HP has launched the industry's first all-in-one workstation, the Z1, which resembles Apple's iMac and, the company says, is the most compact workstation available yet.

The Z1 (above, shown running Avid Media Composer) comes with workstation hardware including Xeon processors, an Nvidia Quadro workstation-class graphics chip and power supply buried in a single 27-inch screen. Customers were asking for more desk space, so the company designed the workstation into an all-in-one without compromising performance, said Jim Zafarana, general manager of HP's workstation business.

The workstation, priced from US$1,899, was announced at the HP Global Partner conference being held in Las Vegas this week. UK pricing has yet to be confirmed.

The company compared the Z1 to the Z800 flagship product, which is the company's most powerful workstation in a tower. The company has fit components such as the processor, cooling equipment, memory and other components used by other HP workstations into the all-in-one design.

"We deliver the power without the tower," Zafarana said. "This is professional level of workstation performance, through and through."

Many all-in-one PCs today lack high-end components, and some all-in-ones use low-power Intel Atom or AMD C- or E-series processors because a fan can't fit into the available space.

The Z1 comes with 1 or 2 workstation-class Intel Xeon CPUs, an Nvidia Quadro MXM graphics chip (a mobile chip due to space constraints, apparently), EEC memory, a 27-bit IPS panel capable of outputting 10-bit colour (so over a billion colours) and a 400W power supply. It has space for up to two hard drives or solid-state drives and a bay for a Blu-ray optical drive. Unlike the iMac, it's designed to make upgrades and parts swap-outs easy, with the whole display opening on a hinge out to reveal internal components.

A user can also easily service components inside the chassis, which could otherwise be intimidating with the components inside a screen. The design allows a user to remove the screen and replace components.

The Z1 also has a webcam, multiple display inputs and USB 3.0 ports.