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HP Recommended
Z840 Z640
Microsoft Windows 10 (64-bit)


I'm looking to replace my HP Z820 v2 workstation with newer either Z640 or Z840 workstation. I need some help with choosing a workstation with the right motherboard / BIOS boot block date. I'm aware Z820 comes with two different types of motherboards v1 and v2 is it the same case with the Z640 / Z840 workstations?


What else should I look for?

Which is better Z640 or Z840?

Do either of them support NVMe? 

What are the best processors to upgrade Z840 / Z640?


Main use: Video Editing


Will appreciate any insight or directions or guidance.




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I have not upgraded a bunch of these but every one I've tried going from v3 to v4 processor only needed the latest BIOS installed initially for the the upgrade to go smoothly.  My Z440 was a "bare bones" sale and with no processor or memory included.  Bambi knows this...  careful eBay shopping can get some amazing deals and I ended up with an E5-1650 v3 plus 64 GB of the fastest DDR4 memory this motherboard can run because 8GB sticks were too small for some one-percenter.

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Which NLE are you going to use to edit? 

What kind of editing do you have in mind? Just regular editing, or heavy FX (layering)?


Yes, both of them support NVMe.

Both can use single or dual Intel XEON E5 v3 and v4 processors. Later generations are normally  better, but also more expensive.

Don't forget about RAM and a good video card.

Which workstation is better is a very difficult question to answer.


With some NLE's you have to stick with system guidelines that are certified by provider of the editing software.


Friendly greetings and stay safe,



HP Z840 Workstation | 2x 18 Core Xeon E5-2699v3 / 2.3GHz 35MB | 128GB PC4-17000P 2133MHz / 8x 16GB DDR4 | NVIDIA Quadro P4000 / 8GB GDDR5 / 4x DP 5K | 2x Samsung Enterprise 960GB SATA 6Gb/s | 4x (RAID5) HGST Ultrastar He8 8TB 7.2K SATA 6G | 2x Dell UltraSharp U2720Q | Microsoft Windows 10 Professional 64-bit
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Thanks for your time and reply, much appreciated.


At the moment I'm using Z820 with 2x 8-Core E5-2687w, 64GB  1600 MHz RAM, Quadro P2000.


Not using a professional NLE system at the moment, 

Mainly DaVinci Resolve but I can get access to Premier (I used to use Premier) but moved to Resolve. 

Regular editing (sometimes multi layer - max 3 layers of video) without any FX.

Some titling and water-marked logo etc.

Mostly FHD 1080p (30 fps, 50 fps) but moving to 4K (30 fps, 50 fps) very soon, hence looking to upgrade.


I see you're using 2x 18 Core Xeon E5-2699v3, I guess can handle any 4k editing?




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In general, if the use is video editing, the CPU core count and the top clock speed are important, a lot of RAM,  a good GPU, and fast drive.


That reads as though only have the most and fastest of everything, but that is not considering the differences in the particular software to hardware performance  and cost/benefit.   For example, Adobe Premiere is not fully scalable to core count; that is, the performance improvement diminishes after a certain number of cores. 


As a first thought: Consider using a z640 with  a single Xeon E5-26XX v3 or v4 CPU between 10 and 14 cores,  E5-2690 v3 12-core or E5-2690 v4 14-core.  The ability to use a v3 or v4 will depend on the boot block date; verify this with the seller before purchasing. A v4-capable system is more versatile as it will support more cores, but v3's may have fewer cores but higher clock speeds.  Having a v4 systems allows using either. Using an E5-26XX means that if the work load turns out to benefit from every core available, a second CPU can be be added. Have 64GB of RAM such using HP branded ECC registered modules such that the total may be later increased to 128GB, that is start with 4X 16GB.  As work progresses, or right away if practical, use 8X 16GB, then, If a 2nd CPU riser is later added, which supports 4X modules, that will results in a symmetrical RAM configuration of 64GB for each CPU.


Modern video editing stations are increasing using GPU's with as many CUDA cores as possible and with ray-tracing capabilities. That suggests a current NVIDIA RTX such as the RTX 3080.  However, these are very difficult to purchase at all, or the prices are + 50%.


