HP Z840 End Of Life?

Hey all!

Quick question: would buying a used Z840 at this point be a waste?
What’s the projected end of life for this platform as far as Flame upgrades go?

Thanks! I.

1 Like

That’s not a machine I’d personally invest in, considering it’s a 7 year old machine based on PCI3. Also, for $3,700 right now on Lenovo.com you can buy a Lenovo P620 Theadripper Pro 16 core that comes with an RTX a4000 or RTX 4000, add your own RAM for $1,000, and for another $2,000 buy 8TB of NVME and a Highpoint RAID card, and you’ll have a machine that bechmarks minimum twice as fast as any z840, and it will last you a very, very long time.

If memory serves me right, the z440 was end of lifed in 2022. Likely there will be a couple years of z840 left.

2 Likes

Thanks, appreciate the info!

1 Like

Sure thing. It all depends on how much you want to invest. There are still lotsa z840s in use. If anybody could tell you if its worth it or not, it’d be @Alan. He loves squeezing life outta that era of HP.

1 Like

The initial question is “can”, but the real question is “should”.

The whole “supported” thing is kind of nonsense. There is basically nothing that would prevent you from even using a z800 with Flame. Now remember we are talking about chassis/motherboard/CPU, not GPU. GPUs do have generational limitations starting with driver support. Nvidia has been dropping support for older architectures from their drivers along the way.

So can you use a z840? We do. Will you be able to for years to come? Very likely. Again, we are talking about the overall chassis, not GPU.

Now why would someone want to use a z840 today. Cost. We’ve bought barebones z840s (no ram, no CPU, no GPU, no HDD) for around $600. So that is a cheap chassis, that is very rugged and well built, and it just works with ADSK DKU. We’ve outfit the rest (CPU, RAM, GPU) using stuff found on ebay, for a great price.

But the big question moving forward, is what is this for? Are you buying a machine to play with home? Are you building a new bay?

We’ve been contemplating our next hardware round and decided that whatever we get next is going to be the biggest, fastest beast we can find. With our setups getting deeper and deeper, with 6K resolutions becoming common, saving money on hardware isn’t worth the cost of our own time. Also, if you are doing any significant MotionVector Tracking, the only reasonable GPU is the RTX8000 or A6000. The 48GB of GPU ram is key. Of course in ADSK style, instead of making a function efficient, you must just throw more hardware resources at it.

So, can you, yes, should you, depends on your use.

5 Likes

Hey Alan, thanks for the detailed reply!

I’m looking into building a home setup for freelance work and would need something that’s scalable and future proofed as much as possible. The type of work will mostly be high-end commercial post. Was just looking into used gear solutions vs. buying new before I take the leap.

1 Like

Check out the benchmarks here…

A used z840 will likely put you in the 2019 Mac Pro performance world. Flame benchmark around 12-14 mins expected.

Newer Threadripper Pros are double/triple. Whatever you do decide, Intel seems to not be the future.

2 Likes

I’m running my Flame on a 7 years old Z840 with a reasonably modern RTX 6000 in a somewhat working from home style. The other half of the system is a Dot Hill raid. Even today, the system feels snappy and ok when working in 4k. There are for sure a few years left in the box. But I will sell the hardware at the beginning of next year. These are the reasons:

  • The system is extremely power-hungry. In times of climate emergency worth considering.

  • The system makes a noise like a Starfighter on a taxiway. (It’s placed in the cellar beneath.) Most of that noise is generated by the Dot Hill, but the box itself is dissipating heat all the time and humming a lot.

  • Very inconvenient due to the Linux OS regarding other apps. Maintenance of Linux requires a degree in IT I don’t have.

I decided to get myself a new MacBook Pro and a bunch of SSDs that’s supposed to handle everything in the future, including Flame. I know that Flame isn’t compatible with M1 yet, but at some time, it inevitably will. That could be the reason why I may keep the Linux box for another half a year or so. But I’m not a typical flame artist, more of an editor, occasionally doing fairy light comps. So I really hope to get away with such a setup.

Id like to point out on those Flame Benchmarks that a Z820 I had with a GTX1080TI was pretty goddamn fast in comparison to a lot of the other systems out there. A well tuned system can still perform great.

I still use Z840s at work that perform well enough that I don’t feel the need to upgrade them yet, and I am generally working in 4K/UHD. Even do 6K which slows the machine down a bit but is still workable.

At home I even have a Z440 with an RTX2080TI in it (The Z820 died and money not well spent to fix it) which cost me less than $1K to setup (I ripped bits off of other systems that weren’t being used) and it too does a decent enough job where I can do small to mid level comps on it.

However, if there is some budget there then I would totally be buying a Threadripper PC of some description (doesn’t have to be the P620 either, there are other options) with an A5000 or A6000 if you can afford it. And I would look on eBay for an unused system without a graphics card in it. There are loads of new systems out there minus graphics cards as the data miners have been buying OEM systems just to get their hands on the GPUs. And they are usually the GeForce, not the Quadro (though they’ve dropped that part of the name right?) cards.

Running a couple of Z840 E5-2667 v4 16 core 3.2Ghz machines here… Nothing fancy by today’s standard. One has a P6000 24GB with 128GB ram and the other 2x M6000 with 256GB ram. Both have HP Z Turbo PCIe 2TB NVME system boot drives and HP Z Turbo Drive Quad Pro PCIe x16 cards with 4 2TB NVME drives for optimal video playback. Eventually I’ll replace these machines but I’ve intentionally held off as they continue to be workhorses. I recall on the FB group a few months ago someone was running 2022 on Z820 without issues. I’ve seen plenty of folks over the years run Flame on Asus and HP laptops which is of course not officially supported either. The main thing to look out for is the hardware works with the DKU more so than Flame software.

1 Like