HP Z420 upgrade CPU to i9?

Hey guys, 

This is a bit off normal topic but there isn't many places where people discuss HpZ420. 


I work in post production as a trailer editor. My boss is asking if we can upgrade the CPU's to handle 4K. Now Ideally I would suggest just buy new towers, but he wants to explore the option of upgrading these systems.


I would like to toss a i9 chip in there. I assume i'm going to need a new motherboard for that to work. Is there any reason I couldn't upgrade this tower to a newer chip with a new MB? We have 10 stations here with the specs below.


HP Z420

Windows 10

500 GB SSD

1TB Spin HD

32GB Ram

Intel E5-1650 V2 CPU

Fibre channel card

Black Magic I/O card



12replies Oldest first
  • Oldest first
  • Newest first
  • Active threads
  • Popular
  • The cpu you've listed should be more than adequate to handle 4k. A higher spec graphics card will improve matters. More RAM will help, along with a NVMe m.2 card running Windows off that, but you're going to find it extremely difficult (if at all) to find a different brand of motherboard to fit in the HP proprietary chassis, and for the price of them it would hardly be worthwhile.

    • Steve Temperley  would getting a new tower case make getting around the proprietary chassis issue? 

    • iamsnowbear if you're going to go ahead and buy non HP motherboards then you're probably better suited going for new custom built tower systems altogether, salvaging any usable hard drives and i/o cards that would swap over into any new chassis.

      Regarding Premiere Pro, it has made much more use of the graphics card in recent years, the Mercury Playback Acceleration has become a must for smooth playback and render times and relies on a good graphics card. Premiere makes use of the graphics card much more than After Effects does at present time. What graphics card/s do the machines have ?

      There is more information on this in the HP Z800 section of the forum but, If as I stated above, you put a couple of NVMe m.2 cards in such as the Samsung 950 Pro (which contains legacy code to allow it to be recognized as bootable) via adaptor cards, using one for the operating system and another for the large footage files, you will notice much faster read and write times. I've done it with my system on a HP Z800. I have put in two Samsung 950 Pro 512 GB NVMe m.2 cards and it is now much faster. I'm not sure about the compatability with the Z420, it could be easier as they're newer, but for my Z800 in order to install a bootable version of Windows 10 I had to use Clover, here (https://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?depth=1&hl=en&prev=search&rurl=translate.google.com&sl=de&sp=nmt4&u=https://www.xgadget.de/anleitung/clover-nvme-ssd-booten-von-alten-mainboards/&xid=17259,15700021,15700043,15700186,15700190,15700253,15700256,15700259&usg=ALkJrhiRVoACDPv1c-s7XDKwWFfnS0KPIA) and here ( https://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?depth=1&hl=en&prev=search&rurl=translate.google.com&sl=de&sp=nmt4&u=https://www.win-raid.com/t871f50-Guide-How-to-get-full-NVMe-support-for-all-Systems-with-an-AMI-UEFI-BIOS.html&xid=17259,15700021,15700043,15700186,15700190,15700253,15700256,15700259&usg=ALkJrhidJ2rZtaXrNLg83GeV1mj9i3TPyw)

      With faster NVMe drives and more powerful graphics cards and increased RAM you should notice a big performance boost.

      However it could be that the Z420s are just too small for what you need and you might want to look at dual cpu models such as the HP Z840 (which I have my eyes on, as they're coming down in price quite rapidly on ebay.) they allow for much more expandability. The Z820s are even cheaper at the moment, you can pick one up for about £500 (British pounds) .


      Let me know what you decide to do as I'm looking to upgrade my own and I'd be interested in the route you decide to take.

    • iamsnowbear also, depending on which drive you are using as cache, the 1TB physical spinning hard drive will probably be responsible for causing a bottleneck in your system, if that is indeed where the files are going. Replacing it with a NVMe  m.2 ssd, as I outlined above, would speed things up a lot. 

    • Steve Temperley  Hey Steve! Thanks for the response. Nvidia Quadro K2000 is the video cards these edit stations have currently. When we opened this company these were great for us back in 2014 but they have definitely been sluggish with the new and larger projects we have.


      I was able to convince my boss that ultimately it was best to make a new system build. I also mentioned while we will upgrade one station at a time we can take the old DDR3 ram and toss it in some of the other older stations to give them a lil boost in the meantime. 


      I've made a build list of the items I will be sourcing for the build. I think this should be good for now. Maybe bump the ram up to 64GB later.


      My boss wanted to keep it around $1000-$1200 per station. The two 970 Evo's kinda bumped my initial build price up a bit but it's gonna be worth it from the benchmark tests I have done today. We keep the cache and video preview files stored locally but the server holds the files so this NVMe suggestion is getting me very excited!


      The only things ill be keeping from the old stations will be

      - Black Magic Decklink Studio 4k I/O card

      - Fibre Channel Card for server link

      - Possibly the power supply if it works for this build. 

      - Maybe the optical drive but we have them all disabled along with USB ports due to MPAA film security rules so they are useless.


      I'll let you know how it goes once I've got it up and running.

    • iamsnowbear glad to help. That looks like a solid parts list and at a very reasonable cost. The Radeon RX 580 is a great deal.  I'd  be tempted to put in a GTX 1080 ti, the Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti is probably overkill for what you need but both would push up your total considerably. I'd also put a more powerful power supply in to future proof it, and give yourself some breathing space for expansion. Other than that it should be great and a lot faster than your current system.

    • Steve Temperley Thanks so much for the help Steve! I'll swap out that power supply and look at some large cases. I'll follow up once I have built it and let you know how it goes. Cheers. 🍻

      Like 1
  • iamsnowbear Will you be editing video on the system?  If so, what software do you plan to use?  Some 4K editing software is GPU intensive and some is CPU intensive.  You could customize your system based off of the software requirements for the best results.

  • I will be using Adobe Premiere for the editing, the preview and cache files will be stored locally but all of the media is on the server and comes through the fibre channel card. When cutting trailer we usually get a 1080p quicktime of the films, but its when we get sent all the dailies from the film and especially if any footage is in 4k it just doesn't run well and it's difficult to scrub the footage quickly. 


    I believe the way premiere runs, upgrading the graphics card won't help as much since as Jbig mentioned I believe its more intensive on the CPU which is why I was curious about upgrading that. 


    This was the system I initially suggested to my boss. https://www.pugetsystems.com/nav/genesis/I/customize.php


    Thanks for the comments guys!

    • iamsnowbear If you want to buy new, you can easily build a better version of that system for about $3k.  Check out this build:  https://www.greenpcgamers.com/technology/greenpcgamers-com-custom-gaming-computer/

      It is adverised as a gaming pc, but with a little more ram installed, it's an excellent video editing pc as well.  


      If it were me, I'd get an RTX 2070 or better and upgrade the GPU on the Z420 first.  If that doesn't give you enough horsepower, you can easily transfer the RTX 2070 to a new system.

      Like 1
  • Before you completely ditch the z420, I would definitely give them a showering of upgrades since the upgrades would be cheap at this point.  I would add in an additional nvme ssd via a pci card, upgrade the video card to something much, much faster (you can easily get one that is 10x faster), upgrade the cpu to the e5-2687w v2 for 2 more cores and a little boost on the single thread performance:


    and finally, upgrade ram to either 128gb or 256gb to be able to do more right in memory.  I think with these upgrades, those z420s will seem like brand new.  And the good thing is that aside from the cpu and memory, all the other upgrades can move to new systems when that ultimately is needed.

Like Follow
  • 2 yrs agoLast active
  • 12Replies
  • 253Views
  • 4 Following