than I do ...

  2. ElReg!comments!Pierre
    Thumb Up

    Pricey but sexey

    For this much I'll have to get it from my job budget (unlikely but one can dream). If I had the budget for this I'd get another dirt bike instead.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Pricey and f*ck ugly..

      I've seen a £300 laptop that has more design and character than this. If your tempted by this, please shop elsewhere, you will be suprised.

      I have a Dell M4700 Laptop with pretty much the same spec as this i.e. 256Gb SSD, NVidia gfx card etc, the only exception being mine came with 32Gb RAM - I paid £1100, admittedly that was from the Dell Outlet store, but even purchased directly from my company's account manager, it would have only cost £1500.

      1. ElReg!comments!Pierre

        Re: Pricey and f*ck ugly..

        Nice, too. I may miss the SD card slot though (AKA Raspberry Harddrive port). But ror the price diff I can buy a usb reader or ten...

      2. jzlondon

        Re: Pricey and f*ck ugly..

        Yeah, because prettiness really matters when you need something as hardcore and specialist as this.

      3. the spectacularly refined chap Silver badge

        Re: Pricey and f*ck ugly..

        I've seen a £300 laptop that has more design and character than this. If your tempted by this, please shop elsewhere, you will be suprised.

        Ah, the perennial "I don't want one so anyone who does must be wrong" commentard.

        If you don't want one, that's fine. I don't want one either. However, I can foresee plenty of use cases where a machine such as this is highly appropriate. The key distinguisher here is that large deep colour screen: it's enough to get it on some short lists by itself, and no, they're not all Photoshoppers although they will be a sizable fraction of that contingent. Deep colour has other uses and that screen is large enough with a wide enough viewing angle for two or three people to comfortably gather around. One use case that immediately comes to mind would be my wife (astrophysicist) and her colleagues: I can easily imagine them setting up a couple of these in an observatory at the start of an observing session. That portage would come in handy there too, and also for plenty of other users as well, although for me I'd still prefer a real serial port on the main chassis.

        Your proposed alternative doesn't even attempt to match that screen so how it can be considered "pretty much the same spec" I don't know. You steer people away from this machine with no reference to the proposed use case, you cite alternatives that are not even in the same market segment, and use your own personal sense of aesthetics as the final arbiter of whether a machine is worth buying in a classic case of form over function.

        What there gives any credence at all to your buying advice?

        1. K

          Re: Pricey and f*ck ugly..

          Your are correct to highlight the screen. But the comment your responding is trying to point out the sum value of the parts does not justify the actual cost. It is a rather simplistic argument as this is a specialist laptop, but that comes down to personal opinion and whether something if practical use.

      4. wikkity

        Re: Pricey and f*ck ugly..

        Dells M4800 is more of a closer spec to this, same screen size for starters, if you match the specs as close as you can on their website is works out about the same but poorer graphics

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I have an Elitebook 8570. The battery is dead after an hour and a half, even idling the fans they never stop. It's heavy, and the powerbrick probably has a greater volume than a MacBook Air... Mind you, I have grown a freakishly strong right arm, but people tend not to believe me when I tell them how it's from lifting the damn thing. Also, I don't have a girlfriend so they might be right...

    1. Chavdar Ivanov

      Re: Rubbish

      I am writing this on an HP EliteBook 8570w. The battery easily lasts for 4.5-5 hours. The fans work only when needed. The powerbrick is not the biggest I've seen, although it is not small. It is as heavy as one would expect from an excellent built machine. I've installed in mine very fast 120GB SSD, which at the moment holds Windows 8.1 update (boots from cold for about 10 seconds to desktop - I login with the fingerprint scanner); it also has 24GB mSATA card. I've also replaced the DVD/RW device with an SSD tray and a WD Black 750GB disk, which holds most of the data, also separate installations of NetBSD-current and Solaris 11.2.

