HP Z2 Mini review: tiny workstation

Xeon and Quadro in a mini package



HP sent us a relatively luxurious configuration. The base is formed by an Intel Xeon processor, an E3-1225 v5. It is derived from the Skylake generation, which is also known as the sixth Core generation. Despite the compact case this chip features a TDP of no less than 80 watts. This is quite a lot. It has four cores and works at 3.3 GHz and boosts to up to 3.7 GHz. Due to the lack of HyperThreading you only have four threads at your disposal. If you do require HyperThreading, you can also opt for an E3-1245 v5, which does offer the feature and due to the clock speed of 3.5/3.9 GHz it also performs slightly better. As we mentioned before both models support ECC. If you are less demanding, you can also configure the Z2 Mini with various Kaby Lake Intel Core i3, i5 and i7 models. The motherboard is based on the Intel C236 chipset.

HP Z2 Mini G3

The interior offers space for a single 2.5 inch disk. This choice is quite weird in our opinion, considering it's 2017. They could have also opted for M.2 NVMe PCI-Express drives. Our configuration featured a 246 GB SATA drive from Micron. As you will see later on in this review, it performs quite well.

The network features of our test model were provided by an Intel gigabit chip. WiFi was not built into our test model. An Intel 802.11ac 8265 adapter is optional however. It is nice and fast (867 Mbit/s) and mainly interesting if you want to have less cables around your desk. The audio capabilities of the Z2 Mini are very basic. It only features a headset connector that is driven by a simple Realtek ALC221 HDA codec.

An Nvidia Quadro M620 is mounted on the motherboard of our Z2 Mini, equipped with 2GB of GDDR5 memory. It is a processor based on the Maxwell GM107 GPU from Nvidia. It has 512 enabled stream processors and a TDP of only 30 watts. It is somewhat similar to the Nvidia GeForce GTX 950M. If you need more graphical power you can use HP Remote Graphics (RGS), which allows you to utilize the graphical horsepower of a heavier workstation remotely.

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