Tag: workstations

Dell revamps workstation line

Dell logoDell said it has revamped its Dell Precision mobile workstations with a complete redesign in and out.

Options include sixth generation Intel Core CPUs, Xeon processors and future Xeon E3-1200 product families.

Dell gives customers the choice of choosing professional graphics from both AMD and Nvidia and the company is also offering customers PremierColor 4K Ultra HD displays.

The company said that Full HD and UHD options on its InfinityEdge monitors give a 15.6-inch viewing area.

The workstations include certifications for a number of professional applications from Adobe, Autodesk and other software vendors.

Dell claims it’s the number one monitor vendor worldwide.

Workstations go through the doldrums

Dell logoThe second quarter of 2015 showed poor sales for desktop workstations, falling by 3.7 percent compared to the second quarter of 2014.

IDC said total shipments of desktop workstations amounted to 641,580 units.

Ebenezer Obeng-Nyarkoh, a senior research analyst at the company said: “Despite the disappointing second quarter results, the market is expected to continue growing as high end PC users and Apple Mac Pro users migrate to workstations.” He added: “As IT professionals continue to increase demand for high performance computing, graphic capabilities and greater reliability, ISV certified workstations are expected to move into the computing mainstream.

The leader of the pack continues to be HP, which has 43.1 percent market share but its shipments declined by 9.3 percent, year on year.

Dell in the number two position gained back some share despite losing share in the first calendar quarter, and holds 37.9 percent of the market.

Lenovo showed positive growth in the quarter with 13.2 percent market share.

Other vendors including Fujitsu and NEC showed declines in the quarter.

Workstation sales fall

IBM PCSales of workstations in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region fell by 3.4 percent in the first quarter of this year.

And market research company IDC said the fall will be as much as 5.2 percent for the whole year.

The reason appears to be twofold, according to Mohamed Hefny, a senior analyst for IDC system and infrastructure.

He said: “The decline in euro value is increasing the risk sentiments, putting weight on the channel business, especially when it comes to US based vendors. Very large businesses are also under corporate debt pressure, opting for extension of maintenance and support instead of refreshing with new boxes.”

But there appears to be light at the end of the workstation tunnel.

Hefny said sales will rebound in 2016 by as much as 10.7 percent, partly due to the launch of machines using Intel’s Skylake chips and the introduction of Windows 10.

He said vendors are planning water cooled systems for desktop workstations, and strengthening their channel plans with better support and incentives.

Nvidia partners argue their workstations are best with Maximus

Nvidia thinks it has come up with a real treat in the workstation market with Maximus.

Maximus has, says Nvidia, the professional 3D stylings of Quadro GPUs coupled with the power of Nvidia’s Tesla C2075 CPU. The company thinks it’s a match made in heaven.

Jeff Brown of the Professional Solutions Group said that, compared to previous working, now you can do compute-intensive and graphic-intensive work at the same time on the same machine. 

Multitasking is something the casual user takes for granted, but engineers and designers working with powerful equipment and applications tend to need all the processing might they can muster. 

This is possible with Maximus-enabled applications because the GPU is designed run on the Tesla chip, which means the Quadro GPU can get to work on the graphics. Applications that run with Maximus include Adobe, Ansys, Autodesk, Bunkspeed, Dassault Systemes and MathWorks.

The price will set you back about $2,700 altogether with a Quadro 600 and Tesla C2075 configuration. 

Nvidia managed to rally its partners together for a congratulatory Maximus back-patting, among them spokespeople from Dell, Lenovo, HP, Adobe, Autodesk and Fujitsu. In their statements they all tell you why their products, running Nvidia kit, are the best.

Did HP and Dell fight over who was quoted first, or at all? To suggest so would be highly speculative. “HP’s Z Workstations meet the needs of some of the most compute-intensive industries in the world,” said HP. Then Dell said: “When combined with Dell Precision workstations, our design, research and digital content creation customers can increase their interactivity, productivity and creative freedom.”

Progress, recession take their toll on sales of add-in graphics cards

Graphics research firm JPR said that sales of boards with discrete graphics chips fell by over 15 percent in the second quarter compared to sales in the second quarter last year.

Slightly over 16 million add in boards shipped in the second quarter of this year, compared to 19.01 million in the same period last year. Integrated CPUs from both AMD and from Intel which fuse graphics on the same die are having an increasing effect on the market for add in boards.

Add in boards are favoured by computer gamers who pay a lot for the privilege of using AMD-ATI or Nvidia graphics chips. But average selling prices are gradually declining, JPR said.

They’re also used in high end workstations.

AMD held 40.6 percent of the market in Q2 of this year, while Nvidia held 59 percent, JPR said.

The research company puts the decline down to the impact of integrated embedded graphics and a prolonged worldwide recession.

Boston 3DBOXX 8550 Xtreme workstation reviewed

Boston is a company which has a reputation in IT as the supplier of high-end workstations, render boxes and servers to system integrators, as well as directly out to specialist companies in the 3D Industry.

Boston has been about since 1992. It has strived to climb to the top of the ladder in high performance power optimised technologies in the ISP, HPC, Enterprise and Broadcast marketplace.

Specialised workstations, servers and render boxes are extremely expensive and down time is not a great idea.

Over the years Boston has produced exceptional systems based around Supermicro, but for Boston to reach further into the more sophisticated marketplaces, a major manufacturing deal was struck direct with BOXX, a US Integrator of some of the most sophisticated overclocked 3D workstations in the world. The kind that give the Tier 1 builders a run for their money. When we were asked if we’d like to review a system, our answer was a swift yes. The systems from BOXX are something else.

An important point to note: BOXX is a recognised hardware vendor under the Autodesk Media & Entertainment certification program. BOXX machines have been tested and certified by Autodesk to run at optimal performance on Autodesk products, including Maya, 3ds Max, MotionBuilder, Mudbox and Softimage.

