Computers & Mobile
Makey Awards 2012 Nominee 02: HP Z1 Workstation, Most Repairable

As more and more of us move to laptops and all-in-one desktop machines, one of the things we lose is the ability to easily upgrade and repair our computers. Ever tried to replace a graphics card on a laptop or troubleshoot a problem on an all-in-one with a display the size of living room TV? Not a whole lot of fun. HP has addressed this issue of easy access with their Z1 Workstation.

The Z1 is a suitably muscular workstation, with a quadcore Xeon CPU, high-performance graphics hardware and display, and other features you’d want in a workstation, but the stand-out feature, and why it’s nominated here, is its (literal) openness. It’s designed for easy access and to have its components swapped out. We also applaud HP for their “toolless design” which allows you to swap out all of the user-serviceable components without the need of any tools. Having any computer not being easily upgradeable is a drag, but it’s a requirement of a workstation. We hope this design (and this nomination) inspires other companies to think about designing all-in-ones (especially consumer-grade machines) and laptops with this type of sensible access. This nominee was suggested to us by our friends at iFixit. They gave it a perfect 10 repair score in their teardown coverage, their first 10/10 ever.

The MAKE Magazine Industry Maker Awards (aka The Makeys) is our annual award series and ceremony honoring mainstream companies that serve the interests of makers and the maker movement. Between now and World Maker Faire (NYC, Sept 29-30) we’ll be nominating and profiling companies in a series of posts. Then our readers will vote on their favorites and the winners will receive Makey Awards at a glamorous ceremony (OK, a ceremony) at the Faire. See the Makeys landing page for more info, the four nomination categories, and a list of last year’s finalists and winners. And please share your potential nominee ideas in the comments below. Remember, this is for mainstream commercial companies who, in some way(s), serve or embody the maker spirit. We want this program to hold up and celebrate them to encourage them and others to better serve the interests of our community.


54 thoughts on “Makey Awards 2012 Nominee 02: HP Z1 Workstation, Most Repairable

  1. OK, why on earth would I want to buy an expensive piece of gear with a ‘toolless’ design when I could have ten times the fun building something better, faster, and with a lot more creative joy by shopping for the right stuff, and then breaking out the three tools necessary to build a desktop workstation: a philips head screwdriver, a Torx driver for those 3 or 4 little weird fasteners on some SSDs, and a brain?

    And how about the software- does it come with any version of Open Source software? Nope, it has a particularly bloated version of Windows, chock full of crap that any Maker is gonna immediately hate.

    I really don’t get how the heck a Makey should go to an expensive, run of the mill product from a company that has moved further and further away from Makers and home engineers and their brethren in word and deed…

  2. Out of curiosity, why have the judges only considered the hardware when evaluating this system?

    After all, hardware repair is important, but no less so than software. If the software (including drivers and firmware) on the Z1 isn’t repairable – i.e. Free – then I don’t see how anyone could give it top marks.

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and “lazy man’s memoir,” called Borg Like Me.

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