At AFI Fest 2012, HP showcased their new Z1 and other workstation systems used to create DreamWorks' “Rise of the Guardians”, at its Grauman’s Chinese Theatre premiere in Hollywood.
The HP Z1 workstation is a highly customizable, easily upgradeable solution that harnesses the best possible hardware in an all-in-one platform. Powered by Intel’s newest Xeon E3 processors, and driven by NVIDIA’s mobile Quadro GPU’s, this system has the strongest specs of its class. Here’s a quick rundown of some other available specs: RAM: Upgradable to 32GB 1600 MHz ECC / 8GB 1600 MHz non-ECC Graphics: NVIDIA Q1000M, Q3000M, Q4000M GPU’s Storage: SATA 3.5’’ 7200 RPM, SATA 2.5’’ 10k RPM, SSD options USB 3.0/2.0, Firewire 400, DisplayPort, SPDIF, Card Reader, 1080p webcam Stunning 27’’ LED-backlit IPS display (2560x1440), 1 billion colors
“Keep in mind that this not a PC - it’s an all-around workstation,” said Jim Christensen, Media Relations at HP and big fan of the Z1, “it’s got componentry that is geared to last for 24/7 use, with software solutions that are tested and certified to run. I think the Z1 has functionality that nobody else in the market has today”.
Jim gave us a great tour of the system, and how its design caters to multimedia professionals inside and out. HP incorporated it’s mantra of toolless design into the Z1, making every piece of hardware, from power supply to storage drive, easily removable for upgrade or repair. When open, the IPS screen is supported by a hydraulic strut, similar to those seen in car trunks, to prevent users from jamming their fingers while closing the unit. There are internal USB ports that can be used for peripherals, but more importantly to discreetly house the (expensive) activation dongles required to run professional multimedia software. HP will also offer comprehensive support for these units, including next-day delivery for malfunctioning components.
The Z1’s weren't the only platforms used to power Dreamworks’ new animated feature. HP played a vital role in the rendering acceleration, storage management, and networking infrastructure as well. Systems like their Z800 and Z820 workstations were also heavily used in the production. In fact, HP provided over 12% of their cloud resources, for rendering farms or file management, of the most visually stunning 3D animation of the year. So every pixel of every frame in “Rise of the Guardians” was handled or rendered by HP machinery.
Here’s a quick behind-the-scenes look of how much HP has invested into the creation of this movie:
We’re excited to announce that HP will soon be giving us the opportunity to test and review the Z1 system out in the field. Our goal is to see if an entire independent 4K movie can be powered by the Z1. We will use it for on-site media management and coloring, and as a full post-production suite for rendering HD video and audio.
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