A powerful mainstream CAD system with the capacity to handle large BIM datasets.
Looking back with beige tinted glasses I remember my first CAD machine: a trusty 386 with a whopping 2MB of RAM. Fast forward 20 years, and swapping AutoCAD R10 for Revit Architecture 2012, most modern workstations now come with 8GB as standard. That’s 4,000 times more than in 1990. It really blows the mind.
The good news is memory is now cheap and users of CAD and Building Information Modelling (BIM) software no longer need to shell out thousands of pounds to simply load up their huge models or, if the purse strings are tight, compromise workflows by having to reduce the complexity of their data.
Scan’s latest 3XS workstation has memory in spades: 16GB of fast DDR3 PC3-12800 1,600MHz to be precise. Coupled with a Core i7 2600K CPU overclocked to 4.5GHz, it’s the perfect specification for a high-performance CAD machine. The high
GHz CPU gives leading performance under single threaded operations, while four CPU cores still give a kick for multi-threaded operations like rendering.
But the quality components don’t stop there.
Buoyed by a 4.5GHz CPU, the Nvidia Quadro 2000 graphics card should deliver excellent performance in 3D CAD applications, and should not be that far behind the significantly more expensive Quadro 5000 in the Octane Pro from Cryo PC (see below). The increasingly popular combination of SSD (Solid State Drive) and mechanical platter offers the best of both worlds: a 120GB OCZ Vertex 2E for system files and current projects, and a sizeable 1TB Western Digital Caviar for archive data.
At £1,329 the P67 X3D-workstation is an excellent proposition for power users who need to work with large BIM datasets. For those that are really pushing the limits of BIM — and we’ve talked to some Revit users for whom 16GB is not even enough — 8GB DIMMs will be available later this year which will increase capacity of this machine to 32GB.
Since our last Scan review, the Bolton-based company has also extended its standard warranty to three years in line with most other workstation vendors so it’s good news all round.