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).