The review machine came with a 7200-rpm, 1TB SATA drive which was fast, but the real bonus for performance was the Intel 20 GB cache solid state drive (SSD). Although still a bit pricey at present, the SSD provides noticeable improvements in data retrieval, and just one of the many reasons the 3970 has such high levels of performance. The SSD also provides higher levels of reliability. The 3970 incorporates Intel’s Smart Response and Rapid Storage Technology that combines responsiveness similar to a high-performance SSD with the capacity and relative low-cost of a hard drive. The two technologies (SSD and HDD) appear as
a single C:\ drive in the3970.
When we received the 3970 XTREME, we had high expectations for performance. The objective and subjective tests we ran confirmed and satisfied our expectations. Keep in mind that the tests were performed with the machine in an “out of the box” state, nothing was tweaked or optimized to skew performance. 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 well as a means of comparison. Your mileage on these evaluations may 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:
8168 MB System RAM (Score: 225)
-.RAM Speed: 17,805 MB/s
CPU Tests (Score: 887
- Floating Point Operations/Second: 207,582,872
- Integer Operations/Second: 1,075,200,168
- MD5 Hashes Generated/Second: 1,504,527
Graphics Tests (Score: 345)
- 3D Frames Per Second: 976
Hardware Tests (Score: 75)
- Primary Partition Capacity: 931 GB
- Drive Write Speed: 203 MB/s
Total NovaBench Composite Score: 1,532
The 1,532 composite score is especially impressive because the average score of other workstations in this class was 708. So, the 3970 XTREME provided more than double the performance in relative terms.
SPECviewperf 11 Benchmark Test:
The scores for the various tests (CATIA, Solidworks, Lightwave, Ensight, NX, and Pro/ENGINEER) are the best I have ever personally encountered and averaged approximately 30% better than any other desktop workstation I have benchmarked and reviewed.
For subjective testing, I ran Autodesk Alias Design, Inventor, Simulation, and 3ds Max. I used a data set of standard models that I have created over the years for this testing, including a model with 50,000+ parts, renderings of complex surfaces, advanced FEA, and animations. The 3970 XTREME's performance did not bog down with whatever I threw at it. I could have run software from other vendors and suspect I would have experienced similar levels of performance, but chose to use only the Autodesk design suite in the interest of time.
If you need a lot of computational horsepower and are willing to spend just a little more for a true engineering workstation, then the 3DBOXX 3970 XTREME is definitely worth your consideration. The relatively small price premium you pay for a machine of this build quality and performance are well worth the price of admission. If you deal with large models or intricate renderings, this is the machine for you.
On many levels this machine is a monster, and I mean that in a good way. Regardless of price, it's been a long time since I experienced a desktop engineering workstation of this caliber and quality. I highly recommend it because justifying its purchase is a no-brainer.
3DBOXX 3970 XTREME Series Desktop Workstation Configuration (As Reviewed)
CPU: Intel i7 Quad Core Enhanced Performance 4.5 GHz
RAM: 8GB DDR
Video Card: NVIDIA Quadro 4000 with 2GB memory
Hard Drives: 20 GB SSD cache hard drive; 1TB SATA
20X dual layer DVD+/-RW Writer
Microsoft Windows 7 Professional Edition 64-bit
Pluses: Build quality; expandability; all aspects of performance; support
Minuses: None experienced – a rarity.
Price (as supplied): $4,102.00
Contact: 877-877-BOXX (2699);
The Week’s Top 5
At MCADCafé we track many things, including the stories that have attracted the most interest from our subscribers. Below are the five news items that were the most viewed during last week.
Hyundai Motor Company and Kia Motors Corporation Completes First Phase of PTC PLM System Deployment PTC announced it has completed the first phase of deployment of its enterprise product lifecycle management (PLM) system at Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Motors Corp. (HMC/KMC). The combined companies represent the fourth largest, and fastest growing, automobile manufacturer in the world. HMC/KMC selected PTC's Windchill as its enterprise PLM solution in early 2011. PTC’s Windchill
consolidates multiple existing systems into a single platform for managing critical product data and related processes for vehicle development. PTC’s Windchill is being deployed within HMC/KMC’s core research and development groups to establish a system of record for the complete vehicle, which will include design data from a range of different systems including CATIA and Pro/ENGINEER (now Creo Parametric). In addition, Windchill will also help handle the complexity caused by the increasing number of vehicle change management requests and, further, will provide a comprehensive Digital Mock-Up (DMU) environment.
Gstarsoft has built PDF2DXF functionality into an integrated add-on to GstarCAD2012 called PDFtoDXF. This function significantly expands the scope of the applicability by enabling users to convert Adobe PDF format drawings directly into .dxf in GstarCAD2012. PDF2DXF is a function developed by Visual Integrity for users who frequently need to convert PDF-based vector CAD drawings into .dxf format, which can be opened as well as edited in GstarCAD2012. Once opened in GstarCAD2012, the .dxf file can be easily saved as .dwg format file.
ETRAGE LLC announced the availability of the Etrage Integration Server (EIS) for PTC’s Windchill PDMLink and Pro/ INTRALINK and the IFS Applications suite.EIS is a flexible, modular data transfer infrastructure that can integrate heterogeneous engineering, manufacturing and business systems from different vendors, such as CAD, PDM, PLM, ERP, and MRP systems for a robust, bidirectional exchange of data between these systems.Etrage’s integration of IFS Applications with PTC’s Windchill PDMLink and Pro/ INTRALINK, using EIS provides, real-time updates of Bills of Materials (BOM) changes into IFS Applications, streamlines data flow between the engineering, manufacturing
and purchasing departments, eliminates manual data entry or processes of large sets of data and insures that manufacturing and purchasing has access to the most up to date BOM and drawings inside IFS Applications.
Theorem Solutions announced its DGN to CATIA V5 CADverter, developed to bridge the gap between plant design and mechanical CAD, resolving issues with incompatible data formats and the ability to complete full design reviews of combined data sets when these two design paths meet.The Microstation (DGN) to CATIA V5 CADverter has been designed specifically to take data from Microstation into CATIA V5 and Delmia. It enables CATIA and Delmia users to take Microstation shared cell instances or reference files which are used to define product structure and create CATproducts in CATIA V5 or Delmia. Then, by taking individual Microstation geometric items and creating a CATpart or CGR
representation it creates geometric representations for use in CATIA V5 or Delmia.
Maplesoft announced the latest version of its testing and assessment tools. Maple T.A. was first released as a pilot project in 2002. Ten years later, Maple T.A. and the Maple T.A. MAA Placement Test Suite continue the tradition of providing major advancements to help institutions offer high quality technical education. Adaptive questions in Maple T.A. 8 give instructors a powerful new tool to improve student comprehension. These questions give extra guidance to students who give an incorrect response to a question, increasing their understanding of the concepts and techniques involved. Knowing the student is having trouble, the question can be adapted to walk the student through the
problem one step at a time, allow students to try a simpler version of the same question before retrying the original, or whatever the instructor feels is appropriate. As a result, adaptive questions give students the opportunity to deepen their understanding without leaving the testing environment, while at the same time giving them partial credit for their efforts.
Jeffrey Rowe is the editor of
MCADCafé and MCAD Weekly Review. He can be reached at
Email Contact or 719.221.1867.
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-- Jeff Rowe, MCADCafe.com Contributing Editor.