A good all round CAD / BIM workstation, though some users may demand more from their local storage
Intel’s ‘Ivy Bridge’ Core i7 3770K looks to be the processor of choice for mainstream CAD and Building Information Modelling (BIM) software. In this new workstation from Stafford-based InterPro the 3.5GHz chip has undergone ‘entry-level’ overclocking. InterPro does not divulge the exact clock speed, but with our CPU tests running about 4% slower than Scan’s 3XS GW-MT15 (Sept / Oct 2012), we expect it’s below 4.4GHz.
InterPro’s mid-sized machine comes with a generous 16GB of memory. With all four memory slots filled with 4GB DIMMs there is no room for future upgrades.
The IPW-iB’s secret weapon is the FirePro W5000, one of AMD’s new Southern Islands Graphics Processing Units (GPUs).
The 2GB card performed well in all of our graphics intensive tests, though performance is likely to vary from application to application, depending on AMD’s driver optimsations.
InterPro has gone for a bold choice in storage — a single 240GB Solid State Drive (SSD) with no supplementary SATA drive. This should not be an issue for those that mostly store data on servers, but is not really sufficient for local CAD work. A 1TB or 2TB SATA can easily be added at time of purchase without pushing the price up much.
InterPro’s chosen SSD is a 240GB Intel SSD 330 Series. While the drive is intended more as a retail product, there are many similarities with the more expensive Intel SSD 520 Series. Indeed, the read and write speeds of 500 and 450MB/s are only slightly slower than Intel 520’s quoted 550MB and 520MB/s. However, the Intel 520 does come with a five-year limited warranty, while the Intel SSD 330 Series only gives three years.
Overall, the IPW-iB is a good all round CAD / BIM workstation, though some users may demand more from their local storage.