Optimized Hardware For Solidworks Simulation

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Solidworks Simulation allows you to test product designs in virtual, real-world environments prior to manufacture. Properly configuring a workstation for Solidworks Simulation can dramatically decrease solve times. A common misconception is that a dual Xeon workstation will offer the best performance. In this article, we’ll address this notion as well as offer insight into the speedup that can be realized when upgrading to a new workstation from an older machine.

Summary:
– Benchmarks show compelling reasons to upgrade your old workstation to current hardware like the APEXX 2
– Benefits of Hyper-Threading
– Why you should buy an overclocked workstation Continue reading

BOXX APEXX 4 Overclocked Desktop Workstation Review

From a Techgage article by Rob Williams on July 22, 2016:

If you’re in the market for a workstation PC, we can assume that you’d have certain demands. It’d need to be fast, of course, but also stable – regardless of the workload. BOXX promises to deliver on both points in spades, and can offer a number of reasons for it. We’ll explore those as we take a hard look at the APEXX 4.

Testing Results & Final Thoughts

This is the first evaluation we’ve had of a preconfigured workstation, so I’m unable to compare it to direct competition. What I can do, however, is compare it to our internal workstation, which uses the same processor (Intel Core i7-5960X), has the same amount of memory (32GB), includes an X99 motherboard from the same vendor (ASUS), and uses the same OS (Windows 7 Professional x64). More about our testbed can be gleaned in our recent NVIDIA Quadro M2000 graphics card review.

One major difference between our internal testbed and the APEXX 4 is that BOXX’s creation is overclocked. Ours runs at stock speeds all-around, which, as you’ll see, leads to some pretty interesting results.

All tests are run twice over, and then averaged. If two results show too great of a delta, then the test is run for a third time to help us find an accurate result. PCs are left to sit idle for 5 minutes after being booted, before benchmarking commences. Tests are run with Windows 7’s GPU-accelerated Aero interface disabled.

Without further ado, let’s dive right into the benchmarks.

SPECviewperf 12

BOXX APEXX 4 TG / M2000 TG / M6000
CATIA 139.19 68.76 138.66
CREO 113.89 57.58 100.60
Energy 9.47 4.03 13.29
Maya 99.64 52.16 109.48
Medical 43.43 19.42 61.29
Showcase 67.86 28.29 87.52
Siemens NX 121.76 64.62 171.05
SolidWorks 163.85 104.73 137.78
All results: higher is better

SPECviewperf benchmarks the viewports found in some of the industry’s leading applications, and the results above serve as a perfect example of why it pays to understand your workload.

In some cases, the overclocked CPU in the APEXX 4 allowed the system to overtake our own test platform equipped with the higher-end Quadro M6000. The important thing to note here: if you use CATIA, CREO, or SolidWorks, you should definitely opt for the fastest CPU speed possible. Conversely, Showcase, Maya, and Siemens NX will benefit more from increased GPU horsepower.

SPECwpc 1.0

BOXX APEXX 4 TG / M2000 TG / M6000
Media & Entertainment 7.93 5.14 6.01
Financial Services 4.78 4.05 4.05
Product Development 6.82 4.45 5.22
Energy 9.17 6.05 7.40
Life Sciences 8.09 5.06 6.47
General Operations 7.3 4.82 4.81
All results: higher is better

Whereas SPECviewperf focuses on the viewport performance of popular applications, SPECwpc is much more well-rounded, taking into account things like encoding and rendering, as well. Because it simulates robust projects, these tests will also benefit from increased I/O speed. Our test platform uses a standard SATA-based SSD, while the APEXX 4 offers a PCIe-based one, which is monumentally quicker, both in throughput and IOPS performance.

In these particular tests, the increased I/O has made a significant difference, and the increased CPU speed helped push it over the top. All of these tests outside of Financial Services include an IO test, and no surprise: it’s the test with the lowest performance delta between it and our own test platform.

