HP Z Workstations Upgrade and 1TB Z Turbo Drive G2…

Today Hp increases expandability with upgrades to the Z Workstation line of Products including the HP Z840, Z640, and the Z440 with newer faster memory, cpu’s(Xeons), latest AMD, Nvidia, and more including the latest HP Z Turbo Drive Generation 2 with capacity now 1TB just ahead of NABShow coming up next month in Las Vegas(the largest Media and Entertainment expo in the world). This is very welcome as the 1st Gen were certainly faster(faster than a typical SSD attached to the port opposed to the bus via the pci-e card slot)but the smaller capacity fills up fast. The latest Gen 2 Z Turbo drive is 4 times the read performance of traditional SSD/s at comparable prices. I’ve been running the HP Z Turbo Drives since Gen 1. I’m also running both Gen 2 as well as the HP Z Turbo Quad Drive which is also uber fast with speeds up to 16x performance of Sata SSD’s(more on that in another post to follow).

 

What’s really fantastic about this is the fact that compared to say Gen 1 Turbo drive to get this capacity you’d need to drop at least two 512GB Gen 1 Z Turbo Drives(taking up two slots which could be used for I/O, single slot GPU for GUI, Raid Card etc-if your like me my machines is built up from top to bottom with every slot being occupied). On top of it to get the best performance out of the Gen 1 you might consider creating a Raid 0 software Raid as also your increasing the capacity. I did just this when I got the Gen 1 Z Turbo Drives. You can check out how to do this in Windows guide here which also shows you how I set it up for working with some of the Adobe Creative Cloud Products.

Link to the Z Workstations click Here:

Link to the Z Turbo Drives click Here:

Jeff Wood VP of Workstation/Thin Clients breaks down 1 TB Z Turbo & Quad Pro Drive @NABShow:

From the News Release below:

HP Upgrades Its Most Powerful, Expandable Line of Desktop Workstations
Z Turbo Drive Storage enhanced to be better and larger than ever

 
PALO ALTO, Calif., March 31, 2015 — HP Inc. today upgraded its industry-leading HP Z Workstations, combining increased system expandability, higher-speed memory and multicore updates to power the most demanding workflows. It also announced the addition of the HP Z Turbo Drive G2 1 TB PCIe SSD, HP’s fastest Z Turbo Drive solution to-date1.
 
The refreshed HP Z840, Z640 and Z440 desktop workstations feature next generation multi-core Intel® Xeon® processors,2, 3 the latest graphics options from NVIDIA® Quadro® and AMD FirePro™, as well as a choice of Microsoft® or Linux®  operating systems. With the new Intel® Xeon® E5-2600 v4 series processors, HP Z Workstations will support faster memory speeds than the previous generation processors, up to 2400MHz and can support up to 44 physical cores per-workstation4.
 
Designed to super charge workflow productivity and creativity, the new HP Z Turbo Drive with 1 TB PCIe SSD storage optimizes HP Workstation workflows, delivering up to four times the read performance of traditional SSDs at a cost that’s remarkably similar. The second generation HP Z Turbo Drive attains ultra-fast I/O response to process large data sets. HP Z840, Z640 and Z440 desktop workstations can be easily expanded by integrating the high-performance HP Z Turbo Drive G2 1TB PCIe with high capacity SATA HDDs and SSDs5.
 
“The addition of our latest Z Workstations and Z Turbo Drive demonstrate HP Inc.’s unwavering commitment to professionals who consistently push the limits of technology to bring the world and the universe life changing innovations,” said Jeff Wood, vice president, Worldwide Product Management, Workstations and Thin Clients, HP Inc. “As the requirement of big data intensifies, the HP Z portfolio will continue providing increased reliability, performance and innovation for customers working on everything from mission critical space endeavors to energy exploration and blockbuster films.”
 
