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HP Z2 Mini boasts workstation-class specs in a tiny package

By Jos
Nov 16, 2016
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  1. HP has unveiled a mini workstation aimed at architects, engineers, and other professionals that rely on graphics-intensive computer-aided design (CAD) software. The HP Z2 Mini measures a mere 2.3 inches tall and 8.5 inches wide, but packs workstation-class parts like Intel Xeon processors and powerful NVIDIA Quadro M620 professional graphics.

    HP says the Z2 is “90 percent smaller than a traditional business-class tower" and is twice as powerful as any mini PC on the market. It is also 63 percent quieter than HP's business-class mini PCs, according to the company, thanks to a custom cooling system.

    HP says that the Z2 Mini Workstation will go on sale in December worldwide for $699. There aren’t many details regarding specific configurations but the system will be available with Core i3, Core i5, Core i7, or Xeon E3-1200v5 processor options, support for up to 32GB of RAM and 1.5TB of M.2 SSD storage. It also supports Quadro M620 professional graphics, which is a mobile graphics chip but it’s still more powerful than integrated Intel HD graphics.

    Other features include three DisplayPort ports and two USB 3.0 Type-A ports for entry-level models, while higher-priced variants will feature an extra DisplayPort port and two USB 3.1 Type-C ports.

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  2. theruck

    theruck TS Booster Posts: 104   +20

    Jose, since when is a xeon and a quadro a workstation class hardware?
     
  3. Bigtruckseries

    Bigtruckseries TS Maniac Posts: 417   +220

    I believe"Workstations" make more sense as All-in-one PC units with error-correcting memory.

    The workstations I bought for my staff are all of this type, LENOVO, and the reason I prefer it that way is because it eliminates clutter, and their work is being stored on our server rather than the computer. You can go smaller on their internal HDD and spend longer on the server capacity.

    It's easier to set up work areas with the All in One because the only thing you'll need to add is a keyboard and mouse.

    My employees have WiFi so that eliminates Ethernet cables when necessary.
     
    Reehahs likes this.
  4. Actually, Xeon and Quadros are exactly what architects, engineers and professionals in CAD, CGI, VFX, postproduction use for their workstations. If you need ECC Ram, Xeons are your only options seen that Core i7 and i5 are intended for desktop use and not workstation or server. Quadros do have better OpenGL drivers and performance compared to Geforce cards. You might wanna get your facts straight the next time before you comment an article
     
    Reehahs likes this.
  5. RSIlluminator

    RSIlluminator TS Rookie

    CG/VFX doesn't really need Quadros. The latest batch of GeForce cards have been working quite well with gpu rendering, and they're much cheaper. If your rendering engine can't support out of core rendering then a Quadro with a lot of VRAM would help. Other than that the GeForce line is fantastic.
     
  6. Yeah, you can use a Geforce card for it, true. You can do a fluid sim with 8GB of Ram as well. Hell, you can even use a TN-panel as your display. Is it ideal? Might be fine if it's a hobby, but seen that the Z Series of HP is not directed at hobbyists but professionals, Quadros and Xeons (even if only in single CPU configuration) makes sense. That is why you have professional GPUs/CPUs and the software you work in those fields support multi-CPUs.
    The main use of a GPU is not for GPU Rendering but for visualization in the viewport. And in that case a Quadro is going to give you better performance and more Ram than a Geforce. Even a 2 year old highend Quadro outperforms the new Geforces when it comes to the viewport. Why? Because the drivers are fine tuned for OpenGL. Which is important for high-poly scenes or fluid sims in Naiad and Houdini. Max is mainly Directx so you are fine with a Geforce for your viewport. Houdini does fine with Geforce too but still better with a Quadro or Firepro. Hell, Geforce do not even support 10 bit in OpenGL!
    While GPU Rendering might be fine for still frames running a particle sim, fluid sim or heavy rendering is still done via CPU and not GPU
     
    Reehahs likes this.
  7. RSIlluminator

    RSIlluminator TS Rookie

    What rendering engine do you work with?
     
  8. ET3D

    ET3D TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,180   +73

    From the benchmarks I've seen, the advantage of the Quadro line is mainly in supporting well primitives which aren't of much use outside CAD, such as lines. If you're doing visualisation work which doesn't require them, then a GeForce would work as well, and would be more cost effective.

    Given that the M620 is low end (the K620 had 384 cores and DDR3, and NVIDIA advertises the M620 as 20% faster), a device with a decent GeForce will likely be better for most uses. There's a reason this is advertised specifically for CAD.
     

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