      There you are. I used to have a ThinkPad T61p which I thought to be the best laptop I've had; it sadly died on me due to the well known NVidia substrate problem; now this 8570w replaced it.

      BTW I also have an HP ZBook 15 at work in my occasional disposal - it is less bulky than the 8570w (and I suppose the ZBook 17 - haven't seen one yet), also a decent machine, although I'd agree that the exterior is not very exciting compared to the 8570w.

    2. Alan Edwards

      Re: Rubbish

      > I have an Elitebook 8570. The battery is dead after an hour and a half, even idling the fans

      > they never stop.

      Sounds like something is stopping the power management dropping the CPU down into low-power mode. I had an HP n800 years back do the same thing, took a Windows re-install to sort it.

      There is a utility you can download from Intel that shows you what SpeedStep and Turbo Boost are doing - Google "intel turbo boost monitor" to find it. You'll probably find that it never drops the graph down to the bottom "green leaf" section.

      At work we've just replaced a lot of the Lenovo laptops with 8470s and 8570s. I've still got a T510 so don't have personal knowledge of the HPs, but I've not heard anyone saying they are complete rubbish.

  4. jason 7

    Might be big....

    ...but I'd wager it will still be working fine long after those slimmer boutique style mega gaming laptops have died from heat exhaustion (or lack of).

    1. AJ MacLeod

      Re: Might be big....

      Sorry, it's an HP - death from heat exhaustion is the norm. I have stacks of dead laptops here from many different manufacturers, cause of death varies; only HP comes close to 100% heat related deaths in my experience. I wouldn't touch this one with a barge pole...

  5. Colin Ritchie

    Mobile workstation?

    Until they fix the Quadro drivers I will refer to it as the Fat Laptop with the Dodgy Screen.

    Shame cos the Z1 workstation looks fantastic compared but is deskbound.

  6. Dazed and Confused


    Still a crap screen

    It's a mobile(ish) workstation. I'm not going to watch BluRays on it, I'm going to use it to work on.

    1920x1080 is not good enough, I've tried and I can't live with it. What I do for a living needs at least 1920x1200 so I'll have to stick with my EliteBook 8740w, which I had to buy 2nd hand because the 8760w had a crap Mickey Mouse screen too.

    I'd much rather have the 17" model than the 15"er but I'd like some dots on my screen please.

    Make a decent screen res model and I'll buy one immediately, but this one you can keep.

    1. jason 7

      Re: ARGH!

      So chances are you'll be using such a machine on a desk rather than your lap or on the train.

      To quote Blackadder kinda...

      "So some sort of larger external screen is required?"

      I guess on this machine the screen included is really a mere courtesy or a real (ahem) power user would use it in a dual screen setup anyway. Just use the laptop screen for email/browsing while doing the real work on the 24" or higher.

      1. Dazed and Confused

        Re: ARGH!

        The boxes spend 90% of their time sitting on a desktop and connected to a 2560x1440 screen (2560x1600 displays are still "sillier" money) but I do need to be able to haul it around with me, I'm away from home right now and still need a decent screen but can't bring the external monitor with me.

    2. Chris Miller

      Re: ARGH!

      Desktops aren't much better. While there are plenty of 1920x1200 screens, 2560x1600 are few and seem to be very expensive. 2560x1440 is much more popular - why? Do they think we're going to spend all our time watching interpolated movies?

    3. Chavdar Ivanov

      Re: ARGH!

      1920x1200 screens are simply not made any more for laptops (I don't know about macbooks). It is very annoying indeed - but this has been a topic many times before. I was hoping HD screens will sort this eventually.

    4. Dave K Silver badge

      Re: ARGH!

      I agree entirely. A "Workstation" should be designed for work, this means having a screen resolution and aspect ratio which is geared towards work. 1920x1080 16:9 panels do NOT cut it for professional use. If this had a 1920x1200 panel with an optional 2560x1600 panel, it'd be great.

