In the computer workstation world, you don’t expect to see much innovation.
These powerful desktops, used by creative types to render, store and send massive files such as detailed architectural plans or CGI dinosaurs in major motion pictures, have long been the reliable workhorses of the industry.
But with so many millennials entering the workforce and prioritizing the look and feel of their devices alongside functionality, the tried-and-true workstation could benefit from a bit of style.
That’s why today at Autodesk University, HP unveiled a workstation that’s expected turn some heads, in part because it’s 90 percent smaller than most traditional business-class desktop towers.
The new HP Z2 Mini Workstation stands just over 2 inches high, which is slightly shorter than an average cup of espresso, but offers up more than 3x the performance boost over a business-class mini PC. It can also be mounted on the underside of a desk or the backside of an HP Z display and hidden out of sight using optional mounting hardware, leaving more desktop space available for multiple monitors and other design tools.The svelte Z2 Mini aligns with a broader trend in offices around the globe: They appear to be simultaneously shrinking and being converted to open layouts, putting pressure on organizations and workers to reduce the amount of clutter on desktops and floors. By next year, North American offices are expected to average 151 square feet per worker compared to 176 square feet in 2012, according to CoreNet Global , a real estate data provider.
HP intended this super sleek, low profile, octagon-shaped device to be a sort of fashion statement for open offices.
The idea is that it’s something workers would be proud to display on their desktops. Not only is its modern appearance pleasing to the eye, it’s also whisper quiet.
HP envisions the Z2 Mini finding a following among small- and medium-sized businesses that have been relying – unsuccessfully – on traditional personal computers to perform graphics-intensive work.
The no-compromise specs of the HP Z2 Mini could entice many of these standard PC users to upgrade to a workstation. At the same time, the HP Z2 should appeal to larger organizations looking to balance performance and space efficiency.
Financial services organizations, for example, could be drawn to the Z2 Mini’s ability to support up to six displays out-of-the box. Universities, meantime, could see the devices as being ideal, space-saving options for classrooms and labs.
HP believes the timing is right to reinvent how people think about workstations. Future Market Insights projectsglobal workstation market volume to grow by about 4 percent between now and 2026 because of growing demand for 3D animation software, digital content creation, networking and graphics.
The HP Z2 Mini Workstation is expected to be available worldwide next month. Learn more about it here.