For drives, z640's and z840's can use M.2 NVMe drives.  One of the benefits of M.2 is that they it is PCIe and doesn't subtract from the limited SATA /SAS drive connections. There is some benefit in an OS/Programs drive and a separate current projects / cache drive using M.2- 1or 2TB .  The archive and clips storage can be conventional HD.  One tactic is to have a backup drive that is run only when backing up or retrieving for example in an external enclosure.  Look for the fastest interface, even if a USB Type C or Thunderbolt adapter is required.


Don't neglect having a good sound system; consider a USB multiple input and output  sound interface with output to studio monitors. I prefer the external interface as it can have quicker and more I/O versatility.


If you can say more about the intended system' use- the specific applications and workload, there can more specific hardware suggestions.




HP z620_2 (2017) (R7) > Xeon E5-1680 v2 (8C@ 4.3GHz) / z420 Liquid Cooling / 64GB (HP/Samsung 8X 8GB DDR3-1866 ECC registered) / Quadro P2000 5GB _ GTX 1070 Ti 8GB / HP Z Turbo Drive M.2 256GB AHCI + Samsung 970 EVO M.2 NVMe 500GB + HGST 7K6000 4TB + HP/HGST Enterprise 6TB / Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 sound interface + 2X Mackie MR824 powered studio monitors/ 825W PSU / Windows 7 Prof.’l 64-bit (HP OEM) > 2X Dell Ultrasharp U2715H (2560 X 1440)

[ Passmark Rating = 6280 / CPU rating = 17178 / 2D = 819 / 3D= 12629 / Mem = 3002 / Disk = 13751 / Single Thread Mark = 2368 [10.23.18]

HP z420_3: (2015) (R11) Xeon E5-1650 v2 (6C@ 4.3GHz) / z420 Liquid cooling / 64GB (HP/Samsung 8X 8GB DDR3-1866 ECC registered) / NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 6GB/ Samsung 860 EVO 500GB + HGST 4TB / ASUS Essence STX + Logitech z2300 2.1 / 600W PSU > Windows 7 Professional 64-bit (HP OEM ) > Samsung 40" 4K

[Passmark System Rating: = 5644 / CPU = 15293 / 2D = 847 / 3D = 10953 / Mem = 2997 Disk = 4858 /Single Thread Mark = 2384 [6.27.19]


HP ZBook 17 G2: (2015 ) i7-4940MX Extreme (4C@3.1/ 4.0GHz) / 32GB / Quadro K3100M 4GB / Kingston 480GB SATA SSD > 17.3" LCD 1920 X1080 panel / HP docking station> video externally to HP 2711x 27" LCD + Dell 17" (2007) / Logitech 533 _2.1 speaker system

[Passmark System Rating: = 3980 / CPU = 10140 / 2D = 618 / 3D = 2779 / Mem = 2559 Disk = 4662 / Single Thread Mark = 2387 [1.3.20]

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Thanks for such a comprehensive reply, I'm going through the details,  a lot to learn and understand 🙂 

For HP Z640 and Z840 which boot block date should I look for?

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It is a complex subject; upgrading is often quite dependent on the exact applications used- DaVinci  Resolve is better threaded than Premiere, the file sizes, lots of effects?, the future, the budget (prices are very high at the moment particularly for GPU's), & etc. what-nots.


Sorry, I don't know the Boot Block date for zX40 series systems- whichever is the later of course.  In zX20's it's Xeon E5- first versions in 2011's and E5-v2s work in 2013's. I wish HP had changed designations when the CPU series changed earlier on (they use "ZX +GX" these days), for example later z640's might have been "z650" or "z645"- that kind of thing.



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Bambi... From all I have heard the ZX40 workstations are different related to upgrading from V3 to V4 processors.  There is no version 1 and version 2 in the ZX40 family (which is nice).  The key item to watch over is to load the latest BIOS version before rather than after a processor upgrade.  BIOS upgrades is the main way HP activates functionality of newly HP certified processors.... they slip in a microcode update along with the other goodies.


All the ones we've upgraded processors on have just worked fine as long as we followed that rule.  I did forget once, and it was painful figuring out why things did not work on the first boot.

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That any zX40's can use both E5 v3 and E5 v4 CPU's- as well as having native support for NVMe drives, is encouraging. The z440 motherboard listed for the E5 v3's and E5 v4's is listed as 212B.


