A very high-end CAD/BIM workstation with graphics primed for design viz
Intel’s ‘Ivy Bridge’ Core i7 3770K looks to be the CPU of choice for mainstream CAD.
Ivy Bridge, the codename for Intel’s third generation Core architecture, may have been available for over nine months now, but specialist system builders are still relying on the previous generation Sandy Bridge chips to drive their the top-end single processor workstations.
The Sandy Bridge Core i7 3930K at the heart of this WSX6 V2 offers similar single threaded performance to the Ivy Bridge Core i7 3770K, which is important in all CAD and BIM software, but trumps the newer chip due to the number of cores on offer. Six versus four will not make much difference to the average CAD user, but bring a ray trace rendering application into the design pipeline and you have cut 50% off your render times in one fell swoop.
Workstation Specialists has turbocharged the Core i7 3930K and, by giving it its ‘workstation enhanced’ treatment, clocked it up from 3.2GHz to 4.3GHz. Supported by a whopping 32GB of RAM it is clear this high-end CAD workstation has large-scale BIM modelling in its sights.
For graphics the WSX6 V2 sports Nvidia’s Kepler-based Quadro K5000. This double height board certainly delivers in powerful design visualisation applications like 3ds Max, but its high-end specification will possibly be wasted on most CAD-centric workflows. The good news is Nvidia has just launched three CAD-focused Kepler-based cards — the Quadro K600, K2000 and K4000 — so there is plenty of scope to downgrade the GPU to one more suited to CAD or BIM workflows.
With Kepler, Quadro is all about graphics, but with three spare PCI Express slots there is also plenty of scope for adding multiple Tesla GPU compute boards, transforming the WSX6 V2 into high-performance Maximus compute workstation for simulation or ray trace rendering.