Fury — Or Else: Z by HP’s extreme Z8 Fury workstation launches with an extreme stunt

Z by HP’s new Z8 Fury workstation is extreme. With cutting-edge single socket technology enabling 56 cores in just a single Intel® Xeon® w9 processor, Z8 Fury can speed up compute-heavy tasks across VFX and data science. But it’s more than just advanced processing power that makes the Z8 Fury extraordinary. Adopting a single processor compute architecture enabled a design that purposefully balances the powerful CPU performance with extreme GPU performance.

Why is that important? Because the compute environment has changed dramatically with CPU and GPU compute now equally important.

Specifically, data scientists, creative professionals, product developers, architects and engineers have ever-growing data processing and compute requirements across their high-end workflows coupled with a need to create and iterate faster. With the extreme performance of the Z8 Fury workstation across both processor and graphics, media and entertainment pros can seamlessly build environments and render in real time, and drive render nodes in virtual production studios for in-camera VFX on an LED stage. Data scientists can train models faster and with more iterations or analyze data in real time for more accurate insights.

Because a machine built with both a powerful CPU and four high-end GPUs has not previously been broadly available commercially, pros in both fields, but particularly in media and entertainment/VFX, had to build their own high-power compute workstations. Using the new Intel® Xeon® w9 processor with 56 cores in just a single CPU, space is freed up to enable four double-wide GPUs in the same workstation. Z by HP now delivers this capability out of the box in the Z8 Fury. And, when combined with HP Anyware software and the new HP Anyware Remote System Controller for out-of-band management*, the extreme performance of Z by HP workstations can be accessed and managed remotely, essential in the age of work-from-anywhere.

Launching the Z8 Fury with a high-impact stunt

When it set out to launch the Z8 Fury, Z by HP aimed to do so with a stunt as powerful as the machine itself. Working with ad agency Giant Spoon, they created a scenario that demonstrated the impact of rendering speed that goes from minutes to seconds – by dropping a Z8 Fury workstation out of a plane.

To create the extreme spot, Z by HP, Giant Spoon and production company Unit 9 enlisted the help of Tim Kafka, Head of Creative Operations at The Mill LA, a creative & visual effects studio. Tim and his team created a complex simulation of the landscape around the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in southern California using SideFX Houdini software, which can take advantage of the Z8 Fury’s four GPUs. “A scene like this would normally take five minutes to render,” Kafka says in the spot’s voiceover. “Today we’re giving the new Z8 Fury 30 seconds.”*

Kafka monitors the in-process render safely from the ground as a stunt operator sits at the Z8 Fury, bolted to a desk, kicks off the render of the simulated scene just as it is launched out of a cargo plane, over the actual Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. To ‘save itself,’ the Z8 Fury must process the scene in the time it takes before the workstation hits the ground. Success triggers just-in-time deployments of parachutes that float the Z8 Fury workstation safely to the ground. The spot brings home the difference a drastic improvement in render time can make, creating an authentic connection to the Z8 Fury’s processing power along with a playful hook of suspense, surprise, and delight.

The spot premiered February 7, at the HP Z8 Fury launch event held in the classic Manhattan Car Club. Kafka was on hand, along with Matt Cochran, Director of Information Technology, Hendrick Motorsports and Ian Briggs, Design Director and Co-Founder, Briggs Automotive Company (BAC), who showcased its Mono, the world’s only single-seater, road-legal bespoke racing vehicle, to talk about their experiences with the Z by HP line of workstations.

Kafka noted, “The project in the spot was a real test. I started to work on it before the HP Z8 Fury was fully ready, so I was on my older workstation. When I got my hands on the Z8 Fury, I was blown away by how much faster it was rendering. I was able to add even more detail and still be below the time limit.”

He added, “The spot is an extreme example of what a drastic rendering speed improvement means, but it is a revelation in your day-to-day work. When an artist is lighting a scene or running FX simulations, their workstation’s speed is going to determine how many iterations they can do in a day. And that means they can refine their work faster and move on to the next task sooner. When you look at all the time you could save on the hundreds or thousands of renders you need to complete a project—that’s incredibly significant.”

It’s not just visual effects and rendering that can be impacted. This extreme workstation performance enables new opportunities for professionals working in any industry that demands high compute power—from deep learning and data analysis, to 3D product design and modeling, to AEC simulation and manufacturing. The Z8 Fury delivers the processing power that unlocks the door to more frequent iteration, and ultimately the next level performance needed to stay ahead.

The new HP Z8 Fury workstation is part of the Z by HP line of desktop workstations. Learn more here.

* The project in the stunt was rendered in Houdini Karma, which is GPU accelerated, to take advantage all 4 GPUs in the Z8 Fury.

** Z by HP Remote Access Solution includes Z by HP workstations or HP Commercial devices, HP Anyware software and HP Anyware Remote System Controller. Network access required. HP Anyware software and licensing are available through a 1- or 3-year subscription. Renewal is required after the subscription term. HP Anyware subscriptions are based on the number of concurrent PCoIP connections used (pay for the number of host connections, not the software) with a minimum order quantity of 5. For a limited time, an HP Anyware Professional subscription also includes access and support for ZCentral Remote Boost and ZCentral Connect and is available for purchase through an HP reseller or contact sales at hp.com/Anyware. ZCentral Remote Boost Sender requires Windows 10 and 11, RHEL/CentOS (7 or 8), or UBUNTU 18.04 or 20.04 LTS operating systems. macOS (10.14 or newer) operating system and ThinPro 7.2 are only supported on the receiver side. ZCentral Connect requires Windows (10 or 11) or Windows Server (2016 or 2019) operating system, Microsoft Active Directory and Intel Active Management Technology for select features. For system requirements and to install HP Anyware and Anyware Manager, refer to the Admin Guides at: https://docs.teradici.com/find/product/hp-anyware. Add icicle (HP Anyware Remote System Controller is sold separately. Internet access required. RTM info and link to terms of service.)

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This article is part of the befores & afters VFX Insight series. If you’d like to promote your VFX/animation/CG tech or service, you can find out more about the VFX Insight series here.



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