Two particular Xeon E5 v3's are interesting examples of an advantage in using the earlier -v3, instead of the later- v4-version. The Xeon E5-1650 v3 and E5-1680 v3 have an unlocked multiplier similarly to the Xeon E5-1650 v2,  Xeon E5-1660 v2, and Xeon E5-1680 v2.  On Passmark Performance Test , there is an-one- HP z440 running a E5-1650 v3 with a Turbo frequency of 4.7GHz. Undoubtedly, that would require high performance liquid cooling. On a ASRock X99 Professional motherboard there is a result at 4.8GHz and there are quite a number @ 4.5+ on X-99.The Xeon E5-1680 v3 also can be overclocked, and there is one on an ASUS X99-E WS ; the "WS" stands for "workstation", running at 4.7GHz, followed by 4.6, 4.5, 4.4, 4.3, 4.2 examples.  There are no listings for HP systems using an overclocked E5-1680 v3. The special examples of the Xeon E5-1650 v3 and Xeon E5-1680 v3 do not appear to be well-known.


The Xeon E5-1650 v4 had at the time of it's release, was in the higher category of single-thread performance, a Passmark single-thread rating for the v4 of 2,353 to the v3 of 2,113. For comparison, the overclocked (@ 4.3Ghz) E5-1650 v2 in z420_3 has a single thread of 2387- not appreciably higher than a stock E5-1650 v4. 



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re: Zx40 : so there's nothing like v1 or v2 in terms of processor upgradability? I can buy any and upgrade processor later on?

Is that correct?

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If the new system is zX40, the choices for processors will be limited to Xeon E5-16XX v3 and v4 and E5-26XX v3 and v4.  The E5- v4 series provides the possibility of an zX40 system having 2X E5-2696 v4 will have 44-cores with a top  Passmark CPU score = 35698.


From experience, buying a low specification system, adding RAM, changing the processors, GPU, and/or drives is time-consuming and more costly. There is a strong argument in purchasing the replacement system already with at least the target processors.  For example:


https://www.ebay.com/itm/HP-Z840-24-Core-E5-2690-V3-2-6GHz-3-5GHz-64GB-1TB-HDD-K2200-4GB-Super-PC-Wi...   - $1, 255.  (3.3.21)  * This listing was quickly chosen as an example for comparison and is not suggested as a recommendation.


_The E5-2690 v3 is 12-core @ 2.6 /3.5GHz  135W  2X CPU in z840 = 29,546     Single Thread  = 1,877

_64GB of RAM is a good start

_The Quadro K2200 is a good one considering it's age, but would need to be replaced for video editing.


There is also another trend in current PC technology that is making upgrading an obsolete system less cost effective, especially with regards to processors. In general, the number of clock cycles per unit time (IPC) is very much improved as is the single-thread performance due to higher clock , as well as being more power efficient.


E5-2696 v4:   22-core @ 2.2 / 3.6Ghz  /145 W / Cost New = $4,115 /  Average Passmark CPU = 21,031 / Single Thread Mark = 1,787  Cost Currently = $600-700

Ryzen 9 5950X :  16-core @ 3.4 / 4.9GHz  / 105 W / Cost New = $800  Average Passmark CPU = 41,424  Single Thread Mark = 3,490


The cost benefit of the AMD Ryzen 5950X is apparent in that by comparing purchasing 2X Xeon E5-2696 v4 for $1,200 to $1,400, having a maximum CPU = 21,031  to a single Ryzen X5950X for $800 (when they'll be in stock) having a maximum CPU= 41,424  (= 197% of the E5-2696 v4) and a single thread performance for the 5950x that is 195% of the  E5-2696 v4.


Currently, the least expensive HP z640 offered having 2X E5-2696 v4 / 16GB RAM / Quadro K420 / 3TB SATA HD  costs $9,879. Note the specification of 16GB of RAM and low-end Quadro.


This is tending towards a more extreme example but is mentioned so as to reflect on the idea that recent advancements in cost /benefit of new processors and GPU's, memory, and drives as well can make a new system a better purchase and as well, one that will be useful to a higher standard for a longer period of time. Upgrading today needs to be carefully considered in proportion to new technologies.



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