HP Z Workstations are built to address the constraints of compute-intensive industries, including media and entertainment, graphic design, CAD, architecture, photography, manufacturing, finance, healthcare, scientific imaging, and oil and gas exploration. Adding to the market share–leading HP Z Workstation portfolio, the new HP Z Desktop Workstations offer availability of tested workstation applications from Adobe®, Autodesk, Avid, Dassault, ESRI, SolidWorks, Siemens and many others.
 
“HP Z Workstations deliver the power and speed needed for modeling, simulations, big data analysis, computer-aided design, and visualization applications, all of which translate to real solutions for a better world,” said Kristina Ropella, dean, Opus College of Engineering at Marquette University.
 
With continued focus on performance, innovation and reliability, the three new HP Z Workstations offer a tool-less chassis, integrated handles and visually cable-less design to deliver radical ease of service, system wide efficiency and superb expandability. The new workstations offer 12.5 percent faster DDR4 memory compared to the prior generation for improved application performance and BIOS enhancements to enable higher system performance.
 
“You might have to be an IT geek to appreciate it, but the HP Z Workstation is a thing of art,” says Duane Powell, Chief Technology Officer and co-owner of Blur Studio. “It’s so well-designed. The inside is like a sports car and the outside, beautifully, is a simple box with handles so you can rack it.”
 
The enhanced line of HP Z Workstations embrace Thunderbolt™26 for amazingly fast throughput of large files, HP Z Turbo Drive to help eliminate storage bottlenecks, HP Performance Advisor7 for system monitoring and HP Remote Graphics Software8 for remote collaboration of graphics-rich applications.
 

Price and availability

·   The HP Z440, Z640 and Z840 Workstations are expected to be available worldwide beginning in April. Estimated U.S. pricing starts at $1,299, $1,759 and $2,399, respectively.

·   The HP Z Turbo Drive G2 1TB PCIe is expected to be available worldwide in April. Estimated U.S. pricing starts at $799.

 

About HP Inc.

HP Inc. creates technology that makes life better for everyone, everywhere. Through our portfolio of printers, PCs, mobile devices, solutions, and services, we engineer experiences that amaze. More information about HP (NYSE: HPQ) is available at http://www.hp.com.

 

Intel, Intel Core, Xeon and Thunderbolt are trademarks of Intel Corporation in the U.S. and other countries. Microsoft and Windows are U.S. registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation. AMD and FirePro are trademarks of Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. NVIDIA and NVIDIA QUADRO are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of NVIDIA Corporation in the U.S. and other countries.

(1)Sequential performance compared to previous generations
(2)When ordering two processors, the second processor must be the same as the first. HP Z640 and Z840 processor kits include the processor and heat sink. Memory DIMMs must be purchased separately.
(3)Multicore is designed to improve performance of certain software products. Not all customers or software applications will necessarily benefit from use of this technology. Performance and clock frequency will vary depending on application workload and your hardware and software configurations. Intel’s numbering is not a measurement of higher performance..

(4)Dual processor configurations.
(5)Each sold separately.
(6)Thunderbolt is an optional or add-on feature on HP desktop workstations. Thunderbolt cable and Thunderbolt device (sold separately) must be compatible with Windows. To determine whether a device is Thunderbolt Certified for Windows, see https://thunderbolttechnology.net/products.
(7)HP Performance Advisor requires Windows and internet access.
(8)HP RGS requires a Windows or Linux operating system and Internet access.

Dave Helmly Adobe Premiere Pro & Apps NABShow 2015 Demo…

I’m very excited to once again get the opportunity to shoot with Dave Helmly..! If you are not familiar with Dave’s Adobe Blog I highly recommend you check it out…full of useful tips, tricks, reviews and just the latest buzz going on at Adobe for the Media and Entertainment Industry.

In the video Dave will highlight some of the most exciting additions to Premiere Pro CC. Big plus is having better color tools right inside of Premiere Pro. Think Photoshop or even Lightroom looks like it was integrated in the new Creative Panel. The editor is becoming more are more than just an editor. Clients want to see that Log file or ruff cut with a color grade or correction via a Look or LUT right away. With the new tools being added to Premiere the editor will be able to get the client a look very fast.

