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Jeffrey Rowe has almost 40 years of experience in all aspects of industrial design, mechanical engineering, and manufacturing. On the publishing side, he has written well over 1,000 articles for CAD, CAM, CAE, and other technical publications, as well as consulting in many capacities in the design … More »
Hardware Review: BOXX Technologies GoBOXX G1840
September 27th, 2012 by Jeff Rowe
Big Performance in a Small BOXX
BOXX Technologies is an interesting company that builds a diverse range of desktop and mobile workstations geared for high-performance applications, such as CAD and CAE. This time around, we’re putting the GoBOXX G1840 through its paces, a machine the company classifies as a mid-range mobile workstation. Mid-range was fine with us because we hoped it would provide a good balance between performance and price. Ultimately, the GoBOXX G1840 exceeded our expectations for its price/performance ratio.
This machine will appeal to those users who need high levels of performance, as well as mobility. In other words, big performance in a small package at a reasonable price. So, let’s see how it fared.
Specifications and Build Quality
The GoBOXX G1840 we received has the following specifications as supplied:
CPU: Intel Core i7 – 3920XM (2.9GHz); Quad-core
GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 675M
RAM: 16 GB DDR 3 (4 DIMMS)
SSD: 240 GB SATA
Connectivity: 2 SATAIII ports internal; 1 MSATA port; 1 IEEE 1394 port; 1 eSATA port; 1 USB 2.0 port; 3 USB 3.0 ports; 1 HDMI; 1 external DVI; 1 display port; Ethernet
Other: 8X DVD Multi-drive; 9 in 1 Flash memory reader; 2MB digital video camera; fingerprint reader; Kensington lock port;
OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate Edition 64-bit
Dimensions:16.22” (W) x 10.87” (D) x 1.75” (H)
Weight: 8.60 pounds (with battery)
Warranty: One-year limited
Default resolution of the full-HD glassview LCD that measures a whopping 17.3″ is 1,920 x 1,080. Screen resolution and clarity are excellent and comfortable for a full day of work.
Even when pushing the unit during demanding benchmark testing, it remained relatively cool and the fans ran very quietly with no annoying whine.
I guess the only complaint I would have, and this goes for all mobile workstations, is the physical size and weight of the AC adapter. I know there are physical limitations for power considerations, but with the miniaturization of just about everything else electronic, it amazes me that these things are still the size and weight of house bricks.
Overall, though, the feel and build quality of the GoBOXX G1840 is very solid and substantial. There is no keyboard flex when bearing down on the keys and the backlit keyboard is an excellent ergonomic touch, especially in the low light conditions that I often prefer to work in. A very well thought out and nicely executed quality package.
When we received the GoBOXX 1840, we had high expectations for performance, largely because of the high levels of performance we have experienced in the past with other machines from BOXX. The objective (formal documented generic benchmarks) and subjective (actual design and engineering software applications) tests we ran confirmed our expectations and didn’t disappoint.
However, keep in mind that the tests were performed with the GoBOXX 1840 “out of the box,” as we received it – nothing was tweaked or optimized to distort the performance numbers (such as enabling multi-threading) in a positive or negative direction. I actually get more out of the subjective testing because it’s more “real world,” but the raw numbers from the benchmarks are also useful as a means of objective comparison with other machines in the class. Your evaluations will probably differ from mine, but they do provide a point for comparison.
For objective testing, we ran two benchmarks NovaBench (geared more toward overall performance) and SPECviewperf 11 (geared more toward graphics performance).
NovaBench Benchmark Test
16281 MB System RAM (Score: 244) – this was better than recent desktop workstations evaluations
CPU Tests (Score: 779) – this was comparable to most recent desktop workstations evaluations
Graphics Tests (Score: 90) – this was a bit lower than recent desktop evaluations, due to graphics card used
Hardware Tests (Score: 36) – on par with recent desktop evaluations
Total NovaBench Composite Score: 1,149
The 1,149 composite score is impressive because it is within 22% of the score of recent best desktop workstation evaluations.
SPECviewperf 11 Benchmark Test
The scores for the various demanding SPECviewperf 11 suite tests (CATIA, SolidWorks, Lightwave, Ensight, NX, and Pro/ENGINEER) run at 1,280 x 1,024 resolution (without multi-threading enabled) were among the best I have ever seen on a mobile workstation that I have benchmarked and reviewed.
For subjective testing, I ran Autodesk Alias Design, Inventor, SolidWorks, AutoCAD, and 3ds Max. I used data sets of standard models that I have created over the years for this testing, including a model with 70,000+ parts, renderings of complex surfaces, and animations. The GoBOXX 1840 performed very well and did not seem to grind through any of the subjective tests. I’ll be using the GoBOXX 1840 over the course of the next several months for upcoming MCAD, CAE, and visualization evaluations/reviews to get a better sense of how it fares over a longer haul. I’ll update as I go because I’m looking forward to a continued good experience with this computer.
Although there is certainly a case to be made for stationary desktop workstations, just as strong a case could be made for mobile professionals and mobile workstations. Even though mobile workstations have come a long way in the past few years, there is often still a huge price premium to pay for mobility. However, with the quality and performance of the GoBOXX 1840, I think there is a relatively small price premium here and is definitely worth the price. The GoBOXX 1840 offers desktop-level performance in a portable and well-executed mobile platform.
BOXX Technologies GoBOXX G1840 Mobile Workstation
Pros: Excellent performance; solid build quality with backlit keyboard; connectivity options; configurability.
Cons: None experienced.
Price (As configured for review): $4,669
Final Grade: A+
For More Information: BOXX Technologies; 512.835.0400; www.boxxtech.com
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