      As it is, laptop manufacturers insistence on sticking with crap, cheap multimedia panels - even on supposedly high end machines is one of the main reasons why I am NOT replacing my existing laptop (Lenovo Thinkpad with a 16:10 panel, Core i5 and recently upgraded to 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD, because that way I got to keep the nice screen).

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    ...kind of work do you do to need that?!? Ah... yes, it must be for some web "development".

    1. Dazed and Confused

      Re: WTF...

      No, I work on remote systems which require me to run windows inside windows inside windows and I can't control the size of windows there are on the inside, so I have to make sure my screen can cope. Thirty years or so ago a 1024x768 screen became the normal for a Unix workstation, by 25 years ago the world had moved on to 1280x1024 being the norm. So many programs expect to have that kind of real estate to play with and some programmers go to the trouble of turning off a users right to resize things. So I'm left with realistically needing close to 1200 lines on the screen to cope with these things running inside windows on remote systems by the time you've added all the decorative s*&t wrapped around windows.

    2. Don Jefe

      Re: WTF...

      Our field service teams use clunky, high powered HP mobile workstations to look at mechanical assemblies in AutoCAD for part verification assurance. Since most of our output is custom it's crucial that field teams order the correct part(s) the first time. It's fairly rare for a large factory to have Internet access anywhere near the production floor (even if they did using their internal network is a security no no). And long gone are the days where printed service manuals with 15,000 pages accompany service teams. So if you want to access and inspect blueprints and schematics in three dimensions while on the production floor computers like this are pretty much the option.

  8. Unicornpiss

    Dell's offerings are better, I think

    I'm not a huge fan of Dell, but having used HP and Dell products, supported them, and configured them, I'd have to say Dell's "Precision" lineup is better overall, better built, and less troublesome. Really the only thing to crow about with this HP is the 4GB video card, which apparently has some flaky drivers. Dell's battery life is much better. Even the more "entry level" M4800s have a faster processor and also include a numeric keypad. If you're going to take up that much space, it's stupid to not have one. And seriously, get a better dock. I'm not that familiar with HP's offerings, but the Dells have a much better available dock with 2xDVI, 2xDisplayport, eSATA, and even an old fashioned parallel port available.

    As a side note, if I can play BD discs for free with VLC on Linux (albeit quasi-legally), I don't get why MS hasn't come to some arrangement yet. It's like when standard def DVDs came out and you couldn't play them on Windows either. BD has been out for quite a while now and the best that can be done is to use quirky 3rd-party software? It's especially stupid since it's always been possible to copy a disc fairly easily, but you have to jump through so many hoops to play one. Idiocy. The determined will always be able to pirate content.

    1. picturethis

      Re: Dell's offerings are better, I think

      I agree.

      I am on my 3rd Precision model since 2007 and they have been pretty good for me. In fact I am typing this on one from 2007. The first two had 17" 1920 x 1200 screens that are still pretty decent to use. I've replaced the (worn-out) keyboard a couple of times and upgraded to SSD in call cases, but overall very usable.

      I just wish 17" laptop manufacturer's would understand that if I want a 17", I also want a high-res screen instead of the low-cost 1920x1080 crap that they now sell. In fact I won't buy another laptop until a 17" with at least 1920 x 1200 is offered. I hope at least someone in Dell, HP, Lenovo, Panasonic, ASUS are listening, because it has cost them at least one sale so far..

    2. Dazed and Confused

      Re: Dell's offerings are better, I think

      Sorry but looking at Dell's website all their 17" laptops are equally useless, They do either 1600x900 (FFS) or 1920x1080 screens. Please tell me I'm wrong, please show show me a model I can buy which will do the job I need to do. My HP 8740w hangs far too regularly for my liking (2 or 3 times this month). I don't want to cough up for a new one, but have little choice.

