Staying Power

Longtime BOXX customers have come to enjoy a level of performance and reliability that they haven’t received from other vendors. We’re proud that the average life of a BOXX system is around seven years – and most are only set aside for faster models. A couple of years ago we did a contest to try to find the oldest BOXX workstation still in service. How old was the winner’s system, still in use, by the original owner? Twelve years. Believe it or not, the runner up lost by only SEVEN days.

The point is, and one we try to drive home, is that our systems pay for themselves. When your livelihood depends on getting the job done, substandard hardware can cost you time, and more importantly, money.

But did you know that it doesn't take seven years for a BOXX to pay for itself? In about three years, on average, you’ve saved enough time, and gotten more done to more than offset the initial cost of a BOXX workstation. For some of our customers that can be cut down to a year, or for some of our rendering customers, it can be a matter of weeks.

See What You've Been Missing

When you’re enjoying a high level of productivity, it’s easy to turn a blind eye to what’s hitting the market in terms of new hardware. Hardware changes at a fast pace, and at some point it’s worth considering an upgrade, even if your system is running just fine. The fact is that there comes a time where the newest hardware will be worth the investment.

In order to illustrate this, we took one of our three-year old gold systems (original models that our support engineers use to rapidly replicate customers issue) – in this case an Ivy Bridge-based 3DBOXX 4050XT featuring a Core i7 3770K overclocked to 4.5GHz and compared it to an all-new APEXX 2 Model 2402 featuring the new Skylake-based Core i7 6700K overclocked to 4.4GHz.

To further simulate a real world comparison, we used a typical configuration from each generation. The 4050XT was outfitted with a Quadro 4000, mechanical hard drive, and DDR3-1600 memory, while the APEXX 2 Model 2402 was configured with a Quadro K4200 (side-note, since the testing was completed for this article, the Quadro M4000 was released and that card delivers even more performance for the same price,) a speedy M.2 PCI-E SSD, and DDR4-2133 memory. Our goal was to design a real-world scenario where a customer with a typical BOXX configuration from three years ago could expect to get more done, faster, with an upgrade to a similar class of system utilizing modern hardware today. The one constant during testing was the software. We ran the same benchmarks on each system in order to be an apples-to-apples comparison – using different versions would make comparing the performance difference impossible. So let’s get started! Kick The Tires, and Light The Fires Roaring out of the gate, the APEXX 2 Model 2402 obliterates the 4050XT in SPECwpc, with increases of up to 283% faster. Keep in mind, we’re looking at the whole system, not just any component by itself. Advanced DDR4 memory, PCI-Express NVMe drives, modern GPUs, and a CPU that has such advanced architecture (while being clocked 100MHz lower) that it outperforms a three-year old overclocked CPU in even CPU-centric benchmarks. Click to enlarge.


Next up, we’ll take the SOLIDWORKS 2015 benchmark and put the two contenders through their paces. You can see that the APEXX 2 excels in every category. From graphics, to processor speed, and I/O (HDD, memory), the APEXX 2 was expected to dominate in this benchmark as well. When your RealView performance is 28% faster and rendering is 24% faster, it’s easy to see how the APEXX 2 Model 2402 is worth the upgrade. But take a look at I/O, which is 33% faster. This is critical for opening assemblies and doing rebuilds! This is a single-threaded activity that also relies heavily on storage speed. So it’s not just all about the GPU and CPU! Click to enlarge.

Finally, we have the RFO Benchmark for Revit Users. With rendering performance up 20% over the 4050XT, and Viewport performance up 33%, you can imagine the productivity that can be had when your upgrade cycle is every three years. Click to enlarge.

In conclusion, we love knowing that there are customers that are still using their BOXX systems for over a decade. That’s an investment that’s paid for itself several times over. But at one point, you have to look at how your hardware may holding you back. Suddenly, an older system may be keeping you from elevating your workflow to a new level. That trusty BOXX will be there for you day in and day out, but if it’s holding you back from your true potential, it may be time to say a loving goodbye and take a look at what the latest hardware can do for you and your workflow. (I’d like to apologize to the 3DBOXX 4050XT for calling it old and busted.)

Further reading:

Overclocking delivers real-world ROI

A Solid State of Storage - What You Need To Know About Storage

APEXX 2 Model 2402 Product Page