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.

Comments closed
    • bluebadger
    • 3 years ago

    I’m super excited about this product for my company: we have a lot of 2D and 3D drafting AutoCAD users who are drooling over this machine. This is going to be perfect as it’s plenty powerful for what they do and takes up hardly any desk space and should be fairly quiet.

    They use all the desk space for the large print outs from the plotter and want every bit of space that they can. We were testing some really nice huge screens but the feedback is that they can’t use 2 of them as it takes up too much desk space so now we’re probably going to look at 21:9 ultra-wides as a single screen.

    Hopefully we can get a demo out in Canada soon.

      • JustAnEngineer
      • 3 years ago

      Float your monitors above the desk with arm type supports rather than the default monitor stands. That way, you can have lots of monitors and still spread stuff out beneath them.

    • DPete27
    • 3 years ago

    [quote<]HP certifies the Z2 Mini for use with a number of applications including AutoCAD, Solid Edge, and MicroStation.[/quote<] Can someone explain to me what/how [b<]HP[/b<] has anything to do with program certification. My understanding was that AMD/Nvidia release drivers optimized for these type programs for their professional graphics cards. So if you opt for the HP Z2 with the quadro dGPU, HP doesn't have to do anything. If you get the HP Z2 version with just the Intel IGP, I'm not sure how you'd be "certified" for any program (not that you need special drivers to run them anyway). Is HP really tweaking/optimizing Intel's graphics drivers?

      • Chrispy_
      • 3 years ago

      Google ISV Certification.

      For what it’s worth, nobody in the AEC industry I work with gives a damn about it. As far as I can tell it’s another checkbox feature that pumps up the cost and profit, hoping some clueless PHB decides it’s worth having because it’s an acronym.

      I reality, your IT department gets software image(s) for your company and deploys or publishes those images to client machines. If there are software compatibility issues, that’s the responsibility of the software vendor and that’s why you pay those vendors for support. ISV is just a garbage layer on top of that and it’s 100% useless when it comes to troubleshooting issues.

      • nico1982
      • 3 years ago

      I read it as “HP points out that the Z2 has obtained certification for etc.”.

    • spiritwalker2222
    • 3 years ago

    I assume the metric dimensions are correct. The size in inch’s is pretty big.

      • cynan
      • 3 years ago

      Yep, the metric dimensions are correct, at least as corroborated by Storagereview.com. The imperial units are 8.5″x8.5″x2.28″.

      Things like this wouldn’t happen if the USA just finally conceded to the superior measurement unit system already.

        • GrimDanfango
        • 3 years ago

        More importantly… the measurement system their archaic system is literally *defined* by!

          • Srsly_Bro
          • 3 years ago

          Make imperial measurements great again!

          Has anyone seen ssk? I haven’t talked to him since like midnight on election night.

        • Pwnstar
        • 3 years ago

        Superior, my ass.

    • JosiahBradley
    • 3 years ago

    It’s a workstation, meaning used for work. Don’t people have desk to support ATX chassis at work? What does a mini build give you besides aesthetics. Work is for performance. God it’s the Mac blight.

      • nico1982
      • 3 years ago

      I like it. It frees up working area on the desk for actual useful stuff like papers, pens, test devices, coffee mugs, etc.

      • XTF
      • 3 years ago

      What’s wrong with the performance of this one?

        • JosiahBradley
        • 3 years ago

        For one you have to pay extra to get a GPU with only 2GB of VRAM. The expandability options are extremely limited to a single 2.5in drive and no full size PCIe. Cooling performance won’t be as good as a full size chassis or one big enough for water cooling like high end workstations.

        The sacrifices people make for a few inches on their desk when they should be working is silly. Jobs are meant to make money not look pretty.

          • Kurotetsu
          • 3 years ago

          [quote=”JosiahBradley”<]For one you have to pay extra to get a GPU with only 2GB of VRAM.[/quote<] Do workstation applications like AutoCAD and SolidEdge need huge amounts of VRAM to run well? I'm not an expert on those applications so this is a legit question. [quote<]The expandability options are extremely limited to a single 2.5in drive and no full size PCIe.[/quote<] As far as storage goes, every company I've worked for has offloaded that to networked storage devices and/or file servers. Having lots of local storage on a workstation was never been a priority in those situations (not compared to having FAST local storage). [quote<]Cooling performance won't be as good as a full size chassis or one big enough for water cooling like high end workstations.[/quote<] I guess? It could just be that the companies I've worked at have never needed workstations of such absurd horsepower that they required liquid cooling just to run properly. It seems like tasks that require that kind of performance are all being offloaded to dedicated servers (i.e. render farms) running in a datacenter nowadays. But, again, its likely I haven't been exposed to the right environment.

      • drfish
      • 3 years ago

      I don’t know, if [url=http://www.amd.com/en-us/products/graphics/workstation/firepro-3d/apu#<]these[/url<] had ever seen the light of day in the US I would have built some systems around them, probably in ISK 110s. Sometimes you don't need horsepower, you just need certified drivers.

      • boskone
      • 3 years ago

      It’s easy to put out of the way. I have no need–at home or work–for a full ATX computer.

      At home I have a mini ITX box, because the only addon I need anymore is a video card. Even if I were using a Crossfire or SLI setup, I’d probably still prefer a compact micro ATX box to full ATX. Why deal with an ATX case when I can make my computer effectively disappear?

      At work I don’t even need a discrete GPU, so my computer either sits under my cube’s desk and gets in the way of my feet, or sits on my desk and wastes space I could use for actual work. If I could get work to spring for something like this, I’d do so in a heartbeat.

        • Airmantharp
        • 3 years ago

        As blower-style graphics coolers go out of style- even the better ones- SLI/CFX and mATX don’t really mix. You need that slot of breathing room.

        Further, mATX just isn’t that much smaller than ATX, and it’s only smaller in the least significant dimension :/.

        • JosiahBradley
        • 3 years ago

        This is not an office work PC but they are claiming CAD workloads and pairing it with a terrible GPU all for form factor over functionality.

      • VincentHanna
      • 3 years ago

      Nothing wrong with smaller/more efficient/more reliable, if it still does what it’s supposed to. Do you also refer to it as “mac blight” that your calculator doesn’t fill up 2 rooms in your house?

      • mnemonick
      • 3 years ago

      As an IT guy who’s worked with engineers and graphics pros, what they [i<]need[/i<] is [i<]monitor[/i<] real estate - the more, the better, followed by performance. Not one of them I've met cares about the actual size of their PC except as it affects their desk layout, where smaller is always welcome.

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