Engineered with SOLIDWORKS for SOLIDWORKS Users

As a 3D CAD engineer or product designer, SOLIDWORKS enables you to transform ideas into new, innovative products. No one know understands this better than BOXX Technologies’ engineering team, the elite professionals who rely on the CAD application to design custom chassis for all of our APEXX workstations and one-of-a-kind renderBOXX and renderPRO dedicated rendering systems. These enclosures, manufactured in the USA, require precise design in order to accommodate features like overclocked or dual processors, liquid cooling, SSDs, multiple GPUs, and more.



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AEC Magazine Review: BOXX APEXX 2 + renderPRO 2

By dedicating a high GHz workstation to CAD and a dual Xeon box to rendering, designers can have optimised hardware for both processes. The workflow benefits can be huge, but the package doesn’t come cheap, writes Greg Corke.

Ray trace rendering is arguably the most computationally intensive process in any architectural design workflow. It is highly multi-threaded so it absolutely hammers all of a workstation’s CPU cores. It is also extremely scalable, so doubling the number of cores can, in many cases, halve the render time.

Most CAD software is very different in that it is a single-threaded process, so the majority of tasks are performed on one CPU core. This means it thrives on a high-frequency (GHz) CPU. Performance will not increase if you add more CPU cores.

This presents a big challenge when choosing a workstation for both CAD and rendering. The highest frequency CPUs have the least number of cores, while the ones with the most cores tend to have the lowest frequencies.

As a result, architects and engineers must accept that there will always be a trade-off — or must they?

Custom workstation manufacturer BOXX offers an alternative solution by dedicating separate machines to each process. CAD work is done on the BOXX APEXX 2, a high-frequency Intel Core i7 desktop workstation, while the rendering is handled by the BOXX renderPRO 2, a networked, dual Intel Xeon rendering machine with lots of cores.

As both machines work completely independently of each other, it also means that the BOXX APEXX 2 workstation is able to dedicate almost all of its resources to CAD modelling when the BOXX renderPRO 2 is rendering.

In contrast, when a traditional desktop workstation is set to render flat out, it will often become sluggish, making it almost impossible to do any meaningful CAD work.

There are ways to get around this. Users can reduce the number of cores assigned to the rendering task, either by changing processor affinity in Windows Task manager (so specific applications use specific CPU cores) or by applying more granular control of CPU core usage inside the rendering application. But that means renders come back slower. Continue reading

Lanmar Services – A BOXX Customer Story

 

 

Lanmar Services, an Austin, Texas-based architectural firm, specializes in scanning buildings and transforming those scans into 3D models for the world’s leading architectural and engineering firms. Their projects include One World Trade Center, The Sears Tower, The Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center, The Rose Bowl, and countless other sports stadiums. Continue reading

GeForce GTX Rendering Benchmarks and Comparisons

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Since a lot of you are asking about GPU rendering (and the NVIDIA GeForce cards have become so popular for rendering) we decided to compare the current high-end GeForce cards using a more realistic benchmark than the exterior car scenes which have become so commonplace.

When it comes to GPU rendering, it doesn’t get more real than Kevin Margo’s short film CONSTRUCT which was rendered on a BOXX GPU-dense workstation using V-Ray RT. Thanks to our friends at Chaos Group, we were able to get our hands on one of Kevin’s 3ds Max CONSTRUCT scene files for some testing. In this article, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of using high-end GeForce GTX cards for final frame production rendering.


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Blinn’s Law and the paradox of increasing performance

Original post by Joe Pizzini

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Painters have their brushes, sculptors have their chisels and VFX artists have their powerful workstations. All trades rely on specialized tools to get the job done, but what happens when rapidly advancing technology is applied to the modern creative process? As a 3D artist, what are the advantages of upgrading and utilizing the latest processing power? One of the obvious answers would be that your renders will finish in less time. While this is certainly a key advantage, one could argue that it is just the low hanging fruit when deciding whether or not to upgrade your hardware.

Let’s think of a writer and the tools they use. Modern writers can churn out words, make edits, check spelling, and receive feedback at speeds that Shakespeare could only dream of. Does this mean that writing is easier today than it was 400 years ago? While it’s clear that the speed at which one can write is drastically faster today, it still takes about the same time to write a novel.

Herein lies the paradox. Why can’t a writer complete a novel in ten days given the advantage of modern computers? The answer is because technological advances in the writing process have presented an opportunity for more creative iterations. More plots to explore and characters to develop. Continue reading