We are thinking of two new workstations soon. I am looking into BOXX.
Anyone using these? Please post your experiences.
I bought a Boxx workstation 5 years ago. The short story is that they are expensive, and have a lot of stuff on them that you may not use. The service was good, the machine was good, but in the end, I didn't think it was a very good value, and have since changed to Xi as my main computer supplier.
The long story is that I bought a 17" laptop from Boxx that had a workstation processor in it. It was heavy, and it was hot and loud, but that's what you expect for that kind of portable power. But in the end, it turned out that the bios didn't allow me to disable hyperthreading, which at that time wasn't very helpful for SolidWorks. So after a lot of installing and reinstalling the OS, they took the laptop back, and allowed me to apply that money (over $4k) to a desktop. I got a desktop with the fastest single core AMD processor, if that dates the transaction. The machine worked well. Over 5 years I have had a fan and a DVD drive fail. Boxx sent me a free replacement fan, which I installed myself. The DVD was out of warantee when it failed. I needed extra rails to install another hard drive, and Boxx sent them to me free of charge.
Along with the Boxx desktop I got a lot of extra wires for external power, extra video cables, scsi cables, hard drive cables, lots of extra stuff I didn't even know what it was. The computer turned out to have a lot of stuff I didn't need and never would use. I still have the computer, and use it as a household computer, and it works well. The next computer I bought (from Xi) I paid half the price for, and felt I got a better deal. My feeling is that the Boxx machines I've seen have been spec'ed kind of overkill. The service was good, USA based.
I couldn't be more pleased with our purchase of a BOXX for SW. The primary motivation for me is that I run a lot of lighting simulations in addition to SW and that software will leverage the additional cores of the model spec'd. The performance of SW on this workstation is terrific though. If you look up the benchmark data at Anna's blog for the punch holder the only faster machines are home built (but I lack the skill to build one myself and I like my three year warranty). SW2011 runs the benchmark at 46.11. They are expensive but not out of line when compared to the competition in my opinion.
BOXX 8550 XTREME
Dual Intel Xeon 5680, 4.2Ghz Liquid Cooled
NVidia Quadro 4000
300GB 10K rpm SATA Drive
Win 7 Ultimate 64-Bit
SW 2011 Standard x64 SP1.0
My contact there is Rich Petit
I agree with Harold. We have started to purchase Boxx, and they are screamers (currently have bought 14). The new 4860 extremes are "stripped down and souped up" versions. They must have been listening to the too much stuff installed, as ours are pretty clean. Still have all the extra cables that we will also never figure out, but oh well. For the price comparison, they match up very well with other High end workstations. The entry level workstations though, not so much. The laptop case is not their design, and probably never will be, but the desktops are clean and efficient.
Benchmarking the punchholder at 44 seconds isn't too shabby! Yes, it's overclocked at 4.15GHz Core i7, but it's liquid cooled and very quiet, plus not sure of anyone else out there able to warranty an overclocked system for 3 years.
Well, yesterday I made the purchase of two identical systems:
David - Glad it's working out for you. I continue to be very happy with our purchase and the support. I get calls now and then from Rich just to see how it's going for me. Now I have to get over my monitor envy....
Enjoy your BOXXes
I noticed that Desktop Engineering ran some tests on a BOXX 4860 Extreme in their January issue. http://www.deskeng.com/articles/aaazmf.htm The results were very good - if I recall the BOXX "blew the doors off" their speed records.
I for one will be watching to see what BOXX has come up with in 2-3 years when I'm ready for my next workstation
Yesterday thre was a review in Tom's Hardware Guide that shows the Boxx to be much faster than an HP workstation. http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/boxx-technologies-4860-xtreme-vfx-workstation,2853.html You made a great decision.
The comparison in this review is completely useless. They are comparing one companies base line workstation to anothers much higher end workstation. One has a previous generation mid level video card in it, and one has this generations high end card in it. Finally the BOXX costs more then 2x what the HP does so of course it is faster.
What they need to do is to compare an $8K HP/Dell/Lenovo system to BOXXand see if BOXX still comes out ahead. At those prices the big guys would be selling dual socket workstations, probably with SSDs in them. I suspect the end result might be much different.
I personally find the BOXX systems overpriced when you consider real world usage of them. However this would be highly workload dependant. For something that is highly multi-threaded like FEA a dual core system with lower clock rates might do better but for pure SW modelling work we know that the fastest single core rate you can get is what matters.
but for pure SW modelling work we know that the fastest single core rate you can get is what matters. Corey V
but for pure SW modelling work we know that the fastest single core rate you can get is what matters.
This statement alone trumps everything else for 80% of SW users.
I see BOXX has come out with a 4.5GHz system. Until anyone else can offer a 3 year warranty on a watercooled, overclocked system I will be staying with BOXX. I haven't noticed HP or Dell stepping up to the plate with anything even close.
