Forget everything you know about workstations, or at least dismiss the preconceived notion that systems serving up server grade power are typically as big as they are powerful. That might have been the case before, but HP just turned the sector upside down by introducing its Z2 Mini, a relatively tiny box measuring 2.3 inches high by 8.5 inches long and wide.
HP is billing the Z2 Mini as the industry's first mini workstation. We won't argue that claim—at just 2.3 inches high, the Z2 Mini is 90 percent smaller than a traditional business-class tower desktop. Or put another way, this thing is shorter than a cup of espresso, HP points out.
The Z2 Mini isn't small just for the sake of boasting a compact design. HP built the Z2 Mini so that it could be mounted in various ways, including on or under a desk, behind one the company's Z displays, or even on a wall. If choose the latter option, the Z2 Mini can be attached to an arm on one side and a monitor on the other. Versatility is the name of the game here.
HP packed an impressive amount of power inside this puny package. The company claims the Z2 Mini is twice as powerful as any commercial mini PC currently available, and it has the ability to support half a dozen displays right out of the box. That's the kind of thing that will get a productivity junkie to sit up and take notice.
Precisely how powerful the Z2 Mini is depends on the exactly configuration. Though small in size, the Z2 Mini supports current and next generation Intel Core and Xeon processor options paired with an NVIDIA Quadro M620 GPU. It also has a two SO-DIMM memory slots and supports HP's Z Turbo Drive for blazing fast file transfers.
"The HP Z2 Mini, the world’s first mini workstation, delivers breakthrough power and versatility in a small, iconic design," said Jeff Wood, vice president and general manager, Workstations and Thin Clients, HP Inc. "HP redefined the workstation in 2009 with the introduction of the HP Z series, and now once again is disrupting the category with the new HP Z2 Mini Workstation - the ultimate combination of space efficiency, elegance and power for our customers and partners."
HP says that size and power don't come at the expense of cooling and noise. Just the opposite, the company said its engineers created custom designed fans and a cooling system that makes the Z2 Mini run 63 percent quieter than an HP business-class mini PC.
The Z2 Mini is an intriguing system, but will CAD workers and creators in general be drawn to it? HP will find out soon enough—the Z2 Mini will be available in December starting at $699.