By Chris Monlux
The Boxx Apexx 4 is impressive and every aspect of it has been optimized for its specific purpose of media creation.
There are about a million ways to configure an editing system. On top of that, you have the option to build your own, have one custom made, or to buy one off the shelf. Building a system from parts can mean running into compatibility issues and buying a system off the shelf may put resources where you don’t need them. That leaves the option of getting a custom system built. In this situation, you should be able to address your personal use needs, but the system will likely come with the largest price tag.
You can expect every major manufacturer to offer a customizable system, so how do you choose? Many would start with budget, but custom systems can be built to fit just about any budget. This is where Boxx comes in, they consider themselves a different system builder. Starting with their in-house designed, American metal chassis designed to optimize the hardware inside them, they use only enterprise class components and customized BIOS. Their machines have even been factory overclocked; Boxx has been shipping overclocked systems since 2008. Lastly, they offer a three-year warranty that can even include next business day onsite repair.
Boxx offers five different series of desktop workstations, starting with the Apexx 1 and going up to the Apexx 5. At each subsequent level, the systems offer greater buildability and increased size. We reviewed the Apexx 4 6201. The 6201 is just one of six different base configurations in the Apexx 4 line-up.
With the cost of the computer built for this review, you should have high expectations. That’s well enough, because not one thing we threw at it could stop it. We started testing its real world use with how well it handled footage from a plethora of cameras. This isn’t something that we expected it to have any issue with, and it absolutely did not. No matter what we did, from grading to editing and everything in between, no type of footage gave it any grief.
No matter what we did, from grading to editing and everything in between, no type of footage gave it any grief.
We then moved on to testing its ability to render a project that was mixed with multiple types of footage with different bitrates, bit depths and formats. The project contained unrendered motion graphics with tracked motion, stabilized footage and heavy compositing. The project sprang open, was immediately available to scrub through, manipulate and edit. When rendering the project, we didn’t see a large improvement over render times from the fully spec’d out 2015 Mac Pro we used for the project originally. With that said, every other aspect of the project functioned better and unlike the Mac Pro, there was no lag to do anything with in Premiere Pro CC17 or After Effects CC17. We didn’t find anything that could slow this system down.
The marketplace for desktop workstations is quite extensive, but doing a build that is identical to the Boxx isn’t possible. There are no configurations are currently available with the same CPU and GPU, so we got as close as possible. We configured a Dell, HP and Apple to as close to the specs as we could to the Boxx Apexx 4 6201. Let’s take a look at how they stack up.