HP Z840 Workstation ReviewAugust 26, 2015
The HP Z840 Workstation is a highly versatile and expandable powerhouse specifically designed for high-end computing, visual effects, post-production work, and CAD applications.
HP’s chassis allows tool-free access to most internal components, but if security is an issue, a side access panel key lock and a security slot are standard features. Green touch points inside the chassis indicate removable components making upgrades to the system a breeze. The removable service panel is laser-etched with a clear layout of the system board for easy upgrades and troubleshooting.
Keeping it Cool
The system is very quiet and can be used as a desk side tower. This 5U rack mountable system also uses an enterprise-class rail kit. Two sturdy handles integrated with the chassis make moving the Z840 to a new location easy.
The chassis is based off the Z820 model and features three separate and distinct cooling zones for the components; one for the PSU, another for the CPU’s and memory, and a third for storage and I/O. Shrouds over each of the cooling zones give the system a very organized and well-thought out appearance but don’t be fooled into thinking it’s just for show. Fans for each cooling zone have separate sensors on the system board to ensure the fans only run as long and as fast as required to keep the system at peak operating temperatures. Internal cables are also very well organized and unobtrusive for better component access and air flow management.
The HP Z840 Workstation uses Intel’s C612 chipset to support dual, next generation, Xeon 2600 series 18-core Haswell E5 v3 processors for up to 36 total processor cores and 72 threads. An integrated USB 3.0 controller supports 9 SuperSpeed USB 3.0 ports, with 4 up front, one internal, and 4 on the back of the system, to provide lightning fast access to additional devices.
Featuring 7 high-performance graphics and I/O slots with up to 10 internal drive bays, the HP Z840 Workstation is very expandable. In addition, 16 memory slots support an impressive 2TB of memory when used in a dual processor configuration with 2133 MHz 128GB DDR4 Load Reduced DIMMS. Registered DDR4 2133 MHz DIMMS are also supported but cannot be intermixed with LR DIMMs. With one CPU, the system supports up to 1TB of memory with speed dependent on the speed of the slowest rated processor or DIMM.
In an effort to maximize the number of active slots available in the 1 CPU configuration, the fifth PCIe slot acts as a PCIe 2.0 slot with 4 lanes available when used with a single processor and jumps to 3.0 performance when used in the two processor configuration with all 8 lanes available.
The system comes standard with an 850 watt power supply. The 850 watt system supports graphics cards up to 150 watts while the optional 1125 watt PSU supports graphics cards up to 600 watts. The 1125 watt PSU has been qualified such that when the system is connected to a voltage source greater than 105 volts output jumps to 1275 watts when the input is 200 volts or more, the PSU will be able to output 1450 watts. An uninterruptible power supply (UPS) is highly recommended if 1275W output power is desired. This is a great feature when used with high power consumption configurations featuring a complete memory compliment, additional external storage, and powerful graphics cards like the Nvidia Tesla.
The HP Z840 Workstation comes standard with a 2-port 6 GB/s Intel SATA RAID controller, a secondary 4-port 6 GB/S Intel SATA RAID controller (sSATA), and an 8-port 6 GB/S LSI SAS RAID controller. The SATA controller supports RAID levels of 0, and 1 with a max of 1 RAID. The sSATA controller supports RAID levels 0, 1, 5, and 10 with a max of 2 RAIDs, and the SAS controller supports RAID levels of 0, 1, 1E, and 10 for a max of 2 RAIDs. An optional eSATA bulkhead adapter is supported on the SATA and sSATA controller.
The system comes standard with 4 LFF 3.5-inch drives with blind mate connectors. However, using HP’s innovative SAS/SATA storage solution drive cage modules, the 4x 3.5-inch drive bays can be adapted to support 8x 2.5-inch HDD or SSD drives. Each drive cage module holds 4x 2.5-inch drives and takes up to 2x 3.5-inch drive bays.
The front of the system features 2x 5.25-inch Drive bays, an optical storage drive, 4x USB 3.0 ports, 1 combo headset port, and one microphone port. To maximize storage, additional hard drives can be installed in the 5.25-inch external drive bays and configured for RAID to support the OS and applications. The optional HP Z Turbo Drive PCIe Solid State Drive reduces boot up, calculation, and graphics response times, even with 4K video, and comes in two versions; a 256GB PCIe version and a 512GB PCIe version for even faster response times.
On the back of the HP Z840 Workstation you’ll find a power button, 4 USB 3.0 ports, 2 USB 2.0, 1 serial port; 2 PS/2; 2 RJ-45, 1 audio line in; 1 audio line out.
Inside the unit are 2 additional USB 2.0 ports. 1 USB 3.0 and 1 USB 2.0 are available with the addition of a 2×5 header. Incorporating the 2×10 header adds an additional USB 3.0 port.
In addition to including the Intel C612 chipset to support the E5-2600 processors and DDR4 memory support, several new technologies have been incorporated into the system enhancing performance:
Intel’s advanced Vector Extensions 2.0 (AVX2) improves performance with math, codec, and digital signal processing software, and can also improve facial recognition, professional imaging and high-performance computing in addition to increased vectorization.
Intel’s Data Protection Technology with AES-NI (Intel AES-NI) provides fast and secure data encryption and is broadly accepted as the standard of the industry.
Addionally, already a standard feature on Mac computers, Thunderbolt2 Technology supports simultaneous 4K video file transfer and display over a single cable with data transfer rates nearly 4x the speed of a USB 3.0 connection.
The system also supports 3 high-end GPUs with 2GB ports standard and supports several different graphics cards including the W5100 AMD FirePro and a large cross-section of Nvidia products including the Nvidia Tesla K40 graphics cards.
Operating systems include Windows 8.1 Pro 64, Windows 7 Professional, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, SUSE Linux Enterprise and Ubuntu 14.04.
All in all, the Z840 can support up to 12 displays and HP also offers several different display options depending on your needs.
The system measures 8 x 20.7 x 17.5 in and weighs 46.7 lbs, depending on your configuration. ENERGY STAR® qualified and EPEAT® registered configurations are also available.
Bottom line, the HP Z840 Workstation delivers outstanding performance! For more hardware reviews subscribe to our YouTube channel, IT Creations TV and please contact IT Creations if you have any questions.