First Look: Lenovo’s Tiny P320 Workstation
Kyle Maxey posted on June 21, 2017 | 2325 views

Real estate has always been an important commodity. Whether you’re talking about the place you live or the square footage you’re given at work, space comes at a premium. For engineers, a sizeable chunk of the space they’re allotted is taken up by a workstation that’s almost always a hulking tower connected to several monitors and a few peripherals. Once the workstation’s components are all laid out, there isn’t a whole lot of room left at the desk.

But today, that old vision of a computing leviathan is fading into the background as a new vision for workstation footprints is coming to the fore. Without further ado, let me introduce the Lenovo ThinkStation P320 Tiny.

While the name of Lenovo’s newest workstation might be a mouthful, the company’s latest release is impressively small. Measuring in at 1.4 in thick, 7.2 in deep and 7.1 in tall, the 2.9-lb P320 is compact and carries a sizeable hardware punch.

According to Lenovo, the P320 Tiny can be configured to run on a seventh-generation Intel i7 processor, has the space to pack in up to 32GB of DDR4 at 24MHz RAM and will accommodate up to an NVIDIA Quadro P600 GPU. Additionally, the micro-machine can also handle 2TB of M.2 NVMe SSD storage and will be able to beam video to as many as six independent displays.

“Designers, artists, engineers and other pro users will find that the Lenovo ThinkStation P320 Tiny with the Quadro P600 really packs a punch,” said Bob Pette, vice president of professional visualization at NVIDIA. “Because the P600 is certified across a range of demanding CAD and creative applications, it’s guaranteed to provide users with the seamless performance and proven reliability necessary for any job.”

To arrive at their compact design, Lenovo’s engineers reached out to the public to find out what they wanted in a new generation of workstations. By listening to various customer groups over the course of a year, Lenovo realized that one of the biggest drivers in today’s engineer workspace is that office spaces are shrinking and computer labs are getting smaller. At the same time, users are demanding more powerful hardware.

Miniaturization was the order of the day.

Educator and designer Emily Pilloton was one of the first people to get her hands on a P320 Tiny as part of Lenovo’s ThinkRevolution program. Pilloton runs a San Francisco–based nonprofit, Project H, which encourages young girls to get involved in digital fabrication and product design. Project H sets up design garages where girls and young kids have access to everything from workstations to woodshops to digital fabrication studios, where they can transform their ideas into real-world objects. But as you can imagine, garages have limited space, and fitting a handful of full-size workstations into that floor plan wasn’t ideal. However, given the fact that the P320 Tiny is 96 percent smaller than traditional workstations, Project H could stock its labs with more machines. 

More machines, more productivity, and more ideas coming to life.

“The ThinkStation P320 Tiny is great for us,” said Pilloton. “In some of our more compact digital design spaces, we can set up a fully functional workstation without taking away too much space. We can also load up the system with the same software (Autodesk, Adobe, etc.) that we have in other areas of the Girls Garage for a seamless experience between stations.”

Beyond its compact form factor, the P320 Tiny has also been designed around a host of mounting options and accessories that complement the machine’s small stature. Whether a user requires an under-the-desk mount or would prefer clapping the P320’s body to the back of a monitor, Lenovo has provided solutions to make the P320 Tiny a modular and adaptable workstation.

Lenovo’s ThinkStation P320 Tiny will be available this month starting at $799. At that price point, users can expect a configuration that includes a 3.4GHz seventh-generation i3-71000T processor, 4GB of DDR4 RAM at 2400MHz and 256GB of SSD M.2 NVMe storage running Windows 10 Pro. A vertical stand is also thrown in for good measure.

For anyone attending Autodesk University London who’s looking to get a hands-on trial of the new machine, Lenovo will be showing off its miniature workstation at booth #LG-017.

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