Lenovo ThinkStation C30

30 January 2013

The Lenovo ThinkStation packs two Intel Xeon CPUs into a smaller than average chassis

Product ThinkStation C30
Company name Lenovo
Price £3,999

Lenovo’s ThinkStation C30 is a remarkable feat of engineering. Two Intel Xeon CPUs crammed into a chassis that’s smaller than most single processor workstations. It’s also incredibly quiet, even under intense loading.

There is of course a trade off in having such a compact frame. The C30 only supports two GPUs and up to 128GB of memory. In reality though, this really shouldn’t matter for most CAD/CAM/CAE workflows.

Lenovo’s choice of Xeon E5-2640 CPUs suggests our test machine is more suited to simulation than design visualisation.

The two six core chips should offer good price/performance for FEA or CFD, whose solver codes tend to peak at 2 or 3 cores per job. Ray trace rendering, on the other hand, thrives when more CPU cores are thrown at a problem, so really warrants investment in two eight core Xeons.

With this in mind some might consider the rest of the system to be a little unbalanced — 16GB RAM too light for complex CAE workflows and the 2TB 7,200RPM SATA crying out for a 256GB SSD to add some punch to the storage. However, if £4k is at the top end of your budget, don’t fret.

For most simulation workflows, the more cost-effective Quadro 2000 or 4000 should be an adequate replacement for the high-end Quadro K5000, though it’s worth noting that both these cards are a generation behind.

Of course, the C30 can pretty much be tweaked for any processor-intensive workflow. Its beauty lies in its chassis, which as far as we are aware is unrivalled when it comes to compact dual CPU workstations.

To view comparative scores from other workstations please click here
For details of all our specific CAD/CAM/CAE benchmarks click here

Specifications

» 2 x Intel Xeon E5-2640 (2.50 GHz) (6 cores)
» 16GB (4 x 4GB) PC3-10600 1,333MHz DDR3 ECC
» Nvidia Quadro K5000 (4GB)
» 2TB SATA 6Gb/s HDD 7,200RPM
» Lenovo motherboard (Intel C600 Series chipset)
» Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64
» 3 year-on-site

CPU benchmarks

(secs - smaller is better)
CAD (SolidWorks 2010) - N/A
CAM (Delcam PowerMill 2010) - 1) 197 2) 201 3) 243
CAE (SolidWorks 2010 Simulation) - 108
Rendering (3ds Max Design 2011) - 129

Graphics benchmarks

(bigger is better)
CAD (SolidWorks 2010) - N/A
CAD (SolidWorks 2013) - 48
CAD (Creo 2.0 - SPECapc graphics test) - 5.31

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