TDW159_scan

This is the fastest dual Xeon E5 workstation we’ve seen, but also one of the more expensive ones, says James

MorrisPRICE: £5,200

SPECS:

  • 2 x 3.1GHz Intel Xeon E5-2687W processors
  • 32GB PC3-12800 1,600MHz DDR3 RAM
  • Nvidia Quadro 5000 graphics with 2.5GB GDDR5 memory
  • 240GB PNY Professional solid‑state disk
  • 2TB Seagate Barracuda 7200.14 hard disk
  • Gigabit Ethernet networking
  • Windows 7 64-bit
  • 3 years warranty (1st onsite, 2nd and 3rd RTB)

MANUFACTURER: Intel’s Romley Xeon platform has caused more of a stir in the workstation market than any new processors have for years, and it looks like the interest hasn’t abated just yet. Latest to get in on the act is Scan, with the somewhat cryptically named 3XS GW‑HTX30.This is a mammoth workstation chassis, with a mammoth specification to go with it.Central to the GW-HTX30 is a pair of the recently released eight-core Intel Xeon E5 processors.Scan has opted for the top 2687W models, which run at 3.1GHz nominally, but have the usual extra Intel features on hand.They incorporate Turbo Boost, so can increase individual core frequencies up to 3.8GHz, and all eight cores at once up to 3.4GHz. There’s also Intel Hyper-Threading technology available, splitting every physical core into two virtual ones. This gives each Xeon 16 virtual cores, for a grand total of 32 for the whole system, which promises huge benefits for rendering.

MEMORY AND STORAGE

The Xeon E5 also supports a quad‑channel memory path for each processor. Scan has supplied the GW‑HTX30 with two banks of four 4GB 1,600MHz DDR3 memory DIMMs, so each processor can take full advantage of its own – and the other CPU’s – bandwidth potential.There are four empty slots per bank as well, leaving room for upgrade should the 32GB supplied not be sufficient in the future, although it will be more than adequate for all but the most gruelling of current applications.Similarly well endowed is the graphics acceleration, which comes in the form of Nvidia’s Quadro 5000.This provides 352 Cuda cores and 2.5GB of GDDR5 memory. It also sports an impressive 120GB/sec bandwidth.The high-end story continues with storage. There’s a healthy 240GB PNY Professional solid‑state disk for operating system and apps, plus a 2TB Seagate Barracuda 7200.14 mechanical 7,200rpm hard disk for general data. Aside from the DVD rewriter, a multi‑format memory card reader is also included – so most removable storage requirements are covered.

THE BENCHMARK RESULTS

With its potent hardware, the GW-HTX30 promises great performance across the board.Rendering is clearly a particular strength, as the workstation recorded the highest score, of 25.46, we’ve ever seen in this portion of Maxon Cinebench R11.5.The OpenGL score of 49.24 isn’t quite so outstanding, but it’s still better than most systems.The SPECviewperf 11 results are very impressive, though.The lightwave-01 result of 63.72 is one of the highest we’ve seen, and the maya-03 score of 99.01 wipes the floor with every other machine we’ve tested.The GW-HTX30’s 3D modelling and animation prowess is clearly extensive. The SolidWorks sw-02 viewport result of 59.05 is also the second highest we’ve tested, implying that this workstation will be equally capable at product design and engineering work.The Scan 3XS GW-HTX30 is pretty much top of the heap in every respect, with the fastest rendering and some of the fastest modelling performances we’ve ever seen. The price is also suitably heap-topping, but not by an amount we’d consider unwarranted. If you’re looking for supreme workstation power, this system has it in spades.

VERDICT

PROS CONS
Fastest rendering performance we’ve seen                                                   Expensive
Unparalleled modelling abilities

The fastest rendering and some of the best modelling results we’ve seen, although there’s a premium to pay

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

James Morris has tracked the rise of every new development, from OpenGL accelerators to multi-processor workstations, over more than 15 years of testing 3D content creation hardware

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  • be 3xs