04 October 2012
A Core i7 3770K CAD workstation boasting impressive 3D performance and a secret weapon
|Company name||InterPro Workstations|
Intel’s ‘Ivy Bridge’ Core i7 3770K now looks to be the processor of choice for mainstream CAD. In this new workstation from Stafford-based InterPro the 3.5GHz chip has undergone ‘entry-level’ overclocking.
InterPro does not divulge the exact clock speed, but with our CPU tests running about 4% slower than Scan’s 3XS GW-MT15, we expect it’s below 4.4GHz.
InterPro’s mid-sized machine comes with a generous 16GB of memory. With all four memory slots filled with 4GB DIMMs there’s no room for future upgrades though.
The IPW-iB’s secret weapon is the FirePro W5000, one of AMD’s new Southern Islands Graphics Processing Units (GPUs).
The 2GB card performs well in SolidWorks 2010, even though it does yet take advantage of AMD’s SolidWorks optimisations.
User of SolidWorks 2010 — 2012 should get a boost with the next round of SolidWorks service packs, but those upgrading to SolidWorks 2013 later this year should get the full performance straight out of the box.
The FirePro W5000 plays its trump card inside PTC Creo 2.0. The graphics score of 5.85 is head and shoulders above anything currently possible with Nvidia Quadro GPUs. AMD’s close co-operation with PTC on developing the Creo 2.0 graphics engine seems to be playing big dividends here.
InterPro has gone for a bold choice in storage — a single 240GB Solid State Drive (SSD) with no supplementary SATA drive.
This shouldn’t be an issue for those that mostly store data on servers, but is not really sufficient for local CAD work. A 1TB or 2TB SATA can easily be added at time of purchase without pushing the price up much.
InterPro’s chosen SSD is a 240GB Intel SSD 330 Series. While the drive is intended more as a retail product, there are many similarities with the more expensive Intel SSD 520 Series.
Indeed, the read and write speeds of 500 and 450 MB/s are only slightly slower than the Intel 520’s quoted 550MB and 520 MB/s. However, the Intel 520 does come with a 5-year limited warranty.
Overall, the IPW-iB is a good all round CAD workstation, which boasts particular impressive 3D performance in PTC Creo 2.0.
» Intel Core i7 3770K (3.5GHz with entrylevel overclock) (Quad Core) (Ivy Bridge) CPU
» 16GB (4 x 4GB)DDR-3 1600MHz (PC3-12800) memory
» AMD FirePro W5000(2GB GDDR5) GPU
» 240GB Intel 330 Series SATA3 SSD
» ASUS P8Z77-V motherboard
» Microsoft Windows 7 Professional Edition (64-bit)
» 3 year return to base (Incl parts and labour)
(secs - smaller is better)
CAD (SolidWorks 2010) - 207
CAM (Delcam PowerMill 2010) - 1) 142 2) 218 3) 307
CAE (SolidWorks 2010 Simulation) - 82
Rendering (3ds Max Design 2011) - 212
(bigger is better)
CAD (SolidWorks 2010) - 48
CAD (Creo 2.0 - SPECapc graphics test) - 5.85