      I need a 17" screen (I'm over 50 so eyes not what they used to be), 1920x1200 (or better) screen. I'd like to be able to use it outside occasionally. The HP dream colour screen is bright, I was using it in a sunny Portuguese garden yesterday afternoon OK. It needs to do drive encryption and it needs to use SSDs OK (my 8740w has been messing up since I switched on drive encryption when running an SSD, SSD with no encryption was stable. My 8370w messed up big time with encryption and an SSD but is rock solid with encryption and spinning rust).

      I'd like to be able to plug in upgrades, RAM and disk as time goes by.

      Is this too much to ask?

      ££££££££ waiting for the first manufacture who can match my needs.

  9. Mage Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    What a waste!

    1920 x 1080

    We don't need yet another heavy portable DVD / BD player.

    1600 x 1200 on 15" (@ 133dpi approx) was March 2002! TWELVE Years ago

    So if it MUST be 17" it should surely be at least 1920 x 1200.

    Admittedly the 2010 resolution 2560 × 1440 was on stupidly large screens for a desk (27").

    At 200 dpi a 15" 4:3 screen is 2406 x 1804 (Kindle eInk and Fax resolution). Not sure what size that would be at 16:10, 2886 x 1804, possibly not far off 17" (Or at 16:9 about 3207 x 1804)

    At same height as 1600 x 1200 15" screen you only need 160dpi for 2560 × 1440.

    This has wrong screen to be called a Workstation. Thus everything else is irrelevant.

    1. Synonymous Howard

      Re: What a waste!

      I'd go for a 15" Macbook Pro with its 15.4 inch 2880x1800 IPS display, quad 2.3GHz i7,16GB RAM + 512GB PCIe flash, 2.02Kg, 8 hour battery, all at £2,199 without discount but I would think most people should be able to get it at the 'standard' discount price of £2,023 though.

      1. ElReg!comments!Pierre

        Re: What a waste!

        "I'd go for a 15" Macbook Pro"

        Probably fine for crea-types, as a fashion accessory for boardroom meetings or for solo media consumption at the local overpriced caffe outlet. For my usual kind of work, no bay, no buy. And no optical drive means it's not even worth a cursory look to begin with. This is supposed to be a serious workstation (not that the MBP isn't a pleasant machine; it's just not intended for the same use).

        1. Synonymous Howard

          Re: What a waste!

          Yeah creative types like Linus Torvalds. Gimme a break. Very few people need optical drives these days .. I've got a £40 portable blu-ray drive, just use it for rips and the very occasional software cd .. everything else goes over the wire(less) or on thumb drives. Optical is just too damn slow and small .. consign it to the floppy and zip pile.

          1. ElReg!comments!Pierre

            Re: What a waste!

            "Yeah creative types like Linus Torvalds."

            I bet Linus Torvalds has a real workstation back at home for when he needs to do something else than answering mails and watching movies.

            "Very few people need optical drives these days"

            True, and very few people need a real luggable workstation. Like this one. But for those who do, a MBP just won't cut it. There's the optical drive (no, an external on won't do the trick; sometimes you just need an "everything included" machine that you can carry from place to place without worrying about fragile dangling attachments). There's also the bay thing. If you can't easily cram a drive in and take it out, thanks but no thanks.

            "everything else goes over the wire(less) or on thumb drives. Optical is just too damn slow and small"

            Aha. So, BluRay is too slow and small but WiFi is fine?

            1. ElReg!comments!Pierre

              PS Re: What a waste!

              Also, that MacBook Pro of yours, I take it it has a fullsize keyboard with a numeric pad... no?

              Actually I don't know why they keep the "pro" in the name; the MBP is a very nice consumer machine, but over the years everything "professional-like" has been removed (but the price). Sure, you can buy and external optical drive, an external numerical pad, an external hard drive etc, to return it to a full setup; but then what's the point? And you definitely can't add an ExpressCard slot.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: PS What a waste!

                No. I do real work rather than piss about with summation tables in Excel, so not sure what I'd use that for.

                1. ElReg!comments!Pierre

                  Re: PS What a waste!

                  "No. I do real work rather than piss about with summation tables in Excel, so not sure what I'd use that for."

