Review: HP Z820 Workstation

Studio Daily by David English

Need the Most Powerful and Expandable Workstation Available? Here It Is.

In the world of content creation, nothing stands still for long. If you work in video production, you may be moving to a 4K or RAW video format. If you have a Creative Suite workflow, you may be considering a higher-resolution monitor with expanded color space. If you use an NLE, you may need to bump up the number of tracks or smooth your real-time scrubbing.

These things could require more horsepower than your current workstation can muster. If you frequently yell at your system to hurry up, or find yourself postponing important advances in technology, it may be time to upgrade to a faster, more expandable system, such as the new top-of-line HP Z820 workstation.

The Z820 replaces the venerable Z800, which was introduced in 2009. With the Z820, you’ll benefit from the latest Intel “Sandy Bridge” Xeon processors and associated chipsets. You’ll also be able to run as many as 16 cores when you install two CPUs into the system. The Z800, which used the previous-generation “Gulftown” Xeon processors, topped out at 12 cores.

Increased Bandwidth
Along with the processor upgrade, the Z820 has significantly faster system memory. In fact, the faster memory is probably the Z820’s biggest improvement in terms of raw performance. The Z820 uses a four-channel memory architecture, as opposed to the three-channel memory architecture in the Z800. That gives it roughly a 30-percent increase in available memory bandwidth. In addition, the Z820 supports 1600MHz RAM, in contrast to the 1333MHz RAM in the Z800. That frequency boost provides another 20-percent boost in memory bandwidth. According to HP, the enhancements provide an overall 60 percent increase in memory speed. read more...

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