16 Core 32 Thread HP Z820 Workstation Build

Well I did it again! I simply cannot escape from the clutches of eBay, but who doesn't like new hardware, right?

Having initially ordered a Dell PowerEdge 710, news was broken to me that it was not greatest machine to mod, high noise, not a great "home server" system. And as luck would have it, there was a two day delay in shipping the server, so I worked with owner and he was gracious enough to cancel the order and refund me the money. In any event, this new machine should provide many hours of enjoyment and fun as I equip it with all of the high performance hardware I can get my hands on. This is the HP z820, which still seems to have pretty good bang for the buck but yet not over the top expensive. This is a professional grade workstation that originally retailed for about $2300 dollars (and went up from there) when it first hit the market. It supports dual Xeon CPUs (e5 2600 v2 series CPUs) and a whopping 512GB of DDR3 memory.

The HP Z820 has 16 DIMM Slots supporting DDR3 ECC Memory.
The first generation Z820 using the Xeon Sandy-Bridge processor supports up to 128GB of 1333MHz memory.
The second generation Z820 using the Xeon Ivy-Bridge processor supports up to 512GB of 1866MHz memory.

This machine supports QUAD CHANNEL MEMORY
I will be running 4 SSDs in a raid 0 configuration and upgrading to at least 64GB of DDR3 1600 or 1866MHz RAM.

The Xeon E5-2673 v2 8 core 16 thread 3.3GHz CPU was chosen for a few reasons. First, I could have gone higher core count, but the trade off is clock speed, and since I'm intending to use this for benchmarking, I favored the higher clocked CPUs (plus I naturally favor per core performance over core count). Second, the E5 - 2673 v2 turbos to the magic number of 4000 MHz, So it is a beast of a CPU, and with two of them, plus hyperthreading, we are looking at serious levels of performance and very powerful number crunching machine here. Another thing, the E5 - 2673 v2 has a TDP of 110W, whereas virtually every CPU above it is either 115w, 130w or 150w, and these require the larger PSU and better cooling. So a good blend of performance and price.

I am building this computer to compete with AMD's 3950X or at least that's the standard to which it will be measured. Both have 16 cores and 32 threads in total. The 3950X will probably stomp on it but nevertheless it should be an interesting comparison.

That's not bad for under $300. But the processors were $180 each, so it's starting to add up. Still, 16 cores and 32 threads for that price is hard to beat.


Now that is what I call a serious motherboard!