Intel's fifth-generation Broadwell processor range has already been superseded by the sixth-generation Skylake at the lower end of the market and on notebooks. But the workstation Xeon E5 Broadwell only just arrived. After the all-conquering Armari Magnetar M44-AW1200G2, we now have a slightly more affordable alternative in the shape of InterPro's E Series E200BWE. That is, it would be if it weren't for the graphics.
Not content to ship two of the most recent Intel Xeon E5 processors, InterPro (opens in new tab) has also chosen to include the fastest workstation graphics card currently available, with the largest frame buffer: the Nvidia Quadro M6000 24GB. This is a pricey 3D accelerator, but there will be no modelling task it's not up to.
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Returning to the processors, the E200BWE sports a pair of Intel Xeon E5-2687Wv4 CPUs. These provide 12 cores apiece, but with Intel HyperThreading the grand total is 24 virtual cores, which should romp through rendering tasks. They're no slouch when it comes to clock speed, either, with a 3GHz nominal frequency. But a single core on each can reach 3.5GHz, and all 12 can run at 3.2GHz.
So whilst these CPUs aren't quite as extreme as the Xeon E5-2697Av4 processors in Armari's system, they still offer a good balance of single-threaded and multi-threaded performance, and are more reasonably priced. The processors have been partnered with 64GB of 2,400MHz Registered ECC DDR4 memory, supplied as just four modules. This leaves 12 DIMM slots free for future upgrades.
Storage is extremely generous, with a capacious 1.2TB Intel 750 Series NVMe SSD for OS and applications. This will have room for loads of software, and is one of the quickest storage devices currently available. Continuing the theme of generosity, a pair of 4TB Seagate Desktop HDD.15 SATA 7,200rpm hard disks are also included, so there will be oodles of space for 3D and audiovisual assets. There's a Pioneer BDR-209M 16x Blu-ray rewriter and multi-format card reader as well, completing a comprehensive range of storage options.
Unsurprisingly, performance is stunning in every area. The Maxon Cinebench R15 rendering score of 3,898 is only bettered by Armari's stratospheric 4,768, thanks to the latter's extra four cores per CPU. The Cinebench R15 result of 134.17 isn't quite so outstanding, as this test is constrained by clock speed, but it's still good. The Nvidia Quadro M6000 graphics card really shows its mettle in SPECviewperf 12, though. The maya-04 score of 88.69 is pretty impressive, as is 126.63 in sw-03 and 150.41 in snx-02. But results in catia-04, showcase-01 and energy-01 of 147.18, 93.33 and 14.16 respectively are all the fastest we have ever seen.
So the InterPro E Series E200BWE is an exceptionally capable workstation, with extremely fast rendering and some of the most fluid modelling we've seen. The Quadro M6000 card does push the price up considerably, and you'd shave around £2,500 off by opting for the almost-as-quick Quadro M5000. But if your work does require inordinate quantities of frame buffer, this system has the graphics memory – and storage – to cope with ease.
This article originally appeared in 3D World issue 211; buy it here (opens in new tab)!
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