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08-10-2018 01:35 PM - edited 08-10-2018 01:40 PM
CPU: For a server use using a z420, the E5-2670 , E5-2680, and E5-2690 8-cores processors perform well and are not expensive. The E5-2680 2/7/3.5Ghz (about $80-90/ 8.18) would be a good choice or, to make the system more versatile, the E5-2690 2.9 /3.8GHz has a high enough top clock speed for photo editing, graphic design, even 3D CAD up to a point. I had an HP z620 with 2X E5-2690 and 64GB RAM and wish I had it still,...
CPU Cooler: If the load is to be high and constant, consider an HP z420 liquid cooler. These are all-in-one units that simply plug in and are recognized by the BIOS controller. I use one in a single-CPU z620 having an E5-1680 v2 running all 8-cores at 4.3GHz and under CPU rendering loads, it has never exceeded 58C while the 1680 is rated to 85C. This idles as low as 29-32C. There is a bonus small chipset fan to the side as well and these coolers are quiet running.
RAM: I'd recommend at least 32GB of RAM.
GPU: For the GPU, consider a Quadro K600 or Quadro K620 2GB, or GTX 750 Ti. None of those require power adpaters and are cool running. The K620 has enough 3D power for some workstation visualization tasks. I like to have systems to have a level of versatility such that they can fill in when upgrading or dealing with a problem on another system. I had a three month problem with the main z620 and z420_1, with an E5-1620 and 24GB, running the Z Turbo Drive, Intel 730 , HGST 4TB, and Quadro P2000 from the z620 worked far better than I expected.
DISKS: The disk arrangment is important of course, and I recommend adding a used LSI, perhaps 9240-8i or 9260-8i RAID controller, This provides every RAID configuration option and many, many drives. One of the important features is that these controllers run SAS 12GB/s drives. I'm very fond of HGST 7K4000 and 7K6000 drives as they have the top reliability and are available in SATA andd SAS versions. Not inexpensive, and can have a bit of noise, but server-grade drives.
OS: As for the OS, I recommend you contact HP and have them send you the original recovery disks. Provide the serial number. That contains the orignal Windows 7 Professional 64-bit, all the basic drivers, some useful utilities, and when you install it, Windows will automatically activate. The HP OEM Windows 7 is excellent. When I added an HP 9214-4i HBA RAID controller, the system instantly loaded the drivers and ran it. I don't know HP policy, but Dell sent me the disks for my Precision T5500 free of charge.
08-10-2018 02:58 PM
Thanks a lot for taking time to write to me such a detailed answer 🙂 I appreciate it!
All these infos are really precious
About the OS, I don't know how to obatin the Windows 7 OEM HP.
I'll try to contact the support and we'll see if they'll give me something....but I'm not sure about it...I don't know how here in Italy the HP support works....
08-11-2018 02:43 PM
Not sure if this helps but you don't need any Windows DVD discs if you simply want to clone your current OS HDD to a new drive. (The big advantage is that is also copies all the system drivers and existing software and licenses).
If you wish to change your OS drive, then download and install the free version of Minitool Partition Wizard. There is an option to clone any of the drives or partitions on your system. Connect your new drive to your computer then simply run the disc clone wizard, e.g. clone your current C: drive to the new drive.
If you want to partition the primary drive then you can do this with the Minitool Partition Wizard software AFTER cloning the OS drive. (The disc clone wizard will wipe the destination drive before the disc cloning starts so don't partition the new drive untill after the OS drive has been cloned).
08-12-2018 03:02 PM
The answer is a qualified yes.
Make sure to set BIOS to factory default, and save those settings on the way out of BIOS. Critical to have SATA Emulation set to RAID + AHCI.
Boot into the W7Pro64 SP1 Microsoft installer DVD. Hope that the drivers on that DVD are compatible enough to get the install to proceed. You likely will have to updgrade or install some drivers from the HP Z420 drivers site. It will take a while to get everything installed and updated. That is a whole art in itself. Use the COA # from the sticker.... that is different from from HP Restore media, but it should work.
08-14-2018 05:01 PM
Thanks a lot for taking time to reply to me 🙂
My problem is that I don't want to copy my current OS HDD because i want to be sure to do a 100% clean installation so i need to start from a formatted disc, without copy nothing from the previous one 😉
Anyways, you've given to me precious infos and I thank you a lot for it 🙂
08-14-2018 05:05 PM
THanks a lof for your reply and infos too.
I'm glad you're telling to me that I can use my retail windows 7 disc for the installation and use my oem coa key for activation 🙂
There is an option to set the bios to factory setup?
