Gadgets

Published on November 17th, 2016 | by Varuna Singh

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HP made a mini workstation PC : HP Z2 Mini for designers

Aimed at the very few designers out there, HP shrunk their workstation grade computers into a miniature mini PC – the HP Z2 Mini. It looks great, spec-ed for CAD and is launching here at a competitive price.

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HP has designed the Z2 mini for the 5 million designers out there. That’s just 0.1% of the population even to HP. According to HP these are the people who shape the remaining of us. There is a trend and market that PC manufacturers see and that’s the professional market, the creators and designers. Stereotypically that could mean someone with an iMac and with the Surface Studio launch and Windows 10 Creators Update coming soon, PCs have gotten a lot more interesting for the creative.

Designed for Designers

HP Z2 Mini is a Mac mini style powerful and affordable PC that’s certified for over 20 professional software applications like Inventor, AutoCAD, Vertorworks, etc. It’s already tested for 368,000 hours.

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That makes the Z2 mini a first mini PC workstation. Compared with traditional towers, its 90% smaller than business class towers. It’s also twice as fast according to HP.

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HP doesn’t sell a monitor to go with the Z2 Mini. Therefore, it isn’t an All in One style designer PC and the differences for creators between this and the Surface Studio is the innovation and features in pen and touch. HP might have missed that opportunity here but this is designed to fit with the traditional e-tools that Designers already have today.

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Speaking of design, the Z2 mini looks compact. It has an octagon form and has that new HP logo in the front. The power button seems bigger than it must be and it doesn’t have more than two USB Type A ports. HP’s Z line is their certified and tested line for workstations and the mini here would only stand for the fact that they fit in most of the processing in a smaller housing. HP says it’s designed for the workspace of the future. It can be mounted above the table, below it, on its side like a tower or just in front of you connected to a monitor. It’s a 2.3” high unit with advanced VESA mounting. All the improvements also mean its 63% quieter than HP’s other business class mini PCs.

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You can connect up to 6 displays out of the box with its 3 full-sized display ports at the back. It also has an Ethernet port and two USB 3.0 Type A port. No USB Type C in this machine – which is kind of a bummer since this isn’t based around gaming.

Intel Xenon, NVIDIA Quadro makes for huge processing power

Let’s talk about raw performance here. It’s a well-built and spec-ed mini-PC. Its designed to let air out quietly. The top cover pops out for easy access to its internals. It has HP’s Z Turbo Drive with up to 1.5 TB of storage. Powering the Z2 mini is an Intel Xenon processor. That’s at a higher voltage and performance than the Core i processors that we see in Ultrabooks and laptops. In fact this is a workstation and server level processor. Very high CPU intensive tasks rely on this processor. You also get NVIDIA Quadro Pro Graphics that M620-class that’s useful in demanding 3D models. That isn’t going to get you the fancy Nvidia gaming features and it isn’t aimed at so.

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The HP Z2 Mini doesn’t look like an every-day mini PC and has way more processing power than required. Despite NOT having a gaming optimized card like the Nividia GTX, the Z2 Mini could game to an extent. However Z2 selling point is in creation. Without a partner screen and pen the Z2 Mini might also not appeal to the many who look at the Surface Studio as creators. For the rest of the creators who are currently looking for an upgrade, the Z2 Mini looks like the versatile option.

HP will make their HP Z2 Mini available in the Middle-East mid-December starting from AED2933.

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About the Author

I work with technology in Education. I also write stuff. I love design and people. @varunasingh



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