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Posts Tagged ‘small footprint’

Hardware Review: HP Z2 Mini Provides Big Performance In A Small Package

Thursday, March 30th, 2017

As has been the case for several years, not all computer users need a workstation-class machine, but many do, especially with graphics-oriented and computationally intensive applications, such as MCAD, FEA, and animation. However, high-powered workstations for graphic-intensive applications can come with a price premium. So, you can really pay a relatively high price for higher levels of performance, but is often worth it. There are exceptions, however, and the HP Z2 Mini workstation offers the best of both worlds – a versatile machine with excellent performance at a reasonable price.

I’d classify the HP Z2 Mini as a mid- to high-level machine that provides just about everything most customers would need in a desktop engineering workstation. Then there’s added benefit of the small footprint, which can be huge in a tight work environment.

The HP Z2 Mini Workstation


Hardware Review: 3DBOXX 4150 XTREME

Friday, August 23rd, 2013

Small Footprint, Big Performance

We evaluate several mobile and desktop engineering workstations every year. Some are unique; some not so much. Some are well designed and built; some are not. Some are inexpensive and you get what you pay for; others cost more, but are great values.

Experience has shown us that workstations from BOXX Technologies are unique, well-built, and while costing a bit more, have proven to have excellent price/performance ratios. The 3DBOXX 4150 XTREME desktop workstation continues the positive experience we have had with other BOXX machines in the past.

BOXX Technologies builds a wide spectrum of high-end workstations geared for high-performance applications, such as CAD, CAE, advanced animation and rendering, game production, and other demanding design and engineering work.

Even though it’s a desktop workstation, it is relatively compact with a smaller footprint than previous BOXX desktop workstations we’ve evaluated in the past, measuring 6.85”W x 14.6”H x 16.6”D. As a matter of fact, the 4150 XTREME is BOXX’s first foray into smaller form factor desktop workstations – a plus for those with space-constrained work spaces, like me.

The 3DBOXX 4150 XTREME Engineering Desktop Workstation

This machine will appeal to those users who need higher levels of performance, reliability, and quality, and are willing and able to pay a bit more for these attributes. So, let’s see how the relatively compact 4150 XTREME performed and compared.

3DBOXX 4150 XTREME: Minimal Size. Maximum Performance

3DBOXX 4150 XTREME Workstation Specifications and Build Quality
The 3DBOXX 4150 XTREME we received had the following specifications as supplied:
CPU: Overclocked fourth-generation Intel Core i7 – Haswell (4.3 GHz); quad core. Intel Express chipset.
GPU: NVIDIA Quadro K2000 with 2GB on-board memory
RAM: 16 GB DDR3-1600; 2 DIMMs
SSD: 240 GB SATA; 6GB/s
Power Supply: 550 W
Connectivity: 6 SATA ports; 1 IEEE 1394 port; 6 USB 2.0 ports (2 front, 4 rear); 6 USB 3.0 ports (2 front, 4 rear); HDMI; DVI; Ethernet
Other: 20X dual layer DVD-RW; Intel Smart Cache; liquid cooling
OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Professional Edition 64-bit
Dimensions: 6.9″(W) x 14.6″(H) x 16.6″(D)
Warranty: One-year limited

EDITOR’S NOTE: Many hardware component options and configurations are available for the 4150 XTREME workstation.

BOXX claims the 4150 XTREME to be the fastest single socket workstation available for engineering and product design applications, such as SolidWorks and Autodesk Inventor, as well as all other frequency-driven, CPU-bound applications. We’ll check that out soon enough.

Another nice feature of the 4150 that we’re seeing more and more is the fact that no tools are required to access the workstation’s internals – just remove two thumb screws and you’re in.

When pushing the unit during demanding benchmark testing, it remained cool and relatively quiet, thanks to the liquid cooling. The 4150 XTREME has just about every connectivity option you could need, and many ports are easily accessible from the front of the unit.

Like BOXX computers we have evaluated in the past, the build quality of the 4150 XTREME is very solid. Overall, the 4150 XTREME is a well-executed, high-quality platform that is also well-priced for what you get.

Measuring Performance
When we received the 3DBOXX 4150 XTREME, 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 Technologies. The objective (formal documented generic benchmarks) and subjective (actual design and engineering software applications) tests we ran fulfilled our expectations.

The tests were performed with the 4150 XTREME “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, at least, provide a point for comparison.

For objective testing, as we do with all workstations, we ran two benchmarks NovaBench (geared more toward overall performance) and SPECviewperf 11 (geared more toward graphics performance).

NovaBench Benchmark Test
16,323 MB System RAM (Score: 249) – this was about on par with recent desktop workstations evaluations
• RAM Speed: 14,337 MB/s
CPU Tests (Score: 898) – this a little better than recent desktop workstations evaluations
• Floating Point Operations/Second: 207,121,760
• Integer Operations/Second: 10,97,476,568
• MD5 Hashes Generated/Second: 1,536,366
Graphics Tests (Score: 312 – this was lower than recent desktop evaluations, due to the graphics card
• 3D Frames Per Second: 890
Hardware Tests (Score: 40) – higher than other recent desktop evaluations
• Drive Write Speed: 243 MB/s

Total NovaBench Composite Score: 1499

The 1499 composite score was a about 8% higher than the score of recent and comparable desktop workstation evaluations.

SPECviewperf 11 Benchmark Test
The composite scores for the various demanding SPECviewperf 11 suite tests (CATIA, SolidWorks, Lightwave, Ensight, NX, and Pro/ENGINEER) run at 1,920 x 1,080 resolution (without multi-threading enabled) were the best I have ever seen on a mobile workstation (any workstation, for that matter) that I have benchmarked and reviewed.

Subjective Test
As I usually do, for subjective testing, I ran Autodesk Alias Design, Autodesk Inventor, AutoCAD, and SolidWorks on the 4150. I used data sets of standard models that I have created over the years for this testing, including a model of an earth mover with 100,000+ parts, renderings of complex surfaces, and animations. The 4150 XTREME performed very well and had no problematic issues with any of these subjective tests.

Final Thoughts
In an engineering environment that increasingly demands mobility, there is still a case to be made for stationary desktop workstations for engineering purposes.

For a desktop workstation, the 3DBOXX 4150 XTREME workstation is relatively compact, well-built, and well-priced. The level of performance that this small footprint machine exhibited is also quite good.

Whether mobile or desktop, workstations have come a long way in the past few years, and they often command a premium price. However, with the quality, performance, and configuration options, the 3DBOXX 4150 XTREME has a good price/performance ratio, offering high-end performance in a relatively compact package.
BOXX Technologies 3DBOXX 4150 XTREME Workstation
Pros: Footprint; excellent price/performance ratio; build quality; connectivity options; configurability.
Cons: None significant, especially noteworthy since this is the first model out with this smaller form factor.
Price (As configured for review): $3,719. Prices start at $2800.
Final Grade: A


For More Information on the 3DBOXX 4150 XTREME workstation: BOXX Technologies; 512.835.0400;

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