HP Z420 to Ryzen --Is it reasonable? [Solved]

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HP Z420 to Ryzen --Is it reasonable? [Solved]

Postby larry77 » 2019-06-22 12:48

Dear All,
I am the owner of an HP Z420 workstation with 6 cores

https://www8.hp.com/ca/en/campaigns/wor ... /z420.html

and I am not in a terrible rush to get something else, but at some point I would like to upgrade it (I am mostly into numerical work and data processing--no videogames or heavy graphical tasks).
I heard wonders about the new Ryzen cpus and I wonder (as someone who knows really little about hardware) if it makes any sense to think about replacing the motherboard and using a ryzen cpu.
Any thoughts on that? Of course this has to make economic sense (cheaper than buying a new workstation) and the scenario to avoid is to end up with a motherboard I cannot fit into my box.
Any piece of advice is welcome!
Last edited by larry77 on 2019-07-07 09:32, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: HP Z420 to Ryzen --Is it reasonable?

Postby ruwolf » 2019-06-30 05:23

Which kind of numerical work? Something with arbitrary precision like GMP/MPFR/MPFI? :wink:
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Re: HP Z420 to Ryzen --Is it reasonable?

Postby larry77 » 2019-06-30 09:23

I mostly use codes in R and Python (which rely on Tidyverse [R] and SciPy [Python]) for data manipulation and basic analysis.
On top of that data, I run some machine learning algorithms (random forests, boosted trees, etc...).
I am not into GPU computing (at least so far, the graphic card on my machine is barely enough to watch movies).
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Re: HP Z420 to Ryzen --Is it reasonable?

Postby ruwolf » 2019-06-30 12:07

You can see basic comparisons e.g. in https://CPU.UserBenchmark.com/Compare/I ... 8501vs3932 (choose exact CPU models, I have sent only example).
They are based on benchmarks of real users.
But I cannot assess, how it is related to your needs (R, NumPy & machine learning).

For NumPy, I have found this https://OpenBenchmarking.org/showdown/pts/numpy, but this is probably not tested for such wide set of CPU models...
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Re: HP Z420 to Ryzen --Is it reasonable?

Postby larry77 » 2019-06-30 13:01

Thanks!
But to a large extent the question is: how do I know that a certain combination of motherboard and cpu can be installed in my box to replace my current setup?
Anything I should keep an eye on?
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Re: HP Z420 to Ryzen --Is it reasonable?

Postby andre@home » 2019-06-30 13:45

The 420 can hold any ATX board according the specs:
https://support.hp.com/ie-en/product/hp ... /c03919165

So you have to decide for an AMD or Intel CPU and then focus on the motherboard which give enough features for you.

But: http://www.cpu-world.com/Compare/35/AMD ... 50_v2.html
Your CPU seems still quite OK compared to a Ryzen 7... so why change?
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Re: HP Z420 to Ryzen --Is it reasonable?

Postby larry77 » 2019-06-30 16:34

andre@home wrote:The 420 can hold any ATX board according the specs:
https://support.hp.com/ie-en/product/hp ... /c03919165


Thanks! This is an important bit of info for me. Does it matter that your link point to HP Z230? I have a Z420, but perhaps the difference is not essential (I am definitely on the number crunching side, but I am not so hardware knowledgeable).


So you have to decide for an AMD or Intel CPU and then focus on the motherboard which give enough features for you.
But: http://www.cpu-world.com/Compare/35/AMD ... 50_v2.html
Your CPU seems still quite OK compared to a Ryzen 7... so why change?


Well, I bought my box in 2012 and I thought it would be a fossil by now. Perhaps the evolution of the workstations has slowed down a bit (physical limits and people buying smartphones and tablets these days?).
Cheers
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Re: HP Z420 to Ryzen --Is it reasonable?

Postby Head_on_a_Stick » 2019-06-30 16:48

andre@home wrote:But: http://www.cpu-world.com/Compare/35/AMD ... 50_v2.html
Your CPU seems still quite OK compared to a Ryzen 7... so why change?

That comparison is with a first generation Ryzen 7, the third generation version (with a 7nm die) has just been released and is significantly faster but support under Debian buster may be patchy.

larry77 wrote:the evolution of the workstations has slowed down a bit

^ This. Moore's Law was broken some time ago.
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Re: HP Z420 to Ryzen --Is it reasonable?

Postby andre@home » 2019-06-30 21:20

In the past my systems were always lacking power to work in a easy, smooth multi-tasking way, the last ~10 years I hardly care about what's running, hardly any problem.
In the past I often bought a new pc or a laptop, now the need is much lower to do so, my i7 7700K / 16 GB DDR4 RAM system still feels extremely good.
For my laptop i never buy since ~2010 new ones, but pick my chances to get a decent business notebook that costs new say ~1400 euros and which i can buy after a few years for ~300 euros.
My wife still had her 2010 Dell E4310 / 4GB DDR3 (max 8GB) , bought in 2012 for a fraction of the new price . It has an Intel_Core_i5_Mobile_i5-540M_(PGA988 and compare it with an i7-7560U....
The latter can be combined with DDR4 RAM.
http://www.cpu-world.com/Compare/304/Intel_Core_i5_Mobile_i5-540M_(PGA988)_vs_Intel_Core_i7_Mobile_i7-7560U.html

Of course the DDR4 and more than 8 GB will make such laptops faster, certainly when you really need it, but it is amazing how the E4310 still performs. I've asked my wife she feels still very comfortable with it (of course I've put an SSD in it).

Question: Can you not organize a benchmark for your self. So line up your most important jobs, measure time/resources needed for what you planned to do.
Then try to find someone with a new system a try to get the same done on that system....
Now you can decide: Is it the money worth ... yes... BUY it... NO.. wait a few years...
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Re: HP Z420 to Ryzen --Is it reasonable?

Postby larry77 » 2019-07-07 09:27

I will follow your advice and do some tests.
A very valid point raised is that the latest and the greatest Ryzen may not have (yet) the best support in Debian.
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