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Microsoft Windows 10 (64-bit)

Hello,  I am new to the forum and became aware today of the Z600/Z620 workstations as a viable replacement for a modern gaming system.


I have been scouring the choices on Ebay and am faced with a decision regarding 2 machines that meet my criteria.


One is a Z620 E5-2680 with 32GB RAM and 1TB HD.   The other is a Z620 E5-2690 with 8GB RAM and 2TB HD.

The second computer is cheaper than the 1st, but I would at the very least upgrade the memory on the 2nd to 16GB RAM.


If I did that, and assuming the total costs are roughly equal - then from an overall Performance perspective, which one is giving me the better option?   I know having more memory certainly matters, but I know the E5-2690 is a better processor.    


Also, just glancing at the posts from others in this forum, what kind of Windows Experience Index numbers should I expect to see from either machine?


I am not a heavy gamer, but I do like having a computer that performs extremely well, and will do whatever upgrades I need to in order to max out any system.


For instance, adding SSDs, or memory, or very good Video Cards, are things that I will almost always certainly do.


Maybe, I am over-simplifying the equation a bit.    I am rather new to the super-technical end of things, but am learning as I go, which is why I wanted to get some opinions here.


Thanks in advance!



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both cpu's are sandy brige series and while the base fequency differs 2.70 vs 2.90 the max turbo speed is only 100 mhz diffrent between them as such i personally think that the actual real world diffrence for gameing will be quite small


so  unless the cost diffrence between the two is more than 40.00 go with faster one


what matters more is the motherboard revision it is strongly recomended you buy a system with the rev 2 boards that support the older 55xx (sandy bridge) and the newer 56xx line( Ivy bridge) of xeon cpu's the bios will show 2013 for the boorblock date on version 2 motherboards


this link should help you



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I second DGroves advice.... getting a version 2 workstation with the 2013 boot block date is worth the effort.  That will allow you to run the v2 (Ivy Bridge) processor versions (and all the older HP-certified ones if you wish).  Plus, those v2 processors have a higher MHz value that lets them run up to 1866 MHz memory.  The Z620 version 1 motherboard topped out at 1600.


WEI is a rough speed test.... the Passmark testing that our friend Bambi does is much more comprehensive.  The 2xxx processors have dual QPI links.... if you are not running dual processors you might want to look into the 1xxx processors.  If you really only plan to run a single processor in your Z620 (and a large number of us do that) you don't need a dual QPI link processor (extra cost for that second link, and a bit slower vs its 1xxx sibling).  The form factor of the Z620 is very nice, a little quieter but most bang for your buck comes actually from a Z420 version 2 box with a Bambi-recommended v2 processor for gaming, and 8 x 2GB or 8 x 4GB identical 1866 ECC unbuffered HP memory sticks in place.  Bambi and DGroves know just what to choose based on your needs.... gaming is different than extensive rendering, for example.


I use dual Quadro cards for their grayscale drivers.  You'll use a gaming card.  The power supplied from a Z620 can be more than a Z420 so some of the decision depends on how new/hot a card you'll be running.  Newer generally equals cooler for same performance these days....


I'm using E5-1660 v2 for our work needs (150 eBay) but they might recommend the E5-1680 v2 over that (200 eBay) for you.  Sometimes a hexacore is a better choice than an octocore, however.  Motherboard upgrades to version 2 are cheaper in a Z420.  For all practical purposes the Z620 motherboards are identical to those for a Z420, but they cannot be swapped between the two workstations.  There are dual LOM ports on the Z620 MB and only 1 on the Z420 (few of us use two).  The black plastic Z620 memory cooling fans holder plugs into a special port for power that does not exist on the Z420 motherboard.  Z420 officially is to run ECC UB whereas Z620 officially can run ECC UB and ECC B.  UB is a bit faster I believe.... but the key thing is to get a 2013 boot block date (version 2) workstation for your project, and a v2 1866 processor with identical 1866 memory filling all 8 slots.


Obviously you want a modern SATA III SSD plugged into one of the two gray SATA ports, or even a HP ZTD G1 (hard to find these days) as your boot drive.  Those ZTDs are nice but not worth lusting after.  You can't use a G2.  I personally like the Intel Toolbox utility and Intel SSDs, so got a 545s 512GB for my Z620 v2 project, and also use a 500GB older enterprise Samsung SSD for my documents drive.  I don't need huge documents storage, but do use eSATA or USB3 off the rear backplane if I need that.


If you go Z420 version 2 make sure to add in a front bottom PCI cooling fan kit, and the optional Z420 airflow guide I've posted on in the past.  Those are about 15 and 30 off eBay with careful shopping......

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Thanks for the responses very helpful 

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In my view, neither system will be very satisfactory as a gaming system. 


The processors, Xeon E5-2680 and E5-2690 were designed for applications that are multi-threaded; that is, will make use of all the 8 cores and 16 threads.  Gaming processors, by contrast concentrate on the single- thread performance- how fast one core runs. This is because no one has worked out a way to split the computations of the positions of the polygons (joined triangles that create the apppearance of solid object) among several cores  Whenever a character or object moves in a game, the three dimensional placement of thousands or hundreds of thousands of polygons has to be recalculated and the system instructed on the display of the new positions.  The attributes of the polygons- the color, shading and shadows can be partially off loaded to a couple of other cores of a CPU, but the GPU- the graphics card- does most of that work.


The core count is not important for this use as compared to the Turbo clock speed.


The focus of the processor that includes gaming should be the highest possible clock speed so as to provide the best single thread performance. The Passmark single thread perfomance rating of the E5-2680 = 1660 and the E5-2690, as the Turbo speed is 3.8GHz, is better at 1812.  For comparison, the highest average single thread mark is for the i9-9900K at 2903.  That is the stratosphere but I should think a target of score of about 2200 and with a reasonable GTX could make a good gaming experience.


As our friend SDH mentioned, the "V2" version of the zX20 series is preferable as the Xeon v2 processors have in general noticeably improved single thread ratings. For gaming use, look for a fast 4 or 6-core.  I have a z420 used as a television engine and the E5-1620 v2- 4-core@3.7 /3.9GHz  -which cost $58- makes a Passmark single thread of 2089.


In my view, the best choice would be to buy a z420  V2 with a Xeon E5-1650 v2 / 16GB RAM - about $320 in the US at the moment, a GTX 770 or GTX 970, a Samsung 860 EVO 250GB SSD and an HD of 1TB or more. The reason for suggesting the E5-1650 v2 is that it is a 6-core at 3.5/3.9GHz, but one of the few Xeons that may be software overclocked using the Intel Extreme Tuning Utility "XTU".  I have a Xeon E5-1680 v2 8-core and use XTU to run the 1680 v2 on all 8-cores at 4.3Ghz for a single thread rating of 2364. < That system is using the z420 liquid CPU cooler (about $50-60 now) and i'd recommend that as well for the E5-1650 v2 if it were to be overclocked. There is a z420 with an E5-1650 v2 listed on Passmark that calculates to a single thread rating of acout 2245.  On an ASUS X79 motherboard, someone is running an E5-1650 v2 at 4.6GHz! An E5-1650 v2 z420 would be quite reasonably good at workstation tasks as well: 3D CAD, photo editing, graphic design, and medium video editing  projects.


Quite a lot to take in, but a system with a higher single thread performance will be better at games- everything actually, and be  worth more when sold.




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