Also very cool is the new Adobe Hue CC(previously called ‘Project Candy’). It’s a super easy to use but amazing functional addition to the Cloud. Now you can be anywhere and take a sample or samples from a photo or video clip and sample on the fly colors in the image and it will build a Look or LUT that can be used in Premiere Pro CC.

There is also another awesome feature called Morph Cut which Dave has his son Skip being interviewed and has a pause and takes a breath. Well it’s not always easy to cut out such clip since you typically want the audio but need to cut out the pause or breath etc. Dave shows you how in seconds he is able to Morph the clips together rebuilding frames so the cut is seemless and the audio is retained to save the shot. This is sure to help you fix a lot of potentially unusable clips like in the interview with skip.

Finally there’s some great Media Encoder additions for with one I’ll mention called Time Tuner. What a great addition to Morph Cut to be able to not just clean up problem shots with new frames retaining the audio but taking a step further. The client says of shoot we added a commercial we need to squeeze the clip by 30 seconds or even a minute. Well with the new Time Tuner you can actually create a new duration length by taking areas of your footage with not much movement for example and it will do something kinda like removing frames that are not needed to rebuild the duration shortened to the length you need. It’s definitely one I’ll have to try just to see how this could help me save my cut in the future without having to go back and edit the clip. How cool is that..!

So check out the video below for a better walk through some of the great new features coming to the Cloud..!

Dave Helmly Premiere Pro & Apps NABShow Demo 2015… from Ryanb. Aka: Filmguy on Vimeo.

HP Z Turbo Drive and Setup for Adobe Applications..!

With the extensive line of HP Z products one that might go overlooked is their Z Turbo Drive. Think a ioFusion card but in a small form factor and at a lower buy in price. First off the cards are not going to outperform the latest ioFusion drives but I think you’ll find them to be very fast, priced in the market of similar pci-e SSD cards and most of all stamped with the trusted HP seal of approval. Why does this matter. Well mainly because their are all kinds of these pci-e SSD cards out on the market now. Not all are up to the quality as say the HP Z Turbo Drive. HP partnered with Samsung to bring you an affordable alternative to the above mentioned Fusion cards but not cutting on performance as you’ll see in some screen grabs below..!

I myself have tried another similar card out there called the ASUS RaidR. I was very excited to try this card out and for the money is an option you can certainly look at and give it a try. I felt like for the money it wasn’t bad but my benchmarks didn’t quit live up to the advertised speeds. That being said I like the HP Z Turbo Drive even better. Both are easy to setup. Basically plug and play. All you have to do initialize it like you would any other spinning hard drive or SSD. Initilize, Format, choose a block size or go with default and you are ready to start benefitting from having a super fast(approx double the speed of a typically SSD)and not double the price of an uber fast traditional SSD. Now that sounds like a winner doesn’t it..?! 🙂

How I’m using it is mainly for my scratch, media and cache files. Why is this important you might ask? Well just like having a dedicated raid to store and playback all your media files like audio and video clips with the fastest access you can afford(see here my DIY 4K RAid)you want your scratch, media and cache files to load equally as fast without any lag. Even the fastest SSDs on the market won’t be as fast as the HP Z Turbo drive or similar(but again not all are created equal so do your own test and make sure if you opt for an alternative they have a good return policy-I’ve talked to others who tried other brands out there and were not too impressed with the results like the Asus RaidR is wasn’t as fast as advertised at least in my case).

So for me the HP Z Turbo dive has been a nice addition to my workflow. I’ve found that files load extremely fast, playback seems improved(more r3d layers playing back in some cases at FULL Resolution with multiple layers), and also great for After Effects in place of a fast traditional SSD. You can expect even better results.

I’m going to leave you with the basic setup I’m running. Note that I’m mainly focusing on Premiere Pro and After Effects but any program that utilizes a scratch, media and cache files etc will most certainly benefit also. Photoshop and Speedgrade come to mind but just scratch the surface of apps that do.

