A quality workstation for CAD or BIM, but there is no compelling reason to upgrade from Sandy Bridge

  • Intel Core i7 3770K (3.5GHz overclocked to 4.4Ghz) (Quad Core) (Ivy Bridge)
  • 16GB (2 x 8GB) Corsair PC3-12800 (1600) memory
  • Nvidia Quadro 2000 (1GB GDDR5) graphics
  • 120GB PNY Professional SSD + 2TB Seagate Barracuda 7,200 HDD
  • Gigabyte GA-Z77-D3H motherboard
  • Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
  • 3 year warranty – 1st year on site, 2nd & 3rd year return to base (mechanical hard drives only covered for 1st year)


Intel’s ‘Ivy Bridge’ processor did not exactly have CAD users rushing to put in a purchase order. But Intel’s third gen Core processor did offer a small boost in performance and better power efficiency over its predecessor, Sandy Bridge. Compared to the Intel Core i7 2600K, the darling of Intel’s second gen Core family, the new Ivy Bridge Core i7 3770K saves a cool 18W, down from 95W to 77W at peak. Its base clock speed also moves up a notch from 3.4GHz to 3.5GHz.

Not one to be content with off the shelf performance, Bolton-based Scan has done its trademark job of overclocking, taking the quad core i7 3770K up to 4.4GHz. The problem is, this is 0.1Ghz less than it achieved more than a year ago with the ‘Sandy Bridge’ Core i7 2600K in its Scan 3XS P67 X3D workstation (tinyurl.com/3XSAEC). And despite the small architectural improvements Intel has made to Ivy Bridge our tests show performance has literally stood still.

There have been some tweaks in other parts of Scan’s new 3XS workstation, most noticeably in terms of storage. The new 120GB PNY Professional SSD boasts excellent performance. Its 550MB/s read and 520MB/s write makes the 285MB/s and 275MB/sec of last year’s 120GB OCZ Vertex 2E look somewhat pedestrian.

Scan has also upped the capacity of its companion ‘data’ drive and the 2TB Seagate Barracuda 7,200 SATA will give plenty of space for complex CAD datasets. Scan has been equally generous in its memory, delivering 16GB of Corsair PC3-12800 (1600) RAM in 2 x 8GB modules leaving two slots free for future upgrades.

Despite approaching its two year anniversary, the PNY Nvidia Quadro 2000 is still a solid 3D graphics card. It does not reach the heady heights of a Quadro 4000 but remains a good option for mid range CAD and BIM.

Overall, it is hard to fault the Scan 3XS GW-MT15. It is a good solid mid-range workstation. Unfortunately, there is no compelling reason to upgrade from last year’s model. I guess those that have invested in an overclocked Sandy Bridge workstation will have to wait for some Ivy Bridge upgrades.