updated 12:00 pm EDT, Tue July 1, 2008
HP xw4550 Workstation
HP this morning used an educational conference as an opportunity to unveil a quad-core workstation inexpensive enough to be bought by anyone: the xw4550 uses a latest-generation 2GHz AMD Opteron to offer up performance which is normally off-limits to those in school or at work. The system can handle video editing and other heavy-duty tasks while still being durable and tamper-proof enough to sit in a public place, according to its creator. The system can appropriately be locked down in hardware and software.
In addition to the more advanced processor, the xw4550 is also unique among budget pro systems in having dedicated graphics with an NVIDIA Quadro FX 290 both giving a boost to Windows Vista (XP Professional is preinstalled) and to any 3D duties. At least 2GB of RAM and a 160GB hard drive are onboard.
HP sells the system immediately and gives the base model a price of $599 despite the newer features. Prices scale up to $1,349 for a model with a 2.8GHz quad-core Opteron, 4GB of memory, a 250GB disk, and an upgraded Quadro FX 570 video card.