6 Core Intel Xeon X5650 2.66 12MB/1066 CPU-16 Core Intel Xeon X5650 2.66 12MB/1066 CPU-2HP 24GB RAMQuadro 4000
HP 500GB SATA 7200 (1st)
HP USB Standard KeyboardHP USB Laser Scroll MouseDVD+RWWin7 64
This is the base workstation and to add something extra to this I would personally replace the HDD with a SSD (120gb) for your program drive and then raid two 2TB HDD under this for your data drives then you have a very fast drive.
I reckon this would give Boxx a run for their money, at a lower cost.
It's no mystery that our systems were on the lower end of what BOXX makes and where they really make a difference. Did we pay a premium for our systems thru BOXX? Yes we did. But, for me, getting a person in this country with a direct line and ZERO BS is well worth it.
My last experience with Dell was a nail in the coffin for them. I don't care how affordable the DELL's of the world are, dealing with a person that I can't understand who will likely not work there next week is not the type of experience I want.
I had looked into upgrading my Dell 690 for which I paid nearly $7K and the response from Dell was that my platform was not available in any other format and therefore any changes to the platform would not be supported. That was the third and last Dell workstation I bought. I purchased my BOXX last November (2010) and have been enjoying the performance since. It would be interesting to see the performance of the new Dell or HP machines when somebody finally gets one but I wasn't interested in waiting six months, getting impersonal support, having limited options, having no over-clocking support, etc. Expensive? Not as compared to time lost watching the hour glass or spinning wheel icon on the display as the numbers crunch along until the Dell or HP solution is available.
I'm lucky in that I can chose the PC that I believe will best suit my needs. For many there is a corporate policy in place that dictates "We buy XXXX and that's all." Bummer. For those that can build a workstation and have it perform reliably it would seem the most economic solution but that's not me. I want a warranty and tech support.
I also think that try as much as I might to quantify the reasons for making an objective purchase, there are personal reasons that enter into the decision that make it somewhat subjective which is why people get pretty adamant about their opinions.
It's been a couple of weeks since we received our new BOXX workstations.
It will be some time before we really put the test to these so to speak, however, the would rate total experience so far 9.5 on a scale of 1-10.
Here is what we ordered:
BOXX Technologies 4860Intel, i7-960, 3.20GHz, Quad-Core12GB DDR3 1333NVIDIA Quadro 4000 2GBWindows 7 Ultimate 64-Bit
Monitor: (ordered direct from HP)HP ZR30w 30-inch S-IPS LCD
It was a total pleasure to deal with a small company. Per the recommendation of Harold, we dealt with Rich Petit (email@example.com)
Rich was a pleasure to work with. He's not a guy that hides behind email - in fact, he has called me several times before and after the sale, and since I am old fashion, I welcome the phone calls. And, when I call him, it's simple, he has a direct line...no press 1, then press 3, then press, blah, blah blah.
The systems were quoted as 2 weeks and shipped in about 10 days. The only issue we had was the logo on the case was not straight so Rich sent a new grill to us. The systems are very quiet and they have ZERO bloatwear.
BOXX also approved our small business for credit in just a few hours.
Our systems ran the benchmark just under 65 seconds. I do think we paid a good buck for these but time will tell based on the support going forward.
All in all, it was a very good deal.
Harold, thank you for providing Rich's contact info, he made the difference for me.
I decided to try Boxx a little over a year ago, so I bought a 4850 Extreme (overclocked at 4.15 GHz). We've since purchased 3 or 4 others for our organization, and we've been very happy with their support. My water cooler went out on me a while back, but they shipped me a new one no questions asked. They would have taken it back to do the work themselves as well.
I pretty much agree with the others here - lots of speed I use every day and lots of extras I will never use, but for the price and the 3yr warranty on an overclocked system, I couldn't come close from anyone else. I typically try to replace my workstation after three years anyway. As you probably know SolidWorks loves clock cycles, so processor speed is the ultimate variable here.
As far ax Xi goes, there are some support horror stories floating around this forum. You owe it to yourself to do a search before buying from Xi. We did buy one of their lower end units a couple years back, and it's been fine so far, but it's only running Office stuff and eDrawings.
Hope your decision goes well!
Id just like to again verify what Chad said. I purchased an XI laptop and they delivered weeks late, and it booted three times before burning out. Not to mention a scratched up case. I paid extra for an extended "on site" warranty that was really just phone support.
I sent it back for service, and because I asked that they replace the motherboard and case, (they actually told me they were going to trouble shoot the MB and repair it, and I'd have to live with the scratches) they refunded my money and labeled me too picky and impossible to work with. To make matters worse the OS was not what I ordered.
I went to BOXX and got a better machine (workstation processor) for about the same. Two years later not a single glitch. Knock-Knock.There is not an on site warranty, but BOXX didnt sell it to me that way.
I would recommend BOXX, but more so I would recommend staying clear of XI.
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