The system that was delivered was very high spec, consisting of the following:

Component

BOXX 3DBOXX 8550 Xtreme Test System

CPU

2 X 3.33GHz Intel® Xeons™ (X5680 processors) overclocked to 4.2GHz

Mainboard

EVGA Classified SR-2 eATX

Memory

6 X 2GB (12GB Total) DDR3 1333MHz (PC3-10600) Memory Modules

Hard Drive(s)

2 X 300GB Western Digital VelociRaptors in Raid 1 (Via ICH 10 onboard Controller)

 

2 X 500GB (1TB) Seagate Constellation 2 drives in Raid 0 (Via ICH 10 onboard Controller) for data storage

Graphic Card(s)

1 X NVIDIA Quadro® 4000

 

1 X NVIDIA Quadro® 6000

 PSU

Seasonic 850Watt Modular

 DVDROM

20X Dual Layer DVD±RW Writer

Operating System

Windows 7 Professional  64-Bit with complete updates

Our system came expected, supplied with a Logitech Keyboard and Mouse, 3 x Nvidia® SLI bridges, ATI® Crossfire Bridge, an additional array of extra cables for the mainboard and PSU, with a good selection of software to get you up and running straight away. And that all important Windows recovery disc.

Something clever that struck us about the BOXX build was the actual hard drive deployment within the system. Opening up the read panel we found the 4 x 2 ½” system drives neatly mounted in place, with plenty of room for expansion.

A novel design then, though we did have reservations to heat. On closer inspection, the Asetek liquid cooling array fans for the CPUs also blasts air under the rear to keep those drives cool too. The rear panel to the chassis has a vent that the hot air quietly flows from. The company says it has tested the system with a range of drives and that airflow is not an issue.

Conclusions

This has to have been the most exciting Parts Built System we have tested in a long time.

Generally speaking, review systems are very well built, but this is an extraordinary unit with the strength to push things to the next level. The BOXX brushed aluminium chassis looks the part and will sit under most desks without looking out of place with the furnishings. It’s an important point in today’s studios key customers and new clients believe that image is everything.

The actual system performance from the I/O was what we had anticipated – extremely fast. The Sandra 2011 System Cryptography result is the fastest we have ever achieved. To deviate slightly, this unit can be upgraded in many ways beyond the original build, so those looking for the high speed boot should consider putting an enterprise SSD in place.

When you are spending cash of this nature, costs will be high – but those who require the absolute best in performance will find this is an exceptional option. Although we have seen extremely fast results, there is room to make things faster at the client’s request.

The render speed results from the recent release of POV-Ray and Cinebench 11.5 are speedy, and the BOXX system did almost half some of our other results – extremely quick indeed. This standalone unit has the power to meet the most demanding client’s high expectations for fast output.

To emphasise just how fast is fast, take a look at the staggering Cinebench 11.5 score.

The results obtained from the SPECapc’ s and SPECviewperf are without doubt the fastest we have produced.

Nvidia’s Quadro releases excelled on this platform. While the Quadro 4000 returned some pretty impressive results, the Quadro 6000 romped away in terms of raw power. It’s almost as if the mainboard was built for it.

Both cards performed above expectations, returning some very impressive results from the SPEC tests. SPECapc for SolidWorks 2007 again showed us our fastest results to date by the Quadro 6000, in both the “Day in the Life” result and the actual SPEC Graphic score.

As for SPECviewperf 11, astonishing to say the least. Maya-03 was running away at 115.97 and swiftly following was the SW-02 score of 65.79, fully backing up the SPECapc for SolidWorks results.

The Quadro 6000 just cannot be caught up to with its unprecedented performance – as the complete full FSAA run demonstrated, with the desired scaled composite results all the way down to 64X FSAA. Will we see faster any time soon? Time will tell. 

At going to print, the cost of the BOXX 3DBOXX 8550 Xtreme with the Nvidia Quadro 4000 is £6,279.00 plus Vat and Delivery and can be purchased direct through Boston’s reseller Escape Studios. The full range of BOXX systems from Escape Studios can be found at this URL. The 3DBOXX 8550 Xtreme comes with a 3 year warranty.

*EyeSee One of our readers can win one of these powerful, 3DBOXX 4860 systems from Escape Studios. Entry details are here, terms and conditions apply

Workstation market shows promising growth after lacklustre 2009

A report by Jon Peddie Research has shown that the workstation market has improved for Q1 2010 compared to its low performance in 2009. 725,000 workstations were shipped worldwide in Q1 2010, a sequential growth of 1.1 percent and a year-on-year increase of 25.7 percent.

Rather than celebrating Q1 results too early, the industry must keep an eye on continuing the steady improvements  as they are a reflection of 2009’s shoddy year rather than a fantastic beginning to 2010.

The research says that the 1.1 percent sequential gain is an indicator of market progress rather than the 25.7 percent year-on-year sales gain. The sequential increase shows that the market’s vital signs will be beeping more regularly on the monitor again, signalling a market ahead of its normal pace – Q1 sales tend to trail behind previous year’s Q4s, says Jon Peddie.

The research says that a major kick up the rear has been given to the professional graphics hardware market from the likes of Nvidia and ATI, which has seen a huge 77.9 percent year-on-year sales growth and has managed to raise the stakes 17.6 percent sequentially. The research says 1.26 billion units were shipped, beating the comparatively decent shipping totals of 2007 and 2008.

Dell is still the leader in workstations despite hot competition from HP which is trailing just behind. HP managed to overtake Dell’s leadership in Q3 09, but Dell wrangled itself back to the top spot in Q4 09. It held onto its top spot for Q1 2010 beating HP just slightly 39.3 percent to 38.1 percent.