Scan 3XS

21 January 2009

Exceptional performance in multi-threaded applications but doesn’t break the bank due to overclocked CPU. By Greg Corke.

Intel’s new Core i7 (Nehalem) platform doesn’t come cheap, particularly when you look at the i7 940 (2.93GHz) and i7 965 Extreme Edition (3.2GHz), which cost around £400 and £700 respectively. But for its latest 3XS workstation, Scan has turned to overclocking to get top-end performance without breaking the bank.

In clocking up a Core i7 920 (2.66GHz) to run at 3.2GHz, Scan offers approximately the same performance as a Core i7 965, but the customer only pays £200 odd for the chip, plus an £80 overclocking charge. This £80 goes towards R & D costs for developing its overclocking platform, additional ‘burn in’ testing, plus to honour three year guarantees on CPU, memory and motherboard, as overclocked components are not covered by standard manufacturers’ warranties.

The result of all this tinkering is a high-performance quad core workstation which absolutely ripped through our 3ds Max rendering benchmark, demolishing the previous record set by a 3.2GHz Core 2 Extreme-based workstation. This was not only due to the high clock speed of its four cores, but also because of hyperthreading, a mainstay of the new Core i7 platform.

Scan’s 3XS has the same Nvidia Quadro FX 3700 graphics card as the CAD2 WSX102, so we were interested to compare results under our 3ds Max, SolidWorks and Inventor graphics benchmarks. Despite the excellent scores put in by the Scan, CAD2’s overclocked Core2 Duo platform still had the edge.

As with all Core i7-based systems memory is best supplied in multiples of three, with Scan delivering 6GB through three 2GB of Corsair XMS3 DDR3 sticks. This is backed up with Windows XP x64 Edition which is a necessity to access all 6GB.

In conclusion, Scan has delivered an exceptionally fast Quad Core workstation, with plenty of graphics power to cope with even the most demanding 3D applications. Comes highly recommended if you’re looking to get the most out of multi-threaded applications.

To find out how DEVELOP3D benchmarks workstations click here

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