Today, we gave our first ever 10 out of 10 repairability score -- to HP's new Z1 all-in-one workstation! It is the most repairable PC we've ever had the pleasure to take apart. Opening the machine is as easy as opening a briefcase, and all the major components -- RAM, hard drive, optical drive, etc. -- snap in and out. There's even a diagram inside the device that shows the location of the most easily replaceable components. You could probably replace the hard drive in 5 minutes and have time left over to sip a coffee. A few of the non-major components require a little more effort to pull out, but never so much as to be dangerous or painful. Removing the glass and LCD, for example, requires taking out "a few" T15 Torx screws (18, to be exact). However, there are no crazy glues or breakable tabs hindering your repair process.
Our final determinant for a perfect repairability score was the existence of actual repair manuals for the machine. To our delight, HP has provided these materials directly on their site. They're not as good as iFixit's manuals, but they're definitely solid enough to repair/upgrade the machine.
- The stand folds flat beneath the workstation, which makes for easy repair access. It raises back up with the push of a green button, which we mistook originally for a power button (which is located on the top-right side).
- The hard drive, optical drive, power supply, main fan, RAM, and graphics card are attached without screws, and are simply disconnected and removed.
- The Intel processor can be detached from the motherboard with a flip of a lever.
- Non-modular components inside (speakers, motherboard, daughterboards, etc.) are held intact by T15 or T6 Torx screws, or by plastic fasteners. No glue or other funny business is used inside, aside from a taped-down thermal sensor.
- The glass and LCD are the hardest to replace, and still not supremely difficult — just a bit bulky to move around. They're not fused together, and are instead held in place by those wonderful T15 Torx screws. The most difficult repair in this machine — replacing the LCD or glass — should take under an hour to complete.
- One small detriment to all this repairability? The price. The cheapest Z1 is just short of $2,000, which is a lot of dough to spend on a machine of this capability. HP's other, less-easy-to-fix "all-in-one" offerings retail in the $1200 neighborhood for a similarly outfitted machine.
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