Tag Archives: X-Rite

HP’s HOT New DreamColor Displays: The Z31x Studio and the Z24x G2

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I recently caught up with HP in New York to look at some hot new product announcements for creative artists and animators users as well as upgrades and enhancements to existing mobile workstation products.

One of the most impressive new products was the HP 4K Dreamcolor Z31x Studio display. At the meeting, I was fortunate enough to interview HP’s chief DreamColor architect Greg Staten. Below is a video interview where Staten goes into an exceptionally detailed description of the Z31x Studio display and what makes it so remarkable. He begins, however, by talking about another new HP DreamColor display, the Z24x, also a compelling new product you’ll want to hear about.

A Disruptive Display

HP’s DreamColor line of displays were designed specifically for those who require the highest quality of fidelity and color accuracy, such as those who work in post production, visual effects, animation, matte painters, photo-retouchers, high-end colorists, illustrators and video editors.

In fact, according to HP, since 2011, 80 percent of Academy Award Nominees for Visual Effects have used HP DreamColor displays. In addition, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences gave the HP DreamColor Display and its developers a Scientific and Engineering Award in 2015. That should give you an indication as to the key role that DreamColor displays play in our industry.

The HP Z31x Studio display paired with HP's top-of-the-line workstation tower, the Z840.
The HP Z31x Studio display paired with HP’s top-of-the-line workstation tower, the Z840.

In the Z31x Studio, HP has taken an a big leap ahead by designing a DreamColor display with innovative new features which compete with professional monitors costing much more. (Expect the Z31x to sell for under $4,000 available this fall). Now Let’s take a look at what makes the HP DreamColor Z31x Studio a gamechanger for studios and digital artists.

Each new feature of the Z31x is a result of direct feedback from professional customers. For one, its images are delivered on a true 10-bit Real IPS panel with more than 1 billion colors. In fact, HP improved on this IPS technology, inventing new processes that result in deep, rich and consistent black levels no matter what angle of view. Also, the screen resolution on the Z31x is true Cinema 4k at 4096 X 2160 resolution (17:9 theatrical) not UHD 4K of 3840 pixels × 2160 (16:9).

One of the coolest new features of the Z31x Studio is a built-in pop-up colorimeter which swings down from the top of the display and can automatically calibrate the display on demand or on a regular calibration schedule (it can even be scheduled to run off hours so your workflow isn’t interrupted). It’s a great idea to include a built-in colorimeter on a DreamColor display since colorimeters cost a pretty penny to buy separately — prices range from about $225 for the X-Rite i1 Display Pro to almost $7,000 for the Klein K10-A (which costs more than the Z31x).

The HP Z31x includes a built in Color Calibrator at the top of the display which you can activate through the menu system or schedule to automatically keep the display calibrated.
The HP Z31x includes a built in Color Calibrator at the top of the display which you can activate through the menu system or schedule to automatically keep the display calibrated.

It gets even better when you hear that, according to HP’s Greg Staten, the results from the built-in calibrator on the Z31x are on par with the Klein K10-A, helping to maintains perfect color accuracy. The display itself delivers true 10-bit color at HP’s widest color gamut ever, 99% of DCI-P3, 100% of Adobe RGB and 100% of sRGB and has native support for 60 Hz, 50 Hz and 48 HZ.

Another great feature of the HP Z31x Studio is that it has a built in KVM switch, which allows you to easily switch the input from two different computers with a quick keyboard shortcut allowing the user to share the display (as well as the mouse and keyboard) between two computers. This is important because many artists often rely on two computers to do their work. For example, they may have a Linux machine running their favorite compositing app as well as a Windows box for the Adobe Creative Suite or 3D program. The KVM switch eliminates clutter on their desk and allows you to switch between the different sources.

There’s a lot more to like about the HP Z31x DreamColor Display such as true 2K viewing, markers, masks and more. Again, in the video above, HP’s Greg Staten gets deeper into the display, so be sure to watch it.

The Most Affordable DreamColor

Along with the Z31x, HP has just announced the HP Z24x G2 DreamColor Display (also featured in the above video) which delivers the professional color accuracy and consistency that you would expect from DreamColor but at a budget-conscious price almost every artist can afford whether you work for a large studio or you are an independent.

The HP Z24x DreamColor display, a high end color display any artist can afford.
The HP Z24x DreamColor display, a high end color display any artist can afford.

The Z24x has a 24-inch diagonal DreamCOlor panel with a resolution of 1920 X 1200 producing up to a billion colors from a huge color gamut that covers 99 percent of Adobe RGB.

It’s capable of user calibration with push-button color space selection and has calibration software for both WIndows and macOS that supports both the X-Rite i1 Display Pro and the Klein Instruments K10-A colorimeters.

If you do color critical work, HP’s new DreamColor Displays, the remarkable Z31x and Z24x, offer compelling choices, no matter what your budget is.

