Workstation Specialists WSX114

11 September 2009

An overclocked workstation with phenomenal performance for CAD, but with four CPU cores running at 4.0GHz it’s no slouch under rendering or simulation applications either

Product WSX114
Company name Workstation Specialists
Price £1,855

Workstations Specialists, the company formerly known as CAD 2, has gone for optimum performance in its latest WSX114 workstation. To do this it’s done a little tinkering and overclocked a Core i7 950 processor (which usually runs at 3.06GHz) to a whopping 4.0GHz. The result is the fastest workstation we have ever seen at DEVELOP3D, backed up, of course, by some of the fastest benchmark scores.

The machine is perfect for CAD in particular, with lightning quick performance in Inventor 2010 and SolidWorks 2009. However, with four CPU cores running at 4.0GHz, it’s no slouch under rendering or simulation applications either. This makes it an interesting proposition to budget conscious users who need excellent performance under multi-threaded applications, but don’t want to compromise on general application and graphics performance by only being able to afford a low GHz dual processor system.

This is illustrated perfectly when comparing the WSX114 (four CPU cores running at 4.0GHz) to HP’s Z600 (eight CPU cores running at 2.4GHz). The WSX114 was only approximately 20% slower than the HP Z600 under our multithreaded 3ds Max rendering benchmark. However, it was nearly 50% faster under our Inventor 2010, SolidWorks 2009 and 3ds Max Design 2010 graphics tests. This is almost entirely down to the speed of the CPU as the graphics card in the WSX114 (Nvidia Quadro FX 1800), is very similar to the one featured in the HP Z600 (AMD ATI FirePro V5700).
In terms of memory the WSX114 is maxed out with 12GB with all six DIMM slots filled with 2GB memory modules. This is a huge capacity for pure CAD and only those working with hardcore simulations are likely to get close to filling this. Still, there’s plenty of room to grow for the future.

The 300GB hard drive may be a little under capacity for some users, but it is 300GB of very fast storage in the form of a 10,000 RPM Western Digital VelociRaptor hard drive. Those looking for additional storage could always supplement this with a secondary SATA drive.

So what are the downsides of the WSX114? If I had to find any fault it would be that the chassis could be a little smaller and it would have better acoustics. It’s not noisy by any stretch of the imagination, but when put alongside the other machines on test this month, which were almost silent, there was noticeable fan noise. This was probably down to ensuring the overclocked CPU stays within its thermal limits, something that Workstation Specialists takes very seriously. It gives every machine a full 15 day ‘burn-in’ running flat out and backs it up with a 36-month full parts & labour warranty.

In summary, the WSX114 is a phenomenal machine. It delivers levels of performance that simply can’t be achieved with mainstream systems that aren’t overcocked. If you’re looking for the ultimate mid-range CAD machine then you may have just found it.

workstationspecialists.com

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