15 Replies Latest reply on Aug 2, 2017 6:23 AM by chopin_guy

    Workstation Build Thoughts - HP Z840

    chopin_guy

      First post here, and looking for some insight. I'm music director for a large Catholic church, but I wear several hats and do all our video production / media / etc. My current Z820 workstation is about 5 years old with a K3000 Quadro card, and really showing it's age.  I work with lots of 4K files (some RAW) from A7S, aerial, etc. So file sizes get big depending on the overall project.

       

      My biggest question on this build is the graphics card for use in both Premiere and After Effects. Naturally the Quadro cards are what Adobe quotes as supporting, but those come at a big cost. Is it worth going with one the Quadro's (P4000 or P5000) directly from HP, or should I be looking at one or multiple GTXs installed after ordering the system?

       

      Right now the main specs are:

       

      Xeon E5-2643 v4: 3.4GHz 6-core

      64GB 2400 ECC RAM

      512GB PCIE SSD

      2x - 256GB SSD

      2x - 2TB 7200rpm SATA HD

       

      Leaving the graphics card as the big question. Any input would be most appreciated....

        • 1. Re: Workstation Build Thoughts - HP Z840
          RoninEdits Most Valuable Participant

          you don't need a quadro unless you need 10bit display output for a monitor. otherwise adding a gtx card will be much cheaper, something like the gtx 1060 6gb would typically be a good match to a 6 core cpu. adding in third party memory to hit 64gb is another way to cut costs. kingston has a memory finder tool on their website to help pick the exact kit for compatibility. you might be looking at the hp z840 to add another cpu later, or perhaps you already have dual cpu in mind, but its generally better to go with one cpu for performance. if you are looking at a single 6 core cpu for now, the hp z440 with an E5-1650v4 6core 3.6ghz should be much cheaper. the cpu can always be upgraded to a xeon with more cores later if needed too.

           

          i'm not sure what cost you are getting on the hp system, but i imagine its between $6-7k with gtx card. that much money for a system with only 6 cpu cores is crazy. soon there will be basic off-the-shelf systems with amd 6-8 cpu's starting around $1k, and perhaps intel will offer 6 core off-the-shelf systems later. another option is to go with a system builder like puget systems or adk video, which can spec out a similar build with a gtx 1070 and 8 core cpu for around $5-5.6k or closer to $4k for a 6 core with gtx 1060 6gb. also, intel will be releasing new cpu's soon, so those custom build shop prices might drop another $400 or so for an 8 core build as intel is having to cut costs to compete with amd's new ryzen cpu's at much lower prices.

          • 2. Re: Workstation Build Thoughts - HP Z840
            chopin_guy Level 1

            Ronin -- thanks for the thoughtful reply. I totally agree on the system pricing being high. But our IT team likes ordering turn-key, and being in Houston we are literally across the freeway from a huge HP campus. So we like to support their business too. We do have a business account, and I'd imagine get some sort of a break plus tax exempt.

             

            In any event, my only hope would be to suggest one of the GTX cards which we could install ourselves. For the money I'd honestly be looking at the GTX1080ti since the price is so low compared to the Quadro cards. I saw some promising testing results from the 10 line of the GTX cards. Otherwise the cards I was stuck with via HP are the P4000 or P5000, and those are $$$$.

            • 3. Re: Workstation Build Thoughts - HP Z840
              RoninEdits Most Valuable Participant

              the gtx 1080 ti for premiere and a 6 core cpu would be considered overkill. premiere is cpu based, so the video card mostly helps with gpu accelerated fx like lumetri. the gtx 1080 ti might get some use if you are using gpu intense plugins like neat video denoise, otherwise the gtx 1070 8gb would be a decent option if you want to spend money.

              • 4. Re: Workstation Build Thoughts - HP Z840
                chopin_guy Level 1

                Thanks again Ronin. In premiere I use the Red Giant - Magic Bullet suite a lot for correction & grading/stylization.

                 

                Am I correct in my understand that the higher end multicore systems are lost on AE & PP as they're not coded to take advantage of all the extra cores? Budget would definitely allow me to upgrade to an 8 core if there's justification. I was just trying to stick to the highest clocked Xeons I could find. If I can convince our IT team do a consumer grade GTX card -- there would definitely be funds to bump up the processor. Also as you noted, upgrading the RAM on our own would be a good savings as well.

                • 5. Re: Workstation Build Thoughts - HP Z840
                  RoninEdits Most Valuable Participant

                  puget systems  has several articles about cpu usage in premiere and AE. they tend to max out around 4-6 cpu cores for basic projects, but some projects use much higher core counts. one benefit of having more cores is that you can designate x amount of cpu cores to do background rendering and use the rest to continue working in another program. also, using adobe media encoder to render out a project could allow you to continue working in premiere or AE.  the hp z440 has some 8 core e5-16xx v4's that might come in close to the same price as the 6 core e5-26xx v4 in the z840. if you don't think you will need background rendering or the 8 cores, then the 6 core at 3.6ghz will offer better savings as well as possibly better performance with its slightly higher clock speeds.

