HP Z2 Mini vs Mac Mini: Battle of the Miniature Machines

17 November 2016, 6:45 am EST By Gio C. Mobile & Apps

Helwett-Packard has recently announced that the compact Z2 Mini, a powerful PC that is just about the same size as the Mac Mini. How well does it perform against Apple's small form-factor rival? Here's a comparison review.

HP's Z2 Mini has a computing power of a full-sized desktop PC, with some of the most powerful computer hardware crammed into a small box: it features an Intel Xeon (server) CPU and a discrete Nvidia graphics card. With the server-grade CPU, the Z2 Mini can deliver high reliability and heavy-duty performance, PC World says.

The Mac Observer noted that the HP Z2 Mini is intended for creative and technical professionals in the OEM, CAD, finance and education industry. The tiny computer may feature from Intel Core i3, i5, i7 up to a quad-core Xeon E3-1200v5, as well as Linux and Windows 10 support, up to 32 GB of RAM, and support for up to six displays.

However, it does not have a Thunderbolt 3 slot, making workstation-level data speeds a bit frustrating with the lack of it.

On the other hand, the Mac Mini, which hasn't received a design or performance upgrade for years, may feature Intel Core i5 or Core i7 dual-core processors and Intel Iris Graphics, which may be a downgrade from HP's tiny beast.

The Mac Mini can support up to 16 GB of RAM, macOS 10.12 (Sierra) and Windows (via Boot Camp), and a maximum of 2 displays. At its maximum configuration, it also features a 1 or 2TB Fusion Drive, older Thunderbolt 2 ports, and 4 USB 3.0 ports.

According to Jeff Wood, HP's vice president for workstation business, it seems that Apple has been slowly leaving the professional market for designers and engineers. The idea came from the fact that the newly-announced MacBook Pro uses an older Skylake processor - making it a consumer than a business-grade computer. He then declared that the Z2 Mini superior to the Mac Mini.

The Z2 Mini isn't mean to use for VR, though, as the included Nvidia Quadro M620 is not powerful enough for it. Next generation Apple PCs may include a VR-compatible Polaris graphics architecture from AMD, something to look forward with the announcement of the next generation Apple PCs sometime in the near future.

Overall, HP's Z2 Mini is more powerful than the Mac Mini, but is optimized for a specific purpose: workstation and business-level workloads.

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