Hardware review: Wired2Fire Wired2-3D Pro
There’s a new Intel processor generation out, says James Morris, but the previous model’s six cores give it some advantages
- 3.2GHz Intel Core i7 3930K processor running at 4.6GHz
- 16GB PC3-1866 DDR3 RAM
- Nvidia Quadro 2000 graphics with 1GB GDDR5 memory
- 120GB Corsair Force Series 3 GT solid-state disk
- 1TB Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 hard disk
- Gigabit Ethernet networking
- Windows 7 64-bit
- 2 years RTB warranty
In its first release, Intel’s Sandy Bridge processor generation maxed out at four cores; even the workstation version only got to eight cores a few months ago with the Xeon E5.
But there have been six-core desktop Sandy Bridge processors for about six months, and they make great foundations for a workstation, as we’ve seen from InterPro and Scan.
Now we see a contender from Wired2Fire, the Wired2‑3D Pro, and it’s even more competitively priced.
As with our previous samples, Wired2Fire has aimed one rung lower than the top of the six-core Intel Sandy Bridge range, the Extreme version.
The Core i7 3930K runs at a nominal 3.2GHz, but comes with the usual extra features found in Intel’s premium CPUs.
Hyper-Threading divides each physical core into two virtual ones. The processor also supports Intel Turbo Boost, which bumps up individual cores to as much as 3.8GHz when required.
However, Wired2Fire has taken advantage of the Sandy Bridge CPU’s high tolerance and permanently clocked the processor to 4.6GHz.
MEMORY AND GRAPHICS
The six-core Sandy Bridge also bumps up memory bandwidth by supporting quad-channel memory configurations, so four memory banks can be accessed in parallel.
Wired2Fire has supplied four 1,866MHz 4GB DDR3 modules, for a grand total of 16GB. So the core specification is pretty potent – but the graphics provision is a little more modest.
The Nvidia Quadro 2000 is still a bona fide workstation 3D accelerator, with 192 Cuda cores and a healthy 1GB of GDDR5 memory, but it’s not quite as well matched with the processor as the Quadro 4000 or 5000 would have been, or AMD’s FirePro V7900.
Storage takes the form of a solid‑state disk partnered by a 7,200rpm mechanical disk. The former is a merely adequately sized 120GB Corsair Force Series 3 GT SSD, while the latter is a similarly modest 1TB Seagate Barracuda 7200.12.
There’s a Blu-ray drive, but it’s a reader only and no memory card reader is included. Another area where Wired2Fire has compromised slightly is on the warranty, which is two years return to base only.
THE BENCHMARK RESULTS
Things get off to a good start for performance with the rendering result from Maxon’s Cinebench R11.5. The score of 13.42 is around five per cent better than other systems we’ve tested using the same processor.
The OpenGL result of 44.78 is a little more mediocre, however, thanks to the lower-end graphics.
With SPECviewperf 11, the lightwave-01 result of 72.65 is actually the best we’ve ever seen, showing how much the LightWave viewport relies on CPU performance.
The maya-03 score of 41.77 and SolidWorks sw-02 result of 46.7 are both rather mid‑range, though.
Overall, the Wired2Fire Wired2-3D Pro shows again the power available from Intel’s six-core Sandy Bridge. Although the newer Ivy Bridge provides even more power per pound, the lack of a six-core version so far means that Wired2Fire can still use the Core i7 3930K to produce a workstation with plenty of mid-range power, particularly for rendering, for a much lower-end price than you’d expect.
|Fast rendering performance
||Relatively modest graphics
A frequency-enhanced six-core Intel Core i7 processor powers the Wired2-3D Pro to impressive rendering results for the price
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
James Morris has tracked the rise of every new development, from OpenGL accelerators to multi-processor workstations, over more than 15 years of testing 3D content creation hardware
on Monday, July 23rd, 2012 at 11:06 am under Hardware, Reviews.
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Tags: computer, Hardware, review, Wired2-3D Pro, Wired2Fire, workstation