Workstation review: Boxx Technologies 3DBOXX 4860
Boxx’s 3DBOXX 4860 workstation shows that six cores are better than four when it comes to 3D rendering
£4,985 / $7,785 / €5,691
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- 3.33GHz Intel Core i7-980X CPU, running at 4.15GHz
- 12GB DDR3-1333 SDRAM
- 2.5GB Nvidia Quadro 5000 graphics card
- 256GB Patriot Zephyr solid-state disk
- 2 x 1TB Western Digital RE3 7,200rpm hard disks, configured as 2TB RAID 0
- Pioneer DVR-218 20x DVD rewriter
- Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
- Ports: 8 x USB2, 2 x USB3, 1 x LAN, 2 x 6-pin FireWire, microphone input, 7.1 surround audio output
- Warranty: 3 yrs parts & labour, 1 yr shipping
Since Intel’s Sandy Bridge processors are still only available in a quad-core configuration, here Boxx has supplied a single Core i7-980X from Intel’s previous six-core generation, but permanently clocked it at a guaranteed 4.15GHz.
The 980X is top of the non-Sandy Bridge range of Core i7 processors, so it has a nominal frequency of 3.33GHz, lower than the top Sandy Bridge Core i7. Its six real cores are split into 12 virtual ones via Intel’s Hyper-Threading technology, which doesn’t provide anywhere near the performance of 12 real cores, but can still give a welcome boost.
Again, the increase in the Core i7’s frequency to 4.15GHz isn’t as high as the 4.5GHz that its Sandy Bridge successors are capable of – but it’s still a decent improvement.
The Core i7 is backed by a healthy 12GB of DDR3-1333 memory, which takes full advantage of the triple-channel architecture of this processor and will provide 64-bit Windows 7 plenty of RAM to play with. The memory comes as three 4GB modules, leaving three DIMM slots free for upgrading.
The graphics are highly competent, too. Nvidia’s high-end Quadro 5000 takes care of 3D acceleration, offering 2.5GB of frame buffer and a hefty 352 CUDA processors, nearly twice as many as the Quadro FX 4800 it replaces. The Quadro 5000 supports OpenGL 4.1, DirectX 11 and Shader Model 5. It sports a single Dual-Link DVI plus a pair of DisplayPort connections, so will accommodate a variety of monitor configurations.
Storage is similarly well endowed, with a sizeable 256GB Patriot Zephyr SSD for OS and apps, plus a pair of 1TB Western Digital RE3 7,200rpm hard disks for general data.
The 3DBOXX excelled in all our tests: The rendering score of 10.56 in Cinebench R11.5 is not the absolute fastest we’ve seen, but only dual-processor workstations have been quicker. The OpenGL score of 58.58 is similarly fast but not the quickest we’ve ever recorded, although this test broadly favours ATI FirePro hardware over Nvidia.
Results in SPECviewperf 11 give a clearer idea of graphics grunt. Highlights include a lightwave-01 score of 67.45, one of the fastest we’ve seen, a maya-03 score of 85.31, which no system we’ve previously tested can match, and a sw-02 result of 54.21 – again, the quickest we’ve recorded so far.
- Fast rendering
- Class-leading OpenGL power
- Quick, capacious storage
- Three-year warranty
- No memory card reader
It’s rather expensive for a single-processor workstation, but the specification has no weak areas, so you do get quality components for your money.
on Wednesday, November 9th, 2011 at 4:08 pm under Hardware, Reviews.
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Tags: Boxx, Boxx Technologies, Hardware, workstation