Click Here to Read the Full Article from Techgage.com

My Active Studio

WorkingShot

Steve Choo’s boutique design, VFX, and animation studio, My Active Driveway, goes big with BOXX, creating national commercials for high profile clients.

By John Vondrak

Awhile back, BOXX Technologies’ Inside Sales Manager Dustin Leifheit approached me regarding a customer named Steve Choo. ”He has a company called My Active Driveway,” Dustin said, “and I think it would make a great customer story.” Dustin, like all of our performance specialists, occasionally feeds me the names of BOXX customers (or BOXXers as we like to refer to them) that other BOXXers, and those who wish to be BOXXers, may enjoy learning about. Since we try to alternate our customer story subjects to equally represent our different industry segments I’ll confess that my response to Dustin’s suggestion was decidedly lackluster. I had just completed an architecture/construction customer story and was not keen to immediately follow it with another. “I just wrapped an AEC story,” I said, “so I may hold off on this one for awhile.”
“It’s a VFX and animation studio in New York,” Dustin replied. I was having trouble reconciling the name My Active Driveway. It sounded as if they were into concrete, building driveways or roads. “Interesting name, I know,” he smiled.

So, when I first reached the perpetually busy Steve Choo, my first question was obvious. “What’s with the name?” I inquired. After first insisting that it was “really not a great story,” he relented. “When I first moved to New York,” Choo said, “I was trying to go to a friend of mine’s art gallery opening. I was driving around the Lower East Side just looking and looking for a parking space and every time I thought I had found one, there was a ‘No Parking: Active Driveway’ sign there. So I said to myself, one of these days, if I ever open my own company, I’m going to have my own active driveway.”


MAD_01Making a Go

Steve Choo arrived in the Big Apple right after graduating with a BFA in painting from the Kansas City Art Institute. He went to work as a Flame artist, then a 3D Maya artist (prior to its existence as a power animator) in the production department at BBDO, the worldwide advertising agency. Yet in the wake of 9/11, he decided to start his own company.” It was a time when a lot of my friends were leaving,” he recalls. “They just left town, some going as far as to leave the country, but I decided to stick around. I was going to try and make a go at starting my own company in New York— try to rebuild a little bit here and keep the work local. It might have always been in my subconscious, but after that day, my thought was ‘You never know what’s going to happen tomorrow, so if I want to do this I should do it now.”

So My Active Driveway INC. a boutique design, VFX, and animation studio, was founded in New York City in 2001. According to Choo, the past 15 years have seen the studio scale up and down in staff size, property, square footage, machinery, and equipment. “We’ve made ourselves adaptable to the industry’s climate, says Choo. “Having come from an agency background at BBDO NY, I had a solid understanding of the ups and downs of the industry. When business is good, we’re running on all cylinders, pumping out work as fast as possible. But when there’s downtime, you want to make sure you’re not just burning fuel.” Choo believes that this level of experience and understanding ultimately led him to BOXX. “It’s why,” he says, “after trying so many other products, we stick by BOXX as the backbone of our studio.”

At one point, Choo and his My Active Driveway team did what a lot of other studios have tried. In an effort to save money, they built their own systems instead of adding to or upgrading from their existing Dell computers and BOXX workstations (in this case, a 2008 model 3DBOXX 8404 and a 3DBOXX 4860 purchased in 2011). “Workstations, custom render farms, and custom servers,” Choo recalls, “you name it, we tried it. We always thought, we can save money by just doing it ourselves and that sort of worked for awhile—until it didn’t. Then we were in a deadline and panicking because there was no support for our custom-made equipment that broke down during the job.” To make matters worse, there were other mitigating factors that Choo had never really considered. “Honestly, in the long run, if you calculate all the hours and research, as well as enormous electric bills, we wasted a lot of time, money, and frustration,” he admits. “Not to mention, every freelancer that worked with us was always fighting over who got to use the BOXX workstations, rather than our custom builds, or even the Dell systems.”

