HP Z820 Workstation

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5. 850W or 1125W Power Supply

6. 16 DIMM Slots

7. 3 External 5.25" Bays

8. 4 Internal 3.5” Bays

9. 2 Intel Xeon Processors E5-2600 family

10. Rear I/O: Rear Power Button & LED, PS/2 Ports, 1 1394a, 4 USB 2.0, 2 USB 3.0, 2 RJ-45 to Integrated GbE, 1 Audio Line In, 1 Audio Line Out, 1 Microphone, 1 Serial Port

11. 3 PCIe x16 Gen3 Slots (3rd Slot available ONLY when 2nd CPU is installed)

12. 1 PCIe x16 (x8) Gen3 (Available ONLY when 2nd CPU is installed), 1 PCIe x8(x4) Gen3, 1 PCIe x8(x4) Gen2, 1 PCI Slot

13. 6 Internal USB 2.0 Ports

14. 6 SATA, 8 SAS Ports

Resources (on hp.com)

Recommended "Smartbuys" (Nov 2013)

Note: HP "Smartbuys" (HP's "pre-configured" or "quick-ship" models) are often available at a discount vs. CTO ("Configure To Order") models, and ship faster. Smartbuy models and configurations do change time to time: check to see if it's available from HP before making a purchase decision.

Slot Configuration

(see page 33 of HP Maintenance and Service Guide, for additional information)

1. 3 External 5.25" Bays  

2. Power Button

3. HDD Activity LED

4. Front I/O: 1 USB 2.0, 2 USB 3.0, 1 Headphone, 1 Microphone, 1 1394a

Manuals and Guides

(HP updates documents and their locations regularly: some links may not work.) 

Configuration Notes

HP workstations and SFF drives

Some HP servers (that are actually smaller than an HP Z820) can fit up to 16 (yes, sixteen) SFF drives.

HP Proliant ML370 G5 server with a 16-bay backplane

HP Z820

How many can a Z820 fit? Four in standard LFF (Legacy Form Factor) bays (see "8" in the illustration above) and 4-6 more, two per optical bay using an adapter like this:

System board component descriptions

...that fits in an optical 5.25" bays.

That's a total of ten (eight if there's a DVD drive), while the Z820 has fourteen SAS/SATA ports. You can see where we're going with this.

Why SFF (Small Form Factor) drives? For one, they're the present and immediate future of storage. SSDs are mostly SFF or smaller. SFF drives benefit from less vibration and can be made to higher tolerances. More SFF drives can fit in the same space which means higher speeds when you stripe them, which in turn means you may not need a heavy, bulky, expensive external SAS expander box to house a bunch of drives for those uncompressed 4K workflows.

Enter HP 4-in-1 SFF (2.5in) HDD Carrier (P/N B8K60AA) retailing for $139 and what really is Icy Dock MB994SP-4S. Says so on the label.

This metal device lets you use four SAS or SATA spinning or SSD drives, has two fans and four SAS ports in the back, a single Molex 4-pin power connector. Two of those, and you can have a total of 12 drives in a Z820. The device isn't quite server grade: sub par quality, no hot-swap support. Unlike this unit, HP server backplanes' LEDs can indicate drive fault, and RAID set selection besides activity. This unit's activity lights are tiny, hard to see, and in my experience, don't always work. We've asked HP to come up with server-grade backplanes for the workstations and still hoping it might happen.

Meanwhile, this device is the best option to house a number of SSDs or SFF spinning drives - including 16mm high SAS ones - in a Z820 - or any other system with a spare optical bay and SATA or SAS ports.