                  • 6. Re: Workstation Build Thoughts - HP Z840
                    chopin_guy Level 1

                    So after some more research I think I might actually go with a Z440 chassis build for this machine. I have a Z820 now and was just working on the premiss of sticking with the same, but it's not as if we do a great deal of upgrading to the system once it's been purchased. Nor do I need all the space the Z840 chassis provides for drives/expandability. Maybe down the road we would toss in a new graphics card, drive, or Ram -- but nothing major. The prices I'm getting for a Z840 build is a little over $9k with the E5-2643 v4 processor, but with the same configuration in a Z440 chassis with the E5-1650 v4 for $6,300, and that's with the new Quadro P5000.

                     

                    Is there any disadvantage with going with the Z440 in the same build versus the larger 640 or 840 chassis?

                    • 7. Re: Workstation Build Thoughts - HP Z840
                      RoninEdits Most Valuable Participant

                      i believe the z440 is single cpu only, as are the e5-16xx (which is why they are cheaper cpu's), while the z640 can add a second cpu with a daughter board, and the z840 has a dual socket motherboard.

                       

                      the z440 might be tight on storage space, it looks like it only has 2 spots for hdd's. you could swap the 2x sata ssd's for another pcie 512gb ssd to get around that. i think the cost isn't too far off and the pcie ssd should be faster too. i think you could use one of the 5.25" bays if needed for another storage drive too. there should be video's on youtube if you want to look at case internals or layout for the different hp workstations.

                       

                      they also have different power supply ratings in watts. it looks like the z440 offers a 700 watt, which is fine for a single cpu and powerful video card. i'm not sure how many pcie power cables and which type it comes with. like 2x 6pin or 1x 8pin, etc. if you are going to add in your own gtx card, you might want to find out what pcie power cables the computer comes with. also some gtx cards come with adapters, like 2x6pin to 1x8pin converter/adapter, or they can be purchased separately if needed.

                      • 8. Re: Workstation Build Thoughts - HP Z840
                        Averdahl Level 4

                        chopin_guy; You can order a Z440/Z640/Z840 without any grapics card installed. If you plan to put in a GTX card there is no need to buy the computer with a Quadro card. You can either buy an off-the-shelf or a Top Config configurated Z Workstation without graphics card. That will save you money and that´s how i buy them.

                        • 9. Re: Workstation Build Thoughts - HP Z840
                          chopin_guy Level 1

                          Thanks again Ronin - I'm definitely looking at the 440 and 640 now as the platform. The E5-1650 v4 isn't available in the 840 platform, and the E5-2643 v4 is over $1k more.

                           

                          The storage space is definitely at more of a premium on the 440, and just have to toy with configurations to see. But PCIE SSDs will certainly be part my 'project' drives to hold all footage, and have a separate dedicated SSD for cache/scratch drive..

                          • 10. Re: Workstation Build Thoughts - HP Z840
                            chopin_guy Level 1

                            Thank you Averdahl -- certainly looks like I will order it as you have suggested. Can't really justify the Quadro cards for my purposes, and especially you see how close the performance is to the GTX counterparts. I'd most likely be going with the 1080Ti...

                            • 11. Re: Workstation Build Thoughts - HP Z840
                              chopin_guy Level 1

                              So just wanted to update on what the solution I ended at for this build. Worked with HP directly, and got quite a good deal on a Z640 -- the specs are:

                               

                              Intel Xeon E5-1660 v4 3.2GHz 8-core CPU (20MB 2400)

                              64GB DDR4-2400 RAM

                              2x 512GB SATA SSD

                              1TB PCIE SSD

                              2x 2TB SATA 7200RPM (mass storage)

                               

                              Right now I'm just holding out for the graphics card. NVIDIA does not have any of the GTX1080ti cards in stock, and cannot give a date when they will. They do however have the Titan Xp available -- so thinking I might just have to go that route since the computer will be here on Thursday. Cannot wait to put this machine through its paces...

                              • 12. Re: Workstation Build Thoughts - HP Z840
                                Bill Gehrke Most Valuable Participant

                                For a GTX 1080 Ti if you insist look at these available cards from EVGA

                                • 13. Re: Workstation Build Thoughts - HP Z840
                                  chopin_guy Level 1

                                  Thanks Bill -- but for stability reasons I only want to go with the founders edition cards as designed by Nvidia. None of the specialized/overclocked/etc. cards. Naturally the founders is what they don't have in stock either...

                                  • 14. Re: Workstation Build Thoughts - HP Z840
                                    Averdahl Level 4

                                    So just wanted to update on what the solution I ended at for this build. Worked with HP directly, and got quite a good deal on a Z640 -- the specs are:

                                     

                                    Are the computer configured with one (1) processor?

                                     

                                    The Z640 can be configured with two (2) processors and are thus a more expensive computer than the Z440. So if you are using one (1) processor you should be looking at the Z440 instead of the more expensive Z640. A Z440 can be speced the way you speced the Z640 but will be cheaper to buy.

                                     

                                    The only reason to buy the Z840 or the Z640 is if you use two (2) processors.

                                     

                                    For your configuration i would consider the HP 2.5in HDD/SSD 2-in-1 Optical Bay Bracket: http://www8.hp.com/us/en/mpc/oas/product-detail.html?oid=7427924

                                    • 15. Re: Workstation Build Thoughts - HP Z840
                                      chopin_guy Level 1

                                      Averdahl -- thanks for the reply -- the system has been ordered and will be here tomorrow. My only remaining question is regarding the GTX1080ti cards which are currently out of stock through Nvidia. Leaving me with only the Titan Xp as the only available option for purchase right now. Gonna wait a few more days to see if they come back in stock by chance...