Almost every workstation these days comes in black, grey or ‘gun metal’. It’s certainly a progression from 1980s beige, but whatever happened to variety?
Answering this call is gaming PC specialist and workstation newcomer YoyoTech who is looking brighten up the desktop with its new M-cube WS. This stylish single CPU workstation, built around Aerocool’s DS (Dead Silence) chassis, is available in red, orange, gold, white, black or white & black.
With its clean lines and a soft touch matt finish it’s a rather smart looking machine. Going all out for a minimalist look YoyoTech has completely done away with the DVD drive.
In years gone by this would have instantly broken the ‘form follows function’ ethos of product design, but with software increasingly downloaded from the web or delivered on USB sticks it’s less of an issue.
An optional drive can be fitted, though having a black rectangle slap bang in the middle of the front panel somewhat ruins the aesthetics. Alternatively, map to a networked DVD drive whenever you need to install software.
It’s not just in looks that the chassis is different. At 411mm (h) x 265mm (w) and 381mm (d) it’s shorter and wider than most standard desktops, which means the motherboard sits flat and the graphics card vertical.
Both are visible through a plastic window on the side of the machine, lit from above by a red light. Windowless panels are also available for those that like their workstations to be a bit more subtle.
The ‘Dead Silence’ case gets its moniker by using low duty fans to keep noise to a minimum. A colossal 200mm front and 120mm rear fan move air from front to back while two ceiling mounted fans and a radiator form part of a water cooling system that stops the overclocked 4.3GHz Intel Core i5 4670K CPU from getting too hot.
The Maximus VI Impact mini-ITX motherboard from Asus certainly packs in the technology with CPU, memory, GPU, WiFi and Bluetooth all fitting snuggly within its 170mm x 170mm footprint.
The downside is expandability. With a total of two RAM slots and one PCIe x 16 slot, there’s absolutely no room to grow so it’s essential to choose the correct spec right from the off.
Our test machine’s AMD FirePro W7000 GPU shouts ‘high-end CAD’ and coupled with the overclocked CPU and fast 2,133MHz memory delivers some exceptional results in our Creo and SolidWorks graphics tests.
However, with only 8GB RAM in total, multi-tasking will be limited and you may as well forget about working with large CAD models. We’d recommend upping this to the maximum 16GB or downgrading to a FirePro W5000 depending on your budget and workflow.
For such a potent 3D CAD machine some users might demand a little more oomph from the storage.
The 1TB 10,000RPM WD VelociRaptor HDD is no slouch when it comes to pushing big CAD datasets around but adding an optional 128GB Toshiba SSD Enterprise drive to the spare bay should make a big difference when multi-tasking.
Overall, the M-cube WS is a powerful machine that features contemporary styling and vibrant colours to breathe new life into the often-staid CAD workstation.
The driving force behind this bold design is no doubt YoyoTech’s background in the gaming PC market, but this might also go against the Hertfordshire-based manufacturer with some CAD users preferring to buy from a firm with more of a workstation pedigree.
» Intel Core i5 4670K ‘Haswell’ CPU (4 cores, 4 threads) (clocked to 4.3GHz)
» 8GB (2 x 4GB) 2,133MHz memory
» AMD Firepro W7000 (4GB GDDR5) GPU (13.152.4 driver)
» 1TB 10,000RPM WD VelociRaptor HDD
» Asus Maximus VI Impact motherboard (Intel Z87 Express)
» Microsoft Windows 8 Professional 64-bit
» 3 year silver warranty (1st year parts/labour return to base (RTB) – 2nd & 3rd year labour only RTB.
Gold and Platinum available
(secs – smaller is better)
CAM (Delcam PowerMill 2010) – 1) 137 2) 240 3) 345
CAE (SolidWorks 2010 Simulation) – 92
Rendering (3ds Max Design 2011) – 212
(bigger is better)
CAD (SolidWorks 2013 – SPECapc graphics composite) – 7.45
CAD (Creo 2.0 – SPECapc graphics test) – 7.62
Intel Core i5 4670K ‘Haswell’ CPU (4 cores, 4 threads) (clocked to 4.3GHz)
8GB (2 x 4GB) 2,133MHz memory
AMD Firepro W7000 (4GB GDDR5) GPU (13.152.4 driver)
Asus Maximus VI Impact motherboard (Intel Z87 Express)
1TB 10,000RPM WD VelociRaptor HDD
3 year silver warranty (1st year parts/labour return to base (RTB) – 2nd & 3rd year labour only RTB. Gold and Platinum available