Sponsor Spotlight: Supply Meets Demand

November 30th, 2010

Engineers, architects, and designers demand more from their computing platforms than ever before. For these professionals, pure performance is critical for design, modeling, animations, and analysis of 3D designs. For these users, HP’s new Z-series workstations offer breakthrough levels of performance and scalability far beyond the reach of past solutions.

The new Z-series workstations from HP are designed from the ground up as technical computing powerhouses, and still have low-end starting prices. It all starts with the micro-architecture. All Z-series workstations from HP are built on the Intel Nehalem micro-architecture. Nehalem offers a variety of new technologies such as Intel Turbo Boost Technology, integrated on-chip to ensure maximum performance under the most demanding workloads. The HP Z400 Workstation is built on the Intel Xeon Processor 3500 series and Intel X58 Express Chipset. The HP Z600 and Z800 Workstations are built on the Intel Xeon Processor 5500 series and Intel 5500 Chipset.

New Technologies power performance to new heights

Intel Quickpath Interconnect Technology is a high-speed, packetized, point-to-point interconnect that allows maximum performance between memory and processors. Each core of the processor features an integrated DDR3 memory controller and high-speed interconnect that links each core and memory together to allow distributed, parallel processing of data packets at transfer rates up to 6.5 GT/s (Giga Transfers per second). This provides up to 3.5 times the bandwidth previously available for high-performance technical computing tasks (based on internal Intel testing) and enables much more efficient processing of data.

Turbo Boost and Hyper-Threading

New Intel Turbo Boost Technology boosts processor performance above rated clock speed when the operating system calls for more processing power. Unlike "overclocked" processors, this boost is dynamically controlled according to specific limits, protecting the processor and other components from excessive heat and current. The biggest boosts come in multi-core processors when one or more of the processors is inactive. Those inactive processors are shut down by Turbo Boost Technology and the clocks of the cores in active use are boosted two or three 133 MHz steps above the processor’s normal GHz rating, giving users higher speed processors right where the power is needed most.

Turbo-Boost can be activated automatically when the OS calls for the highest processing performance state and is limited by how many cores are currently active at the time, power consumption, processor temperature, and processor current consumption. This feature is useful for Autodesk applications including AutoCAD, Autodesk Inventor, Autodeesk Revit, AutoCAD Civil 3D, and AutoCAD Map 3D to name a few.

Intel Hyper-Threading Technology is a mature technology that gives technical computing users up to two threads per core for parallel processing of data. On a dual-processing, quad-core workstation like the HP Z800 Workstation, that works out to 16 available processing threads to handle the most complex processing tasks in multi-threaded applications. This technology is very useful for rendering applications such as Autodesk 3ds Max, simulation applications such as Moldflow, and analysis applications such as Algor.

Intel Turbo Boost and Intel QuickPath Interconnect Technology work together to significantly enhance Intel Hyper-Threading Technology, enabling multi-threaded applications to run threads in parallel, at higher speeds than was possible before, allowing more work to get done in less time, maximizing productivity. This synergistic functionality between technologies is one of the things that makes workstation-class computers like the Z-Series from HP so much more effective in the technical computing environment.

Entry-level power far beyond PCs

The Intel Xeon 3500 Processor series found in the new HP Z400 Workstation is a high-performance processor family built on the Intel Nehalem architecture and intended for single-processor workstations. Available in either dual- or quad-core versions with base clock speeds up to 3.2 GHz, up to 8 GB cache and 1333 MHz memory speed, these processors offer substantial performance benefits over PC grade processors at very similar price-points.

A few things that differentiate the Z400's processor and chipsets is the integration of Intel Turbo-Boost and QuickPath Interconnect Technologies, and how these technologies enable everything from memory and processing cores to graphics cards and drives to run faster and more efficiently. Additionally, the HP Z400 Workstation with Xeon 3500 processors and X58 Express chipset offer support for up to two professional grade graphics cards with support for up to six 2D monitors or two full-performance 3D monitors. More expansion slots and drive bays provide greater scalability and expandability as well, up to 4.5 TB of internal, RAID protected storage in the Z400.

The Digital Workbench

The Z600 and Z800 Workstations are perfect workstations to be the heart of your Digital Workbench supporting up to two quad-core Xeon 5500 Processor Series processors and up to 192 GB of DDR3 system memory in the Z800 and 24 GB in the Z600. Graphics options are also enhanced by dual x16 or quad x8 PCI Express* 2.0 card support, and the introduction of the next generation of graphic card performance from both Nvidia and AMD/ATI. This allows the workstations to support up to eight 2D monitors or two full-performance 3D monitors at one time for maximum visualization options and productivity. Like the HP Z400 Workstation, the Z600 and Z800 also feature large internal storage capacity and a multitude of expansion slots to allow you to expand or add whatever peripherals you need to get the job done. New in this generation is the introduction of Solid State Disk Drives (SSD) to give users even faster performance for processing large 3D models and data set.

All the Z series HP workstations come with a number of other value adds as well including tool-less chassis with clever internal architecture that simplifies maintenance and upgrades and improves airflow within the machine. High efficiency power supplies are also standard equipment. The HP Z600 Workstation features a number of additional noise-management features that make it much easier to live with than its competition without sacrificing power, and HP offer optional liquid cooling for even better heat management.

HP has always been the leader in using cutting-edge technology to enable user productivity and enhance their creativity and innovation. Workstations, applications, and productivity tools are the items that make up today's Digital Workbench. With Intel Technology and HP engineering excellence, the new HP Z-series sets a new standard in workstation performance from the entry-level through to the power-user.

For more information on the new Z-Series Workstations from HP, click here.

For the latest Smart Buys on HP Z-series workstations, click here.

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