With the new third generation Z240 and upcoming Mac Graphics integration, HP is helping build a case for PCs in high end graphics workflows.
Considering the limited expandability of the current Mac Pro and the long years of slow updating on the old Mac Pro, it's surprising that Apple still has such a strong hold on the pro market. But, despite the frequent protestations of "man, if apple doesn't do something soon I'm going to PC," we still see a large number of post-houses running Mac, especially those with a client-facing component. HP is working hard to move into that segment. Their new third generation Z240 with Remote Graphics Software for Mac should be considered by anyone setting up a post suite, whether it's a single tower home studio or a fleet upgrade.
The RGS, which is reportedly shipping within the month, promises to make the transition easier for Mac-based professionals who want to harness the hardware power of a PC. The system is a custom-built screensharing platform that is specifically designed for the bandwidth needs of video and graphics work, using proprietary software to transmit only the essential video (similar to a long-GOP codec) to partner machines. If you've ever tried to do graphics or video work while "remoting in" with something like GoToMeeting or Apple Remote Desktop, you know it's way too laggy to effectively work for any creative task requiring flow. RGS is designed to allow multiple users on Mac, PC, or Linux systems to remote in to the Z station and take advantage of its power in a realtime fashion.
Pricing for the Z240 starts at $879 (as opposed to the $3K range for a Mac Pro), which is a great base price point for such a potential powerhouse, especially one with PCIe slots to enable you to upgrade the graphics card. The platform is highly configurable, but here's a sense of the range of specs available:
- M.2 Storage for SSD connection
- 64gb DDR4 max ram
- 4.2GHz max processor clock speed
- Z Turbo PCIe SSD
- Native RGS integration
- Tool-free chassis for simple configuration in the field
- Limited 3 year warranty
What do you think? Do these specs tempt you to make the switch?