About the drivers, I've already seen the hp z420 support page where I can download them 😉
When I'll have installed windows 7 on the primary drive, I need to change the bios setting to install a couple of 4tb drive to create the Raid array, right? can i set it safely after installed the OS?
08-14-2018 08:18 PM - edited 08-14-2018 09:50 PM
A benefit of using a HP Restore media is that you can capture the image from the workstation you install onto, and then clone from that onto other same-type HP workstations, and the HP OEM COA from that will auto-activate on the clones. That is a help if you are making up more than one identical workstation like we do.
Another benefit is that the Restore media from HP has been carefully tuned by the HP engineers to work on the workstations it was designed for. That is, exactly the drivers they certified for that build are right there on the build.
In contrast..... your approach will require that you dig around and find drivers that are perfect for your "one-off" build. An image capture from that build, once you perfect it, can be used to clone onto another same-type workstation and it will work but with a 3-day grace period for you to get another HP OEM COA W7Pro 64 sticker or a MS W7Pro64 sticker and enter that new unique serial number over the one from your first sticker. Those HP sticker OEM COA serial numbers are different.... the Restore Media HP OEM COA serial numbers will be identical instead. So, there are two types of "HP OEM COA" serial numbers. And, then the ones from the MS System Builder kits or the MS retail kits.
Yes, under the first part of BIOS you can select Factory Defaults, apply, and save. You can also get to them via the Clear CMOS button, but you need to do all that right with no power/battery present and with the capacitors properly drained. I always do that, and then hand enter my specific BIOS tuning changes when I'm building up from scratch. Then I capture the clone of that BIOS tuning with HP's Replicated Setup (built into workstation BIOS), and also I capture a clone of the OS/basic apps build with Acronis. That way my clones are as close to true clones as I can get. Also, I have HP Restore Media that work for these ZX20 workstations, both v1 and v2 (same media for my boxes and chosen OS). The latest restore media seem to function faster and are more intuitive.
This can get complicated, but you're getting the idea.
12-11-2018 03:21 AM
There are several Xeon E5's that have unlocked multipliers: E5-1650 v2 , E5-1660 v2, and E5-1680 v2 and E5-1650 v3 , E5-1660 v3, and E5-1680 v3.
Using Intel Extreme Tuning Utility ("XTU") it's possible to set the multipler factor and add voltage for stability. Our friend Brian1965 runs an E5-1680 v2 at 4.7GHz and I saw only yesterday that somone is running one with a top clock speed of 5.1GHz ! on a "Clevo P70WM" motherboard, 4.7GHz on ASUS Rampage IV Black, 4.6, 4.5, 4.4, 4.2, and 4.1 on ASRock X79 Extreme 11 and ASUS Rampage IV Extreme, 4.3, 4.2, 4.1 on HP 158A (z620). I also tried the E5-1680 v2 in a z420 and ran it at 4.3 and 4.1GHz and had another z420 with the E5-1660 v2 running at 4.1GHz on all cores using the standatrd air cooler. The E5-1650 v2 is being run at 4.6 ,4.5, 4.4, 4.3, 4.2, 4.1, 4.0 on a variety of X79 motherboards by ASUS and ASRock, Lenovo, and HP. The E5-1650 v3 also: 4.7, 4.6, 4.5, 4,4, 4,3, 4.2, 4,1 but I do not see any overclocked on HP. This is true also of E5-1680 v3, running at 4.7 down on various ASUS X99 motherboards, but none overclocked on HP or Dell.
With any of these at 4.1GHz or more, I recommend liquid cooling.
Overclocking properly involves a number of subtle refinements whereas XTU has only the multiplier and voltage controls. I also never had success with any setup using XTU in which there was a progression of clock speed: two cores at X, two cores at Y, four coures at Z, etc. The setup seemed to always want all cores at the same speed. By the way, I use an earlier version of XTU that was contemporaneous with the E5-1680 v2.
And, as carefully I did this overclocking, running the Prime95 stress test for up to 4 hours, I have had a couple of disconcerting, seeemingly random shutdown/restarts.
I am concerned with the very high voltages necessary to run the E5-1680 v2 at 4.6Ghz- which new cost $1,700, but they appear to be tough and I'm going to try 4.5/4.6 using the Alphacool Eiswand external cooler. If users were blowing them up, or they had a reduced life span, it seems there would be warnings.
Overall, I am not in favor overclocking workstations, but the single-thread performance is so important in fluent 3D modeling, XTU has been very helpful. Properly done, it's wunderbar!