                  So, your line of work doesn't require a workstation. I'm fine with that, and so should you. Not sure why you are so agressive about it. Also, not sure why you bring up MSExcel or summation tables. MSExcel works fine on a MacBook Pro, on a ChormeBook, or any such consumer device. MSExcel is, in it's "special" way, the archetypal consumer app. If that's all you can think of, then you truly have no need for a professional-grade computer. No offence.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: What a waste!

          Yeah. What possible use is a well-built portable UNIX workstation that ships with rock-solid OS.

          Give me a 1920x1080 shitbox with nVidia DLL injection and NAV to make NTFS even slower.

          1. ElReg!comments!Pierre

            Re: What a waste!

            "Yeah. What possible use is a well-built portable UNIX workstation that ships with rock-solid OS."

            Yeah, that's a very useful thing. I own two of these, thank you very much (none run AppleOS, incidentally). One (the non-mobile) I built from parts that I bought in full knowledge of what they could do, and of what I want to do. The other (the mobile one) I built from a Dell basis; I'm pretty satisfied with the result even though Michael Dell wouldn't recognize his cub.The 15 inch MBP, on the other hand, is everything BUT a professional workstation, portable or not. The 17 inches MBP comes closer, still lacks the full keyboard though. No cigar.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: What a waste!

          "Probably fine for crea-types, as a fashion accessory for boardroom meetings or for solo media consumption at the local overpriced caffe outlet. For my usual kind of work, no bay, no buy. And no optical drive means it's not even worth a cursory look to begin with. This is supposed to be a serious workstation (not that the MBP isn't a pleasant machine; it's just not intended for the same use)."

          I admit that I am not necessarily current on what "workstation" means these days. But when I studied computer science, workstation meant a personal computer that was powerful enough to do serious scientific, technical, or graphics work on your desk--think SPARCstations, SGIs, Apollos, various PA-RISC offerings from HP, etc.

          Certainly the MacBook Pro line, with its relatively high-end selection of processors, graphics chips, high performance (if not especially high capacity) storage, and high resolution screens, can be used for a wide variety of serious technical and professional work. It may not be suitable for your particular line of work (which apparently requires a built-in optical drive for some reason that I can't imagine) but that doesn't mean it can only be used to check Facebook at Starbucks.

  10. Shadow Systems

    Wow, what a piece of shite.

    For the money they're asking, I'd point out that a resolution that was beaten by a 5 year old LCD wasn't fekking good enough, and they'd better install something approaching a 4K range instead. I mean, FFS there are *E.Book Readers* with better resolution screens, and they cost all of USD$300! For this price, tear off that POS & give me something that doesn't suck arse like a nuclear powered hooker...

    I'll grant that the selection of ports on the unit itself is nice, but given how large the beast is, why bother with a dock at all? Considering how few ports it offers, just incorporate them into the workstation itself - it's not like you don't have the bloody room for them. Hell, you could put ALL the ports along the ass end of it & STILL have room for a Rugby match!

    The inclusion of a BR drive but no BR Player software is just a load of bollocks. For the money I'd be spending, you can install that bastard right the fek now. If I have to install a third party application to fix a flaw you not only know about but don't GAF about enough to fix, then I'm deducting the cost of that software from the bill for the workstation. You're offering a machine with a USD$1K install of Adobe, yet you can't afford to add in the USD$100 BR Player so we can fekking USE the drive we're paying for? What brand of crack are you smoking?

    That's not a battery, that's a poor excuse for a waste of space. Sure the machine draws a lot of juice, what with that CPU, GPU, and plethora of ports, but HP knew that from the start & should have designed a battery that could keep it running for at least the time it takes to drag my paving stone to an outlet. Damn it, an under 2 hour run time? Holy shit, I've heard of screwing the pooch, but this is the first time I've seen a company BOAST about doing it!

