Workstation Specialists WS2600

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The latest in Intel chip technology brings unprecedented levels of processing power to the desktop in this latest ultra high-end machine from Workstation Specialists. By Greg Corke.


  • 2 x Intel Xeon X5660 CPUs (6 x 2.80GHz)
  • 12GB (6 x 2GB) DDR3 1,333MHz ECC memory
  • Super X8DAi mainboard
  • 128GB Kingston SNVP325-S2 SSD + 1TB Seagate 7,200RPM hard drives
  • PNY Quadro FX3800 (1GB) graphics card
  • Microsoft Windows 7 Professional Edition (64-bit)
  • 36 month parts and labour warranty

Price £3,999

Graphics (frames per second — bigger is better)
SolidWorks 2010 — 38
3ds Max Design 2010 — 5.3 Inventor 2010 — 3.8
CPU (secs — smaller is better)
3ds Max Design 2010 — 159 (run without HyperThreading)

A total of twelve processor cores and another twelve virtual HyperThreading cores is a huge amount of processing power to have on the desktop, but that is exactly what this new high-end machine from Workstation Specialists offers. Built around two of Intel’s new Xeon X5660 CPUs (2.80GHz) this beast of a machine has high-end simulation and rendering written all over it.

With this in mind it will come as no surprise to learn that the WS2600 set a new record in our 3ds Max rendering test, but this was only possible after some tweaking and the time of 159 seconds is still not a true representation of what this machine can achieve.

Due to a glitch in 3ds Max 2010 we could not get the software to run with all 24 CPU cores enabled. It was only when we turned off HyperThreading that the software worked. Once Autodesk provides a fix we would expect to shave an additional 10%-15% off this time. All of this processing power is backed up with 12GB of DDR3 1,333MHz ECC memory. This is plenty for even the most sizeable datasets, but there are still six slots free on the mainboard for any future upgrades.


For 3D graphics, Workstation Specialists has opted for PNY’s high-end 1GB Quadro FX 3800, which delivered some impressive scores in our 3ds Max and SolidWorks tests.

The WS2600 has a two-drive setup based on solid-state drive (SSD) technology and a standard mechanical drive. With a capacity of 128MB the superfast Kingston SSD has plenty of room for operating system, applications and current datasets, while the 1TB can be used as a data archive.

As with all Workstation Specialists desktops, build quality is excellent. The machine is also fitted with a ‘phase III low noise workstation cooling system’, which through a combination of low duty fans and damping results in an incredibly quiet machine during operation.

At £3,999, the WS2600 certainly does not come cheap and it does not feature the highest performing chips in Intel’s new Xeon X5600 range. But if you are looking for breathtaking computational performance for rendering and multi-threaded simulation apps, then this machine is well worth a look.


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