At Cinema Without Borders we are planning on running a series of reviews and stories about film editing on HP Z600 Workstation. To introduce this system we had an interview with Barry Lewis, senior product manager, Workstations Worldwide Market, HP.
CWB: Please tell us about the architecture of the Z600.
Barry Lewis: The HP Z600 Workstation is a dual processor workstation, based on the latest generation Intel technology, which includes Xeon processors with includes integrated memory controllers. Intel’s technology also incorporates QuickPath Interconnect Architecture QPIA that replaces the older front-side bus architecture. For a dual processor system with three channels of memory associated with each processor, there are total six memory channels available along with the Xeon processors and Intel 5520 chipset that make up the core of the architecture.
CWB: I understand that there are a variety of Z600 systems that you can create depending on configuration options. What are the different possible configurations of the Z600?
BL: The HP Z600 Workstation is a fully configurable system. There is a full range of configurations from single quad-core processors -at the entry level, all the way up to system configurations systems with dual six-core processors to give you twelve processor cores or twenty four threads, with hyper-threading enabled. You can also go up to 48 GB of memory capacity on a Z600 that features six DIMM slots with 8 GB DIMMs. In terms of hard drives, you can go as low as 160 GB or all the way up to multiple 2 TB hard drives for a system capacity of 6 TB. We also offer optical drive options, including a Blu- ray and a slot-load DVD-RW drive that fits nicely with the Z600’s industrial design. We design and deliver a full range of both NVIDIA and AMD graphics, from 2professional 2Dcards that support as many as eight displays driven by one workstation to high-end 3D graphics cards.
CWB: I hear from many film editors that they think reliable systems tend to be Mac based systems, but from my experience, the Z600 with Windows 7 Professional is a very reliable system. What steps does HP take to ensure its systems are solid and reliable?
BL: The HP workstation business has been around for decades, and we are dedicated to the creation of extremely reliable systems, from the mechanical engineering and industrial design to the system architecture and board layouts. All of the components in an HP workstation are professional quality and are thoroughly tested for compatibility and reliability by the by most skilled engineers in the industry. We do everything we possibly can to make sure that customers do not have any issues, and we make sure our workstations are easy to service, so that users can resolve simple issues easily and quickly without any problems.
CWB: As far as editing high definition videos that require both a very large stage and a very fast processor for editing in real time, how does the Z600 perform?
BL: The Z600 is perfect for video editing environments, when equipped with dual six-core processors allowing for 12 processor cores or 24 threads of processing power. This setup allows for real-time editing of high definition video without system lag. As for storage, we support multiple hard drives including choices of 15K SAS and SSDs in the system, so you get maximum system performance and data throughput.
CWB: You mentioned having dual processors in a system several times. Can you give us a little bit more information about dual-processor workstations and how dual processors enable better system performance?
BL: When you double the number of processor cores available, you can really increase user productivity, allowing for high-performance work and complex effects to be completed more quickly. For example, sequences. Items can render in the background while a user is working on a project, increasing productivity by completely reworking typical work flows. By taking advantage of multiple cores, you are able to be more productive, with greater capability to get through a project quicker. More processor cores also allows you to create Creating higher quality effects on projects in less time or also enables higher quality output at the end of the project in the same amount of time. Either way, you are increasing user productivity by spending a little bit more money upfront to invest in that second processor, that increase in productivity allows the small upfront investment to be recouped in a matter of weeks and allows you to reap those productivity benefits over the several year lifecycle of the system.
CWB: What different types of graphics cards are available in the Z600?
BL: We offer a complete range of AMD and NVIDIA graphic cards, from entry professional 2D cards all the way up to high-end 3D cards Professional quality NVIDIA Quadro and AMD FirePro. NVIDIA Q and AMD FP deliver the necessary graphical performance to power even the most intensive tasks.
CWB: You mentioned that there are even Blu- ray disc burners available for this system. Can filmmakers use the Z 600 for 3-D work and then render it to a Blue-ray disc?
BL: Absolutely!! With the Z600, you have plenty of power to do that. And not only can you do it, but you can do tasks in parallel, like burn your project to a Blu- ray disc while continuing to work on another project.
CWB: I used a Z400 system for almost two years. One of the concerns that people have is how quickly a system will be outdated, leading to problems using new software. How long can someone that invests money in a Z600 should expect to use the system without encountering problems or compatibility issues?
BL: One of the great things about the Z600 is that it is future upgradeable. By buying a system with the capability to expand to two processors, you can start with one processor and as your workload grows over time, you can add the second processor and upgrade and the memory all the way up to 48 GB. If you are working in 3-D high definition, you can do more with greater system memory and expand to multiple internal and external hard drives. The expandability of the Z600enables you to future proof your investment so that it continues to grow with you, running new applications and software features for a three- to five-year lifecycle.- The return on investment and value from going with a dual-processor HP workstation is great. With the Z600, you can update your work flows to take advantage of dual processors to run multiple applications at the same time for high levels of productivity.