HP Z2 Mini workstation got hit by a shrink ray

Don't adjust your monitor—the image you see below isn't distorted to make the headphones look big next to the box. HP researchers had a little too much time on their hands and pointed a shrink ray at a CAD workstation. The result is the Z2 Mini Workstation, which the company calls the "world's first" mini-workstation aimed at CAD professionals.

The Z2 Mini measures in at only 13.3" x 3.95" x 15.1" (or 5.8 cm x 21.6 cm x 21.6 cm), which works out to a total volume of 2.7 L. In that space, HP fitted a custom-designed cooling system, an Intel C236-based motherboard, and a choice of Intel Xeon E3 or Core-series CPUs.

Graphics horsepower comes by way of integrated graphics or an optional Nvidia Quadro M620 graphics card. Professionals can wire up to six displays to the machine. Buyers can add up to 32GB of DDR4 at 2133 MT/s, and ECC RAM is available in tandem with a Xeon CPU. HP's Z Turbo drive (a PCIe SSD) supplies speedy storage.

For expandability, the Z2 Mini offers M.2 slots in two flavors: 80-mm on a PCIe x4 interface, and a smaller 30-mm slot with a single lane of PCIe 3.0 connectivity. Finally, there are two USB 3.1 5Gbps Type-C ports and two USB 3.0 connectors around the rear, and two more USB 3.0 ports at the front. A Gigabit Ethernet adapter is included, and a Wi-Fi-and-Bluetooth module can be added as an extra.

As befits any CAD workstation, HP certifies the Z2 Mini for use with a number of applications including AutoCAD, Solid Edge, and MicroStation. Users get the choice of either Windows 10 Pro or Linux operating systems. The Z2 Mini will ring in at $699 and up.

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