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Lenovo Unveils Powerful New Mobile Workstations

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Lenovo is getting serious about workstations. Earlier this year, the computer company rebooted their ThinkStation line of workstation towers, two of which I’ve reviewed. The top-of-the-line ThinkStation P900 is a powerhouse of a machine that’s capable of handling the most intense and demanding production challenges. It contains dual Xeons packed with 20 physical cores (that’s 40 virtual cores), as well as lots of other features to dazzle you. For those just starting out, the ThinkStation P500 is an entry level workstation with a single Xeon processor that provides solid performance at a price everyone can afford. In between the two are the P500 and P700.

To add to these powerful desktop machines, Lenovo is announcing two new mobile workstations at Siggraph 2015 that will deliver serious production power on the go. We recently had the chance to meet with Lenovo executives in New York to get a close look at these new machines and were were duly impressed. These machines, in my opinion, will deliver the level of performance needed to run the most demanding production and post software today and compared to Lenovo’s previous mobile workstation offerings are a major leap forward.

According to Lenovo, these new machines are among the most powerful notebook computers ever available. Of course we’re curious to test them out and see how they fare in real world production environments, but after a look at the specifications, I’m inclined to agree.

The ThinkPad P70

Let’s start with the ThinkPad P70, a 17 inch mobile workstation which, according to Lenovo, is capable of containing the most memory and storage ever found in a mobile unit, 64GB of DDR4 ECC memory and the ability to contain up to four storage devices. A quick check of the memory capacity in comparable offerings from HP, Dell, Boxx and Apple seems to confirm this. HP and Boxx offer up to 32GB of RAM while a MacBook Pro seems to top off at 16GB.

The ThinkPad P70 offers 64GB of RAM, PCIe storage, a 4K display and Thunderbolt 3
The ThinkPad P70 offers 64GB of RAM, PCIe storage, a 4K display and Thunderbolt 3

For storage, the ThinkPad P70 is capable of up to a terabyte of SSD storage that connects directly to the latest PCIe technology for speeds up to five times faster than a SATA connection. For those interested in external RAIDs, the ThinkPad P70 comes with two blazingly fast Intel Thunderbolt 3 ports for an astounding 40Gbps transfer rate. That should easily handle 4K editing.

On the display side, the ThinkPad P70 comes a 4K UHD display, a remarkable thing to have on a mobile computer. Now that Windows 10 is out, you don’t have to worry about tiny fonts in menus and control palettes either. Screen fonts will scale to the proper size and remain readable irregardless of the pixel size of the display. If you prefer, you could optionally get an FHD (1920 X 1080) touch display. I’d personally stick with the 4K display, however.

All in all, the ThinkPad P70 is an superbly designed and engineered product and is one of the most advanced and highest performance mobile workstations available.

The ThinkPad P50

For those who prefer a smaller and lighter machine, the ThinkPad P50 is Lenovo’s thinnest and lightest full-function mobile workstation yet. The P50 has an attractive 15.6 display and, like its big brother the P70, the resolution of the display is 4K.

The ThinkPad P50 has lmuch of what's good in the P70 including the 4k display, only in a smaller footprint.
The ThinkPad P50 has lmuch of what’s good in the P70 including the 4k display, only in a smaller footprint.

That kind of just makes me want to giggle since, in my opinion, the more resolution the better. This means you can work on high resolution cinematic effects shots without having to constantly zoom in and out. Remember when laptop displays used to be 800 X 600?. Now we’ve got 4k resolution on a 15.6″ laptop. Heck yeah.

Other Considerations

The ThinkPad P70 and P50 are the first machines equipped with the new Intel Xeon Processor E3-1500M v5 product family which delivers tremendous performance for workstation class performance. Both systems feature NVIDIA Quadro GPUs, which are also best in class and have been mil-spec tested for maximum durability.

One of the features that I really like on the Lenovo mobile workstations is the X-Rite Pantone color calibration system, which I first discovered when I reviewed of a previous Lenovo mobile workstation, the ThinkPad W540. I was glad to see that it included in the new breed since this cool and innovative feature will automatically color calibrate your monitor, keeping colors accurate on that 4K monitor. Just fold down the display, and a small sensor built into the chassis of the computer does the work. No need to purchase additional hardware or software.

To help keep things running cool, both the ThinkPad P50 and P70 feature a unique and innovative FLEX Performance Cooling System, a dual fan design that allows for cooler, quieter and faster performance. Less heat means the ability to push the system harder and comes in handy for those long rendering jobs.

Conclusion

The new ThinkPad P Series mobile workstations from Lenovo will be available starting in Q4 2015. The P50 will start at a price of $1,599 and the P70 will start at 1,999. Companies and facilities can sign up for a variety of service and support services.

If you’re involved with high-end production and post such as 3D animation, editing, compositing, color work or matte painting, the new ThinkPad P Series of mobile workstations is definitely worth checking out and may be a perfect balance of price and performance for professional and aspiring artists, filmmakers and animators.

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