At BOXX, we pride ourselves on solving problems for the professional market. We accomplish this by designing and engineering custom solutions that enable you to work faster, create more, and experience a real impact on your workflow, all while delivering serious ROI to your bottom line. To that end, we employ several techniques to extract maximum performance and reliability from today’s technology. It begins with selecting components that deliver peak performance, not bottom-dollar commodity components built by the lowest bidder. These components deliver incremental performance, value, and longevity, paying for themselves through increased productivity and less down time. We then enclose these components in custom-designed, high-performance chassis engineered in-house and manufactured right here in Austin, TX. Once we’ve integrated high quality components into a high performance chassis, there are numerous ways to push the performance envelope. One of these methods is overclocking. Overclocking helps push beyond the performance bottleneck present in most CAD programs like SolidWorks and Revit. To fully understand the value of overclocking, one must have basic knowledge of a CPU and how it impacts the overall performance profile of a workstation, which is also dependent upon the applications a professional runs. Checkout the APEXX 1, APEXX 2 and APEXX 4 workstations for more details.
WHAT IS OVERCLOCKING?
When companies like Intel look to increase performance of their CPU designs, they have three ways to do so. They can 1) increase the frequency (going from 3GHz to 4GHz, for example), 2) increase the Instructions Per Clock (architectural enhancements that allow a CPU to get more done in the same amount of time), or 3) add CPU cores (four cores, six cores, eight cores, and so on). Of these three methods, adding additional cores will only show a performance advantage when utilizing heavily-threaded applications, like those used to render an image. (This is where it’s important to have a good understanding of what kind of performance your application needs.) Of the two remaining options, the one variable that a solutions company like BOXX has a level of control over is the frequency of the CPU—and that is by design. Take the fourth generation Intel Core processors as an example. These processors are produced on a silicon substrate with many CPUs on the same wafer. They then undergo multiple micro fabrication process steps before they are individually separated. At this point, the processors are “binned,” or separated by performance and capability (not every CPU on a wafer will end up as the same product). After undergoing various tests, some may end up in the i3 family, while others will qualify or be sorted into i5 and i7 products. By design, there is headroom in most of these CPUs. That’s so Intel can extract as many functioning products from a wafer as possible in order to to maximize profit. This means that many models are artificially throttled to run at their rated speed. For instance, a Core i7 4770K may actually be fully functional and stable at 4.3GHz, but Intel caps it at 3.9GHz to ensure that they can maximize the number of 4770K processors they sell.
IS IT SAFE?
Over the years, computer enthusiasts have taken advantage of the fact that there’s headroom in a processor and have employed numerous tricks to make the processor run at higher frequencies. This has become an industry unto itself, with various high-performance cooling solutions created to keep the CPUs cool at higher frequencies. For a while, CPU companies like Intel and AMD turned a blind eye to this activity. Instead, they focused their attention on selling as many CPUs as possible to the multi-national commodity builders who, in turn, had no interest in building a PC with the right components to enable overclocking. Their focus was trained on building the cheapest product that would run a CPU at its rated spec. But several years ago, Intel and AMD recognized the growing market for overclocking products and began offering the option to set the frequency to their customers. You can determine if a CPU has an uncapped (or unlocked, as it is) frequency if it has a “K” or “Extreme Edition” designation in the model. They intended for these processors to be overclocked. And once Intel gave its explicit permission for companies like BOXX to qualify processors at higher frequencies, the market for the supporting components really began to blossom. For instance, the closed-loop, maintenance-free liquid cooling that BOXX utilizes features a 50,000 hour mean time between failure (MTBF) and keeps the processors cool and quiet. It's the same technology from the company Asetek that is used in critical data centers, so you know it has to be absolutely bullet-proof.
OVERCLOCKING DONE RIGHT
Here’s a summary of how BOXX overclocking differs from anything else on the market:
Guaranteed, predictable frequency – Unlike system integrators that focus on gaming, we know that professionals need predictable and reliable speeds in order to get the job done. Other manufacturers overclock their systems on an individual basis, where you gamble on what speed you’ll ultimately receive. To make matters worse, that speed is not guaranteed to continue for the life of the system. Your BOXX overclocked workstation, on the other hand, is guaranteed to maintain its speed from the time of purchase through the life of its warranty.
Truly engineered overclocking – You may notice that we don’t offer our overclocked systems immediately after launching new CPU platforms. That’s because we wait for the final, retail CPUs to become available and then build up to 25 units that (over many weeks) endure rigorous testing. The final result is a stable, safely overclocked system certified in various professional suites like Autodesk.
Locked-BOM design – You only need consider one BIOS with settings that hold the overclock for all of your BOXX workstations (within the same model), because our overclocked systems all rely on the same BIOS (per model.) This is essential for IT groups required to manage dozens (or even hundreds) of our systems.
SO HOW DOES BOXX TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THIS TECHNOLOGY?
These unlocked processors from Intel allow companies like BOXX to achieve higher frequencies, and therefore, provide you with higher performance. We then qualify the high performance components needed (motherboards with the right number of power phases, premium memory, power supplies that deliver clean and efficient power) and match it with the cooling necessary to keep the CPU within a thermal envelope to ensure longevity. We stress-test our overclocks to remain 100% rock stable for even the most demanding applications. Unlike other industries that may overclock, like the gaming PC market, we guarantee a set frequency in the toughest of professional environments. We know that down time costs money, so our overclocks have been certified to work in any number of professional applications. And we have thousands of these overclocked units deployed in various Fortune 500 companies.
WHAT'S THE END RESULT?
An example of our implementation of this technology is the APEXX 2 Model 2402 overclocked to 4.4GHz. In most instances, it delivers more than 20% more performance than a workstation that is not overclocked
But don't just take our word for it, check out what some of our customers have to say about the overclocked performance they receive:
"We’ve just deployed them. Very positive feedback from the users, particularly with Revit load and command execution times. Big increase in productivity on the larger projects." - Harris Consulting Engineers
"I haven’t even been in this machine for 20 minutes and I’m really looking forward to getting the engineers on it. It is impressive! Thank you." - GS Precision
WHAT'S THE BOTTOM LINE FOR ME
In an application like SolidWorks or other CAD software, if you’re not doing frequent rendering, odds are you are operating where single-threaded performance is all that matters. Adding more cores or even going to a dual CPU system will not gain you more performance. Neither will upgrading your GPU. Only by increasing the frequency of your processor will you eliminate the bottleneck and that’s what BOXX is all about. We deliver maximum performance that will provide a real return on your investment. BOXX XTREME overclocking delivers 20% or more performance than a workstation utilizing the same processor from a multi-national commodity builder. This translates into less waiting, and more doing. More often than not, a BOXX overclocked workstation will actually pay itself off within three years. We’ll make sure your workflow is not bottlenecked by single-threaded CPU performance. And when you're free of the artificial performance shackles that a slower computer delivers, you'll get more done, faster. We’ll make sure that you have a reliable system for years to come, and we’ll also make sure to be there to support you with unparalleled expertise along the way. That’s the BOXX Xtreme Xperience. If you’re not doing it on a BOXX, you’re not getting it done as fast as you should be.
To see a real-world scenario where overclocking can save you time and money, please check out our Xtreme ROI page.