Continue reading

DE Reviews APEXX 1 1401

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We have reviewed quite a few workstations from BOXX Technologies over the years, most recently the BOXX APEXX 2 2401 and 2402. But we have never reviewed anything like the APEXX 1 1401. In photos, it resembles a typical tower, yet this new system — billed as the world’s smallest workstation — is less than 9-in. tall and weighs just 7.6 lbs.

Our BOXX APEXX 1 came housed in a white case with black plastic strips along its four angled corners that serve as feet so it can be positioned horizontally. The system measured a mere 4.7×9.6×8.8 in. (WxDxH), 75% smaller than the APEXX 2. The APEXX 1 requires an external power brick, similar to a laptop computer. The 300-watt power supply included with the APEXX 1 is quite large, however, measuring 7.7×3.9×2 in. and weighing more than 2 lbs. That power supply connects to the rear of the case via a square 6-pin connector similar to those typically used to route power inside a conventional workstation.

An angled panel along the top front edge of the case provides headphone and microphone jacks, a pair of USB 3.0 ports, and a round power button along with a reset switch and indicator lights for power and hard drive activity. In addition to the power connector, the rear panel houses six more USB 3.0 ports, a USB 3.1 Type A port, a USB 3.1 Type C port, an RJ45 network jack, two HDMI ports and a DisplayPort for the CPU’s integrated graphics, a PS/2 mouse/keyboard port, S/PDIF out port, and three audio jacks for microphone, line-in, and audio-out.

The APEXX 1 includes Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. The rear panel includes two screw-on connectors for a small external antenna. The antenna provided a fast, wireless connection to our LAN on either 2.4 or 5GHz bands in lieu of the gigabit Ethernet port.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL REVIEW
CLICK HERE TO READ THE DE REVIEW OF APEXX 2 2402

DE Reviews APEXX 2 2402

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After testing the diminutive APEXX 1 from BOXX Technologies, it seemed only fitting that we follow up with a look at an updated version of the more conventional BOXX APEXX 2. When we reviewed the original APEXX 2 last year, it proved to be one of the fastest single-socket workstations we had ever reviewed — not a big surprise because the company has consistently delivered some of the fastest over-clocked workstations.

Our original APEXX 2 2401 came with a 4th generation Intel “Devil’s Canyon” CPU, a processor featuring 22nm lithography and improvements in thermal efficiency compared to the previous Haswell and Broadwell processors. The new APEXX 2 2402 is based on a 6th generation Skylake CPU. The new APEXX 2 gave us a chance to compare two nearly identical workstations to see for ourselves whether Skylake lived up to Intel’s performance improvement claims.

The BOXX APEXX 2 2402 came housed in a custom-designed aluminum chassis measuring 6.85×16.6×14.6 in. (WxDxH) and weighing 19.75 lbs. As in previous BOXX workstations, the front grille conceals a pair of 4-in. diameter cooling fans and holds a filter to trap dust before it can enter the interior of the case. On the APEXX 2, one of those fans is actually part of the CPU liquid cooling system.

A single 5.25-in. drive bay above the front grille housed a 20x dual-layer DVD+/-RW optical drive as well as a panel containing two USB 3.0 ports, two USB 2.0 ports, audio jacks for headphone and microphone, a round power button with bright-white LED power indicator, a blue hard drive activity light, and a small reset button. A Blu-Ray R/W drive is a $212 option.

The rear panel provides four additional USB 3.0 ports, a USB 3.1 Type A port, a USB 3.1 Type C port, an RJ45 network jack, HDMI and DVI ports for the CPU’s integrated graphics, a PS/2 mouse/keyboard port, an S/PDIF out port and five audio connectors (microphone, line-in, line-out/front speaker, center/subwoofer, and rear speaker).

CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL REVIEW
CLICK HERE TO READ THE DE REVIEW OF APEXX 1 1401