    *Shaking head in disgust*

    Crappy screen, crappy battery, crappy drivers, lack of basic program to cover included hardware, all for HOW much money? No thanks, I think I'll visit Google & do some comparison shopping at the other bazillion vendors whom sell a better thought-out product.

  11. GitMeMyShootinIrons

    Not worth the shoulder injury...

    I've yet to be convinced by mobile workstations this size. There are plenty of 15" devices with graphic boards that can output to large screens without weighing a tonne. 17" isn't that great an increase in real estate and in this case, any benefit is wiped out by the mediocre resolution.

    Better off with a lighter 15" affair and a desktop 24" or so screen (or two) of a better resolution.

    1. ElReg!comments!Pierre

      Re: Not worth the shoulder injury...

      "I've yet to be convinced by mobile workstations this size [...] Better off with a lighter 15" affair "

      OK. Show me a 15 '' affair with an optical drive, an expresscard slot, a primary drive plus a bay for a second drive, a full keyboard including a numerical keypad, several (and by several I really mean MANY) USB2 slots AND as many USB3 ones (OK, just USB3 ones if it has at the _very_ least 3 of them). Thunderbolt on top of all this IS appreciated, but not a realistic replacement for any of the previous. Seriously, it's a workstation and all y'all complain about is movie-playing-related? Never realized that bluray can be used to store non-movie data? Pah! ioof diz dez.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not worth the shoulder injury...

        "Never realized that bluray can be used to store non-movie data?"

        Yep, because carrying around a series of highly scratchable slow transfer media rather than a portable SSD, HDD or flash drive is so much better.

      2. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: Not worth the shoulder injury...

        >OK. Show me a 15 '' affair with...

        I immediately thought of the Thinkpads circa 2007, but then you added USB3...

        Yes I think there are many out there who just don't understand that not everybody who needs a workstation has a desk which they regularly go and work at and hence can use a non-portable workstation. From a work perspective I said goodbye to the desktop workstation in the mid 90's and have relied on laptop/mobile workstations since.

      3. Alan Edwards

        Re: Not worth the shoulder injury...

        > OK. Show me a 15 '' affair with an optical drive, an expresscard slot, a primary drive

        > plus a bay for a second drive (etc...)

        Sounds like you want a Lenovo W540. Meets all that lot, except it's only got 4 USBs (2xUSB 2.0, 2xUSB 3.0). Base screen is a 15.4" 1080p, with 2880x1620 IPS optional, weighs around 2.5Kg.

        £1,634.95 with a Core i7-4700MQ, 256Gb SSD, 16Gb RAM, 2Gb nVidia K1100 graphics and the 2880x1620 screen. Adapters to put the 2nd drive in the optical bay are pretty cheap on eBay.

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: Not worth the shoulder injury...

          re: Lenovo W540

          The problem I find with all modern 14~15" laptop screens is that they are all physically too short!

          My current 14.1" screen has a resolution of 1400x1050 4:3 aspect ratio) which gives me 8.46" of vertical screen estate - which gives a good balance of comfort and real estate. To get the same physical vertical screen dimension in a modern laptop (1920x1050 16:9 aspect ratio) , I need a laptop with a ~17.3" screen; which is what the HP ZBook 17 provides; unfortunately the physical device dimensions change from 12.2"x10" (W x D) to 16.4"x10.7" which mean that it won't sit on the typical aircraft or train seat table - nor will it (once bagged) sit comfortably under the seat in front when travelling by air...

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can't they afford to hire an industrial designer?

    Or did they try and no-one would work at HP?

    Seriously, why would anyone buy this when they could get... well, anything else really.

  13. Christian Berger

    Uhm seriously?

    It's a laptop with just a full-HD display, but stretched to 17 inch! There are 15 inch laptops with higher resolutions. Granted there are uses for that, for example people with bad eyesight, but are they really going to spend ten times the normal amount of money on such a device?

    Today specs like the CPU are largely irrelevant for desktop machines. Few people do massive number crunching on the go, and even playing videos or editing videos for that matter is no longer a particularly demanding application.

