Workstation Specialists WSX

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An overclocked workstation offering unrivalled performance for CAD, but with six CPU cores running at 4.2GHz it also gives dual CPU machines a serious run for their money.

Specifications

  • Workstation Enhanced Intel Core i7 (4.2GHz) processor (Six Core)
  • 12GB (6 x 2GB) 1,600MHz DDR3 memory
  • 128GB Kingston SSD Now (SNVP325) + 1TB Seagate Barracuda 7,200RPM hard drives
  • Nvidia Quadro 4000 (2GB) graphics card
  • Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
  • 36 months full parts and labour system warranty

£2,975
workstationspecialists.com

CPU benchmarks
(secs — smaller is better)

  • CAD — 217
  • Simulation — 81
  • Rendering — 188

Graphics benchmarks
(frames per sec — bigger is better)

  • CAD – 52

Like most workstation system builders Derby-based Workstation Specialists (WS) offers three standard models in its desktop range — an entry-level, single processor machine (the WS1400), a mid-range, single processor machine (the WS1600) and a high-end dual processor machine (the WS2600). However, unlike the Dells, HPs, and Lenovos of this world, it also has a supercharged member in its family — the WSX.

Here, the boffins at WS take an ordinary six core Intel Core i7 processor and overclock it to a whopping 4.2GHz — a full 1GHz faster than a standard high-end Core i7 chip. The result? An exceptionally fast single processor system which, as our tests confirmed, can’t be touched by any other single processor workstation we have seen or, when all six CPU cores are running flat out doing rendering calculations, some dual processor workstations.

With 12GB of triple channel DDR3 memory the WSX is set up to work with some pretty hefty datasets, and the new Nvidia Quadro 4000 graphics card will give plenty of power to rotate, pan and zoom around models on screen. Together with the superfast 128GB Kingston SSD Now drive, it is these three components that contribute to a significant chunk of the machine’s substantial £2,975 price tag. Architecture and engineering firms with smaller budgets (and datasets) could bring this price down considerably by reducing the memory to 6GB, opting for a standard S-ATA II drive, and swapping out the Quadro 4000 for one of Nvidia’s new Quadro 2000 graphics cards or ATI FirePro equivalent. While this would take the edge off what is a colossus of a workstation, it will still retain its ability to carry out lightning fast calculations with its 4.2GHz CPU.

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As we have said before (tinyurl.com/33tgeyy), overclocked machines are not for everyone, but for those looking for ultimate performance for CAD, the WSX-6+ is currently setting the pace.

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