Sporting a brand new chassis, Workstation Specialists (WS) has launched its latest high-performance machine, the WSX4. It features a Core i7 2600K (quad core) CPU overclocked to 4.5GHz, giving it plenty of power for GHz-hungry CAD applications. Kitted out with 16GB of PC3-1600 1600MHz DDR3 memory it is also well equipped to handle large datasets.
Designed in SolidWorks, the new chassis is a bespoke creation that will be deployed across WS’ entire range from single processor machines right up to dual CPU, multi GPU powerhouses. The rationale behind this move was the desire to support up to four double width GPUs in a single compact machine, a growing request from those adopting GPU compute-based rendering and simulation workflows. WS couldn’t find an off-the shelf product that fulfilled this requirement, with most only having space for three.
In comparison to a fully equipped GPU compute workstation, the WSX4 is kitted out with a more prosaic GPU. However, the 2GB Nvidia Quadro 4000 is more than just a mainstream CAD graphics card. Its 256 CUDA cores will help smooth manipulation of large models in some of the more graphics-hungry CAD applications like NX and Catia. Users of design viz applications such as 3ds Max, will also see benefits. As an alternative for mainstream CAD users, Workstation Specialists offers AMD’s impressive new FirePro V5900, which would also bring the overall cost of the machine well below the £2,000 price point.
For storage, the WSX4 features what has become an almost standard two-drive setup, comprising Solid State Drive (SSD) for Operating System and applications and a traditional platter drive for storage.
At 300GB the capacity of the Intel 320 SSD drive is quite high for OS and storage, particularly when compared to 120GB SSDs offered in other single CPU workstations. According to WS, this is because SSD performance can slow down considerably if they are more than half full. With this in mind, WS now offers 160GB as a minimum spec for SSDs on all of its desktop workstations.
At £2,075 the WSX is not a cheap single processor machine. High specification components, such as the Quadro 4000 graphics and 300GB Intel 320 Series SSD, help push the price above that £2,000 barrier. However, as with all WS machines, build quality is excellent and performance can’t be faulted.
» Intel Core i7-2600K processor (3.4GHz ‘Workstation Enhanced’ to 4.5GHz) (Quad Core
» 16GB (4 x 4GB) PC3-1600 1,600MHz DDR3 memory
» Intel P67 Express-based motherboard
» 300GB Intel 320 Series SSD + 1TB 7,200rpm SATA3 drive
» Nvidia Quadro 4000 (2GB) graphics card
» Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
» 36 months full parts and labour system warranty
» CPU benchmarks (secs – smaller is better)
CAD (SolidWorks 2010) – 186
CAM (Delcam PowerMill 2010) – 1) 138 2) 213 3) 306
(SolidWorks 2010 Simulation) – 85
Rendering (3ds Max Design 2011) – 202
» Graphics benchmarks (frames per sec – bigger is better)
CAD (SolidWorks 2010) – 42
Intel Core i7-2600K processor (3.4GHz ‘Workstation Enhanced’ to 4.5GHz) (Quad Core
16GB (4 x 4GB) PC3-1600 1,600MHz DDR3 memory
Nvidia Quadro 4000 (2GB) graphics card
Intel P67 Express-based motherboard
300GB Intel 320 Series SSD + 1TB 7,200rpm SATA3 drive
36 months full parts and labour system warranty