    1. ElReg!comments!Pierre
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Uhm seriously?

      I think you missed the 3-page article on El Reg where they insist it's supposed to be a (vaguely mobile) professionnal-grade workstation, not a 50-quid portable DVD player. Oh wait, you just commented on it. Never mind then.

  14. ElReg!comments!Pierre

    Like or not, a Pro machine by the (ancient) book.

    A "pro" machine used to be a machine that "had it". That is, to be considered a good pro machine, it had to have everything you could reasonnably need in a professional environment. A machine that you had, and when someone started their sentence with "does it have..." you could confidently answer "yes, it does" without waiting for the end of the sentence (a bit like in these annoying ads for a car, don't remember which). This is a machine from this ancient lineage. Unlike so-called "prosumer" machines which have a "pro" price tag and a "sumer" set of feature, this is a Pro machine of old. It's not pretty, it's not light, but it can handle pretty much any situation without need for the "your hardware is too unfashionable for my computer to even aknowledge its existence" argument, which is always a lethal hazard if a properly-equipped BOFH is at cattle-prod-length.

    1. Sean Timarco Baggaley

      Re: Like or not, a Pro machine by the (ancient) book.


      The 17" screen is a mediocre 1920 x 1080 model. (Yes, there's a 10-bit-per-pixel version, but that's *extra*, and it's STILL the same crap resolution.) Even worse, there's this quote from the review:

      "There are 15-inch and 14-inch versions too, the former available with a 3200 x 1800-pixel option [...]"

      Why the hell isn't the 17" model available with that resolution?

      As for the Blu-ray drive: remove it and re-jig the interior slightly so that you can have three drives: one boot drive (SSD), and two additional drives in a RAID 0 or 1 arrangement (according to need).

      If you really need to use BD for archival purposes, get a proper auto-loader / writer unit and plug it into a cheap PC back at the office. When you return there, just dump the data you want to archive onto that PC and let it create the archive disks overnight. Job done, and you don't need to cart around sufficient blank Blu-ray disks (plus spares for the inevitable coaster) with you when you're out and about.

      If you're truly paranoid, you can get an external drive or two as well and plug one in to backup your RAIDed drives whenever you want. Chances are, this will still weigh less than the BD drive + bunch of blank disks.

      If you need to watch, or master, Blu-ray disks, an external unit is a better option anyway: they're not exactly the most reliable things ever made, so you might as well get one that won't require you to open up the machine to replace it when it inevitably dies on you just when you need it most.

      So, no, I'm not impressed by this offering. It's only a "pro" unit if you define a professional as someone who requires everything, including the kitchen sink. For the life of me, I can't think of *any* profession for which this unit actually makes any sense. Especially at that price point and with such a low-res* screen.

      * (Yes, "low-res". I've owned *CRT* monitors that had higher resolutions. Come back, Iiyama, all is forgiven!)

      1. Sandtitz Silver badge

        Re: Like or not, a Pro machine by the (ancient) book. @Mr Beggaley

        "There are 15-inch and 14-inch versions too, the former available with a 3200 x 1800-pixel option [...]"

        >Why the hell isn't the 17" model available with that resolution?

        That resolution is called QHD+ and no display manufacturer offers that in 17" format. Thus HP and others can't offer it either.

        Are there 17" displays with anything higher than even FHD? Apple had a 17 incher 1920x1200 a couple years ago and that's it I'm afraid. 17" is too much of a niche and a small run of very high res displays would be very expensive to do.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can't use a toy....

    I'm on my fourth Dell Precision (M6800) portable in 10 years. I've never ventured into HP workstation ownership as I've had bad experiences trying to get out of warranty support from their printer division but the comments will be equally applicable.

