HP Z2 SFF G8 Workstation First Impressions

At this time, HP introduced the next-generation variations of its entry-level Z2 workstations. I’m reviewing the small type issue (SFF) model. And … yikes.

This product isn’t typical of the PCs I’ve reviewed, not too long ago or in any other case, although I’ve reviewed some desktop and moveable workstations over time. It’s not even the craziest hardware I’ve reviewed, as I at one time had a rack-mounted Home windows Storage Server with redundant drives in my cellar, as one would. However that is a powerful bundle that ranks up there with probably the most highly effective machines I’ve used.

For these unfamiliar with this slice of HP’s product portfolio, Z by HP is the agency’s workstation lineup, and the Z2 line represents the entry-level. This isn’t to say that these are underpowered PCs by any stretch of the creativeness. Not even shut.

The Z2 is available in two primary type components—SFF and tower—and they’re geared toward two major buyer sorts, skilled creators and energy customers. And given the pandemic we’re nonetheless fighting, you gained’t be stunned to find that the product line has additionally been up to date to handle the brand new regular of the hybrid workforce, the place customers will probably be working from house at the very least a few of the time and but should still want entry to the extra spectacular computing horsepower that’s out there within the workplace.

The most recent-generation Z2s—named G8 to carry them in step with different Z-class merchandise—are aimed on the high-end wants of its clients, who count on unbelievable efficiency, modular enlargement capabilities for futureproofing, licensed excessive reliability, and, after all, enterprise-grade safety.

That I’m not such a buyer is, I assume, apparent: I used to be actually simply searching for a brand new Intel NUC, which is a very small type issue PC that makes use of laptop computer elements. Apart from some forays into software program growth and OS virtualization, most of my day-to-day work consists of ordinary productiveness work utilizing software program like Microsoft Workplace, Groups, and Affinity Picture. So I’ll battle a bit to essentially put this machine by means of its paces.

Additionally, it’s been some time since I’ve used a standard desktop type issue. My earlier tower PC, coincidentally an HP with an H-series processor, was briefly put again into service for podcasts once I had my little podcast studio in Dedham in 2016-2017, however it’s been sitting in a field within the basement since we moved. However in unpacking the HP Z2 SFF G8, I used to be reminded of the issues I actually miss about desktop PCs, although the honking HDD jogged my memory of the issues that I assumed we’d moved previous as effectively.

However let’s begin with the core specs. The evaluate unit arrived with an 11th-generation Intel Core i7-11700Ok “Rocket Lake” processor, a 125-watt (!) half that gives eight processor cores and a three.6 GHz clock velocity. Should you’re not acquainted with Intel’s Ok-series processors, and I wasn’t, these are the highest-performing elements within the product line, and so they include built-in graphics that may be paired with discrete graphics. No compromises right here.

The Z2 evaluate unit additionally shipped with 32 GB of DDR4-3200 RAM, a 512 GB Z Turbo PCIe-based M.2 SSD drive, a 1 TB 7200 RPM SATA three.5-inch HDD, and an Nvidia Quadro RTX 3000 graphics card with 6 GB of devoted RAM. So, not your common Ultrabook.

As for the configuration prospects, we don’t have the area or the time, however HP affords a dizzying array of microprocessors, RAM, graphics, storage, and enlargement. Right here’s a condensed model: You’ve a alternative of 11th-generation Intel Core i5, i7, and i9 Ok- and F-series or Intel Xeon W-13xx processors. As much as 128 GB of RAM. And quite a lot of storage choices as much as a 2 TB HP Z Turbo Drive PCIe NVM SED Opal 2 TLC M.2 SSD. Intel UHD Graphics 730, 750, or P750 paired with AMD Radeon Professional WX 3200 (with four GB of devoted GDDR5 RAM), NVIDIA Quadro P400 (2 GB GDDR5), NVIDIA Quadro RTX 3000 (6 GB GDDR6), or NVIDIA T1000 (four GB GDDR6).

As famous above, there are two completely different variations of the HP Z2 SFF G8, the SFF model I’m testing and a standard tower. Based mostly on the pictures that HP equipped, the SFF is mainly only a smaller model of the tower. That’s, when standing upright, the SFF seems to be about two-thirds the width of the tower. In any other case, they’re the identical primary type issue and the identical peak—or, when laid flat on the desk as I’m doing with the SFF, width—and depth.

It’s a good-looking design that exudes energy and efficiency. The Z2 has an all-black design, which I really like, and some angular design components on the corners to present it a little bit of aptitude and design symmetry with HP’s different trendy PCs.

And it may be oriented horizontally, like a desktop, or vertically like a tower PC.

The Z2 SFF G8 can be bristling with ports, and it may be simply expanded to supply much more ports.

On the again, there’s an audio-out port, Gigabit Ethernet, two DisplayPort 1.four ports, two SuperSpeed USB-A (10 Gbps) ports, one SuperSpeed USB-A (5 Gbps) port, and three USB Kind-A (480 Mbps) ports.

And on the entrance, you’ll discover two SuperSpeed USB-A (10 Gbps) ports, a common audio jack, two SuperSpeed USB-A (5 Gbps) ports, and one SuperSpeed USB-C (20 Gbps) port.

The HP Z2 SFF G8 incorporates a fully tool-less design that I really like: You simply flip a swap and the aspect panel slides proper off.

The entrance panel is even higher: It’s a skinny plastic protecting that’s held on solely by magnets, so it comes off much more simply. Good! (And HP additionally affords a Flex IO possibility that allows you to add a further port of some sort, together with a DisplayPort 1.four, HDMI 2.0b, or your alternative of a number of others. I imagine the second DisplayPort 1.four port is what was added to the evaluate configuration.)

Inside, you’ll discover a number of enlargement slots, together with a PCIe three x4 (x16 connector), a PCIe three x4 (x4 connector), an M.2 2230 PCIe three x1, a PCIe four x16, an M.2 2280 PCIe four x4, an M.2 2280 PCIe three x4, and a PCIe three x1 (x1 connector).

Pricing is as assorted because the configuration prospects. The HP Z2 SFF G8 Workstation begins at $1169, and the tower model at $1179, however you possibly can rapidly spend a number of thousand dollars relying in your wants. I don’t have a precise worth on the evaluate configuration, however it’s someplace between $2000 and $3000.

And … I’m on the lookout for concepts for placing this workstation by means of its paces. Clearly, I might throw some heavy-hitting video games at this factor, however that’s probably not the purpose.

Tagged with HP, HP Z, HP Z2 SFF