Lenovo's new workstation is indeed 'Tiny' but packs  a punch

Lenovo's new workstation is indeed 'Tiny' but packs a punch

Windows users who work in tight spaces and need a small form factor workstation with multiple display ports and solid processing power have a new contender to check out: the new ThinkStation P320 Tiny.

The workstation lives up to its name: At 1.4 x 7.1 by 7.2 inches, it's the smallest workstation on the market that is ISV (independent software vendor) certified, according to Rob Herman, the general manager of Lenovo's workstation business unit.

The ISV certification is important. "We don't consider a machine to be a workstation unless it has ISV certification," according to Lloyd Cohen, an analyst with IDC.

The U.S. government uses the same definition for workstations and for non-government users, software certifications mean that you can run CAD and CAM programs, for example, without worrying about crashing, Cohen noted. That's important if you're working on a complex design.

Lenovo ThinkStation P320 Tiny Lenovo

Lenovo's ThinkStation P320 Tiny.

The Tiny has as much if not more processing power than any other contender in the small form factor (SFF) workstation market, sporting a Core i7-7700 processor and an NVIDIA Quadro P600 GPU.

Priced starting at $799, the Tiny is designed to be an entry-level but powerful machine for users in CAD, CAM and financial services shops such as trading firms. "The SFF workstations are meant for space-constrained users, like designers and traders," Cohen said. "SFF workstations are a growing part of the market -- size is a factor wherever space is at a premium."

Designers and financial analysts often require multiple monitors so need to be very conscious about how best to use the real estate around their desks, Cohen noted. Traders sometime use not only multiple displays, but multiple workstation towers and work in close quarters with other traders, Cohen said.

At 2.9 pounds, the Tiny weighs about as much as a MacBook Air, though since it is not a mobile workstation, its weight, while impressive,  is not a huge consideration.

Lenovo's main competitors in the SFF workstation market are HP Inc. and Dell EMC, Cohen noted. For the price, the Tiny's specs compare well with competing SFF workstations.

The Tiny offers up to 32GB of DDR4-2400 RAM; 2TB of maximum storage (by way of two M.2 SSD slots) and six USB 3.0 ports. It also sports a gigabit Ethernet port, four mini-DisplayPorts and two DisplayPorts.

The workstation has ISV certifications from companies including Autodesk, Aveva, Bentley, Dassault, PTC and Siemens.

The Tiny will be available in early July. It can be purchased via Lenovo's PC as a service program, which offers financing, deployment and management services for a fixed monthly cost. It also will be available on Lenovo.com.

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