    My work covers industrial design and mechanical engineering and I use CAD software that is extremely snotty about drivers and graphics hardware. GeForce cards and integrated graphics chips aren't up to the job (well, the available drivers certainly aren't) and I'm not interested in trying to work out why my expensive and temperamental software has fallen over when support services have told me I'm on my own for using unapproved hardware. I certainly don't want to be doing it with a deadline looming. This goes for Apple products as well which fall into the unsupported hardware trap.

    I have a large library of project files and media requiring additional internal storage (external drives are a pain). Monkeying around with large cad files on the go, frequently in areas with dodgy wireless access, means that I need everything to hand (the purveyors of CAD in the cloud can go to hell for the time being).

    If I'm working on an animation rendered up to a decent level I'll be placing the CPU under a heavy load for a good few hours. This obviously wrecks battery life but thats why I carry a spare battery and /or the huge power supply that Dell supply with the larger Precisions.

    This class of machine is bought by/for users that need something that just bloody works when faced with demanding software that will give it a good ragging. And continue doing so for a long time without failing. When it does go TU, you need good support from the vendor. I've found support for the Precisions to be timely and good.

    Try finding a cheapo laptop that will do this satisfactorily. Hell, try finding a cheapo laptop with a Quadro or FirePro card in.

    I agree with the comments about the screen resolution although no one is offering 1920x1200 panels in new workstations.

    Anyway, if you really want to do these things properly, have a look at the Eurocom monsters running Xeons and requiring two PSUs...

    1. ultim8um

      Re: Can't use a toy....

      Well we have had both the Dell M6800 Precisions and the the HP Zbook 17 where I work (metal pressing company). I have to say I would take the HP over the Dell anytime in terms of the number of support calls we get for both. Having said that I think in the case of the Dell's it is largely down to the AMD graphics cards that they were specc'ed with as the HP's have Nvidia cards and Catia seems perfectly happy on this combination.

  16. PlanB


    Blu-ray, dodgy drivers, power brick... Relics from the past.

  17. Rick Brasche

    It's not supposed to be used on the lap.

    it's a gorram "mobile workstation" for those employers who got a BYOD bug up their kiester. You keep it closed until you get to your desk, then open it up, and wait for a completely different set of RSI and posture related pains to begin.

    Or you just dock it, then never use the screen or keyboard on it at all.

    Only time I saw anyone open one of these behemoths outside of the employer/contractor desk over the years (Dell used to make a rather epic one "back in the day") was at the coffee shop or restaurant trying to get some paperwork done before having to run to the copy shop to find a place to send the files from, or to plug into a phone line and hope the toll free modem number was available :P

  18. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

    This is heavy?

    It's less than 400g heavier than my Dell work laptop, and I use that on my lap pretty frequently. And I often carry it around in a shoulder bag - not infrequently accompanied by my academic laptop (a Lenovo that's about 2.75kg).

    I realize not everyone wants to carry even a few kg around, and that's fine, but by the same token not everyone is obsessed with light laptops, either. Even these "desktop replacement" machines are a lot lighter than the toolbelt I wear when I'm working on the house. And as for having them on my lap - well, they're lighter than the cats. And not any hotter.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Middle Button

    I want one, just for the middle button on the trackpad. One handed open in new tab, or open a new windows explorer, rather than bring the existing one to the front.

    Why is the middle button considered such a luxury item on a trackpad when even the cheapest USB mouse has one.

    1. Christopher E. Stith

      Re: Middle Button

      Or paste for those of us willing to try the Linux drivers for that video card. Having paste on the middle button is wonderful.

  20. Benno

    DP vs. HDMI

    Regardless of the other attributes (good or bad), providing DisplayPort over HDMI is a good thing (tm).

    If you have an HDMI screen, then simply use a DP -> HDMI cable, the HDMI signalling is present on the DP cable.

    If it was the other way around, you'd be screwed as you can't plug an HDMI GFX output into a DP panel.

    HP have been fans of DP for a few years now, and I've warmed to their philosophy (after initially cursing them, as DP cables & monitors were practically non-existent in 2010...)

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