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.
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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).
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