Have you ever asked yourself What is the most powerful workstation money can buy now?. If the answer to this question is YES, then I present you the HP Z8 workstation. Clearly, I have to agree with the statement made by HP. No doubt this is an engineering wonder. Here is the reason why?
What will you get?
This monstrous system is motorized not by one, but actually two latest Intel Skylake-SP Xeon CPUs. This means a whopping 56 cores in total. When it comes to memory you can fit in up to 3TB of DDR4 RAM. Yes you read it correctly. This system has a total number of 24 memory slots. That is a lot of memory I can tell you. Even when we speak about storage capacity the numbers are beyond this galaxy. Hold on folks as it is able to fit in 48 TB of hard drives. But what is a workstation worth without the possibility to add a graphics card. Well you can add not one, not two, but a total of 3 graphic cards. Those processors and memory can be combined with up to three Nvidia Quadro P6000 GPUs or AMD Radeon Pro WX 9100 parts if you prefer that team.
But let us just focus on the processor that comes in this hefty desktop. As mentioned before we are speaking about 2 Intel Skylake-SP Xeon CPUs. Actually the top model fits two Xeon Platinum 8180 (2.5GHz/3.8GHz, 38.5MB cache, 28 cores). Additionally, each of this processor has a TDP rating of 205W. This means that only the CPU’s will consume the energy of a “nuclear” power plant. Just joking. If you add to this the power consumption of the other component like graphics card, hard drives, etc, then an interesting question arises. What power supply do you need to power this energy thirsty beast. Well according to HP this system is equipped with a 1,700W or 1.7kW power supply.
What can we fit inside?
Presently, one interesting aspect that I need to underline is the fact that you will note get an option for liquid cooling. For some reason the engineers from HP didn’t want a liquid cooling solution for the processor. Instead they decided to go with an air cooling. Therefore the whole case is designed such that it will allow a proper air movement in the case. In fact this way the temperatures are kept under control. According to HP, such a chassis architecture ensures that the second CPU does not re-use warm air from the first one.
List of CPUs you can choose from
Here is the list of processors which can fit inside this system:
- Xeon Platinum 8180 (2.5GHz/3.8GHz, 38.5MB cache, 28 cores)
- Xeon Platinum 8160 (2.1 GHz/3.7 GHz, 33 MB cache, 24 cores)
- Xeon Gold 6152 (2.1 GHz/3.7 GHz, 30.25 MB cache, 22 cores)
- Xeon Gold 6154 (3 GHz/3.7 GHz, 24.75 MB cache, 18 cores)
- Xeon Gold 6148 (2.4 GHz/3.7 GHz, 27.5 MB cache, 20 cores)
- Xeon Gold 6142 (2.6 GHz/3.7 GHz, 22 MB cache, 16 cores)
- Xeon Gold 6136 (3 GHz/3.7 GHz, 24.75 MB cache, 12 cores)
- Xeon Gold 6140 (2.3 GHz/3.7 GHz, 24.75 MB cache, 18 cores)
- Xeon Gold 6134 (3.2 GHz/3.7 GHz, 24.75 MB cache, 8 cores)
- Xeon Gold 6132 (2.6 GHz/3.7 GHz, 19.25 MB cache, 14 cores)
- Xeon Gold 6130 (2.1 GHz/3.7 GHz, 22 MB cache, 16 cores)
- Xeon Gold 6128 (3.4 GHz/3.7 GHz, 19.25 MB cache, 6 cores)
- Xeon Gold 5120 (2.2 GHz/3.2 GHz, 19.25 MB cache, 14 cores)
- Xeon Gold 5118 (2.3 GHz/3.2 GHz, 16.5 MB cache, 12 cores)
- Xeon Gold 5122 (3.6 GHz/3.7 GHz, 16.5 MB cache, 4 cores)
- Xeon Silver 4116 (2.1 GHz/3 GHz, 16.5 MB cache, 12 cores)
- Xeon Silver 4114 (2.2 GHz/3 GHz, 13.75 MB cache, 10 cores)
- Xeon Silver 4112 (2.6 GHz/3 GHz, 8.25 MB cache, 4 cores)
- Xeon Silver 4108 (1.8 GHz/3 GHz, 11 MB cache, 8 cores)
- Xeon Bronze 3106 (1.7 GHz, 11 MB cache, 8 cores)
- Xeon Bronze 3104 (1.7 GHz, 8.25 MB cache, 6 cores)
Graphic card options
Speaking about graphics card there are quite a lot of options to choose from:
- NVIDIA Quadro P400 (2 GB GDDR5)
- NVIDIA Quadro P600 (2 GB GDDR5)
- AMD FirePro W2100 (2 GB DDR3)
- NVIDIA Quadro P1000 (4 GB GDDR5)
- NVIDIA Quadro P2000 (5 GB GDDR5)
- AMD Radeon Pro WX 3100 (4 GB GDDR5)
- AMD Radeon Pro WX 4100 (4 GB GDDR5)
- NVIDIA Quadro P4000 (8 GB GDDR5)
- AMD Radeon Pro WX 7100 Graphics (8 GB GDDR5)
- Ultra High-End NVIDIA Quadro P5000 (16 GB GDDR5X)
- NVIDIA Quadro P6000 (24 GB GDDR5X)
- AMD Radeon Pro WX 9100 Graphics (16 GB HBM2)
- NVIDIA Quadro GP100 (16 GB HBM2)
When we are speaking about connectivity options the list include: two GbE connectors (powered by Intel controllers), an 802.11ac Wi-Fi + Bluetooth module (Intel Wireless-AC 8265 controller), two USB 3.1 Type-C ports and two USB 3.1 Type-A ports on the front, four USB 3.1 Type-A ports on the back, multi-channel audio connectors (a Realtek HD ALC221 controller) on the back, a TRRS audio connector on the front and so on
Who should buy such a system?
No doubt that this monstrosity is not for anyone’s budget. I personally think the HP engineers targeted this product for professionals. Whether we are speaking of virtual prototyping engineers or some video production company, you need to make money with this system. Therefore it can handle with ease 3D engineering and modeling and 8K video production. Otherwise it is more like an overkill for gaming purposes. In fact this system is actually a 2 in 1. Only one single Xeon processor will be more than enough to accomplish all of your tasks. If you want a really good workstation, but don’t want to pay the stellar price you can pick one of the Z8’s little brothers. If the Z8 is too much computer for you, the Z6 offers up to 384 GB of memory, and the Z4 can pack 256GB of RAM and a single Xeon CPU.
What is the price?
Finally there is an important aspect to be considered: the price. In fact prices will start at $2,439 for the bottom specifications. Consequently the price can be 20 times as much if we add all the goodies in the basket. All in all, the workstation is expected to hit the shelves in October 2017. In addition the Z6 and Z4 will arrive in October and November, respectively, with base prices of $1,919 and $1,249, respectively.