Review: InterPro IPW-Ci7
It’s InterPro’s turn to take you to the Sandy Bridge as James Morris assesses its workstation with the latest Intel processor
Price: £1,399 / $2,269 / €1,659 | Manufacturer: InterPro
- 3.4GHz Intel Core i7 2600K CPU, clocked to 4.4GHz
- 8GB PC3-10600 DDR3 SDRAM
- 1GB NVIDIA Quadro 2000 graphics
- 60GB OCZ Vertex 2 SATA SSD
- 1TB Western Digital Caviar Black SATA hard disk
- Sony Optiarc AD-7260S 24x DVD rewriter
- Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
- Ports: 2 x USB 3, 14 x USB 2, 1 x LAN, 2 x eSATA, 2 x FireWire, microphone input, 7.1 surround audio output, optical audio input and output
- Warranty: Three years return to base
Intel’s latest Sandy Bridge processor generation has already impressed us in the shape of Scan’s 3XS 2600K (Reviews, issue 140).
Despite being currently only available in a quad-core confi guration, it packs a lot of power for the money, and readily runs above its standard clock speed.
With the IPW-Ci7 Sandy Bridge, InterPro is also taking full advantage of the potential.
This IPW-Ci7 confi guration uses the top Core i7 2600K version of the new processor range. By default, this quadcore CPU runs nominally at 3.4GHz, but incorporates Intel’s Turbo Boost so can increase to 3.8GHz when only a single core is in use, and to 3.5GHz when all four cores are active.
However, InterPro has permanently clocked the CPU at 4.4GHz, guaranteed for the three years of the return-to-base warranty.
Intel’s Hyper-Threading technology is also included, so each physical core is presented as two virtual ones, meaning the processor can run eight threads simultaneously.
It’s not as powerful as eight real cores, but still gives a tasty performance boost for multi-threaded tasks – particularly 3D rendering.
The processor is allied with 8GB of PC3-10,600 DDR3 SDRAM supplied as two 4GB modules, so two DIMM slots are left free for upgrades.
Unlike previous top-end Intel Core i7 processors, the 2600K’s memory bus is only dual- rather than triple-channel.
The most significant new feature of Sandy Bridge – the graphics accelerator built into the processor core itself – won’t be that important to a workstation user.
Instead, InterPro supplies the increasingly ubiquitous NVIDIA Quadro 2000, the mid-range card from the company’s Fermi range.
This sports 192 CUDA processing units, the same as the previous-generation high-end Quadro FX 4800.
A healthy 1GB of GDDR5 is included, but as the memory path is 128-bit, the bandwidth available is only slightly more than the earlier mid-range Quadro FX 1800. It has twin DisplayPort and single DVI-I connections.
Storage comes in the now-standard arrangement of an ultra-fast disk for operating system and apps and a larger standard disk for data.
Respectively, these are a 60GB OCZ Vertex 2 solid-state disk and 1TB Western Digital Caviar Black 7,200rpm hard disk.
The former is very fast, but is on the small side, while the latter should provide sufficient capacity for most 3D content creation tasks.
There’s no memory card reader included, so the Sony Optiarc 24x DVD rewriter is the only removable storage supplied.
With the Sandy Bridge processor and NVIDIA Fermi graphics, this IPW-Ci7 promises dependable abilities for
rendering and modelling.
The rendering score of 8.34 in Cinebench R11.5 is ahead of most other quad-core single-processor systems we’ve seen, except Scan’s 3XS 2600K, which uses the same processor clocked permanently to 4.5GHz.
The result is not far behind six-core workstations such as Scan’s 3XS 3D (Reviews, issue 134) or Armari’s F4e-KO (Reviews, issue 136), either.
The Cinebench OpenGL score of 44.63 is also impressive, although not to quite such a degree.
Although the processor’s current quadcore limitation means it doesn’t quite trounce older six-core Intel CPUs, this IPW-Ci7 still provides more bang for your buck.
The slightly better performance of Scan’s frequency-enhanced 3XS 2600K make it a mildly better deal over all, but this is still an extremely good-value entrylevel workstation.
• Fast rendering for the money
• Commendable OpenGL performance
• Keen price
• Quad-core only
• Small boot disk
• No memory card reader
InterPro’s Sandy Bridge IPW-Ci7 shows again the power of Intel’s latest CPU range
on Friday, July 15th, 2011 at 12:30 pm under Hardware, Reviews.
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Tags: review, workstation