Setup:

First off you’ll need to initialize the Drive or Drives(Note if you plan on setting up dual HP Z Turbo Drives as one you need to initialize them as Dynamic-it should prompt you to do so but in case you are not sure what to do just follow what windows is asking for). In my case I have two HP Z Turbo Drives I’m Raiding them in Raid 0. This is the maxamine speed configuration you can do with two Z Turbo Drives(and I’m running the smaller capacity cards the larger ones and future ones that come to market will give you even faster results). Below is a sreen grab of Windows Disk Management. If windows doesn’t automatically call for you to initialize the Z Turbo Drive you can right click in Windows 7 on the Computer icon and click Manage. This will pop up the Computer Management window. You’ll then need to click on Disk Management and most likely your drives will pop up asking to be initialized. At this point you have multiple options. If your goal like mine is to run dual in the fastest config you’ll click on the first or top drive and begin going through the Software Raid process. You’ll use striping and it will ask you to select the second Turbo Z Drive. It’s pretty easy and you’ll just click through the settings and it should work just fine. Where you can experiment is with the block size or just use the default which I believe is 4K block size in Windows 7. Once the drive is in a Raid 0 you should see a Aqua colored bar or green colored bar over two drives. These should be your HP Z Turbo drives(note they share the same name also).

 Note: Disk 2 and Disk 3 are my HP Z Turbo Drives in above pic showing the Raid 0 config.

Now you can setup them as your scratch, media and cache drive. It’s relatively simple to do but I’ll leave screen grabs as examples. There are a lot of articles out there on optimizing Adobe CC and Premiere Pro, After Effects etc but the images below will help you see exactly how I have mine setup.

Below is the Setup for Premiere Pro CC:

 In Premiere Pro the areas to direct Scratch, Media and Cache are showed in the below pics.

In Windows 7, Premiere Pro CC after opening any project go to:
File>Project Settings>Scratch Disks(which will take you to pop up window in below pic):

Note: Above Scratch Folder on S: is the HP Z Turbo Drive. Everything is directed to:
S:My_Premiere_Project (you can name this anything you like and that goes for the Media Cache Folder as well).

Next let’s setup your Media Folders:

Again in Windows 7 Premiere Pro CC click on Edit>Preferences>Media(will take you to pic below):

Note: Above images shows all Folders are directed to ‘S’: Adobe_Cache_Folder as well as click on Write XMP ID to Files on Import(you will do this in After Effects as well). At this time you can clean the Media Cache Database. I recommend you just start fresh with the new HP Z Turbo Drive. It will all rebuild and this way if there are any issues in the project with cache this may help resolve them.

Now you should be benefiting from having an uber fast HP Z Turbo Drive as you Scratch, Media and Cache.

Below is the setup for After Effects:

First launch a previous AE project or if the pop up window on launch comes up you can just hit close.

In Windows 7 After Effects CC navigate to the Edit>Preferences>Media and Disk Cache. You should then see the below pop up window launch.

Note: Above image shows all check marks checked including ‘Write XMP IDs to Files on Import(like you did in Premiere Pro CC)and all Folders are directed to the ‘S’:Adobe_Cache_Folder. At this time you can Clean Database & Cache.

That’s the basics of the Setup..! Now you can get back to business as usual. I hope this quick guide helps you setup your new HP Z Turbo Drive. I personally really couldn’t find any good information on the best setup and I know a lot of people run CC so I figured I’d share what I’m doing.

Below I’ll share some screen grabs of some quick AJA System Test I took while setting up the HP Z Turbo Drives…enjoy..!

First HP Z Turbo Drive:

Note in above pic is the Speed test showing what you can expect running a single HP Z Turbo Drive!

Second HP Z Turbo Drive:

Note in above pic similar Speed results on the second HP Z Turbo Drive.

Dual HP Z Turbo Drives:

Note in above pics Speed test show a very fast Turbo Drive running in Raid 0(Striped)in Windows 7.