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Marco Solorio
04-12-2005, 01:51 AM
So I've specked out two *exact* systems for our next 3D workstation; one from Boxx and the other from Dell (I've looked at Alienware). For the same exact specs (listed below), Dell wants $5637 and Boxx wants $6869... OUCH! :eek:

So why is the Boxx $1232 more than the Dell for the same exact system? :confused: What is the benefit from the Boxx that's worth $1232 over the Dell? I know that Dell doesn't list their motherboard types in each of their systems, but I can't believe there's many MOBO options to choose from at this CPU config. Then again I may be wrong. Nonetheless, I've not had any MOBO issues with all the many Dells I owned thus far.

This isn't a "versus" post or about which is better. My facility is FULL of Dells, from workstations and notebooks and our render farm is completely Dell. I've heard great things about Boxx and don't doubt they're ability to perform, but why so much?

System specs:

Dual Xeon 3.6 @ 2MB Cache. 800 MHz FSB. 2 GB RAM. 250 GB SATA. Nvidia FX 4400 video. Both have 3 year warranty.

Note: This will ONLY be used for 3D... no video editing, compositing, etc. That's performed on other systems (the OSX machines actually).

I also have plenty of experience building my own computers (espeically during the Windows NT daze before Dell was what it is today) but building one would seem to cost about as much as a Dell anyway, minus the knowledge of what MOBO you're getting. But as mentioned, all my Dells haven't had MOBO issues anyway.

I'd hop onto the Boxx Bandwagon in a second... if I knew why I was paying $1232 more for the same system!

Any advise or insight?

Thanks,

ned
04-12-2005, 04:41 AM
You are paying $1232 more for the Boxx because of the name.

Buy the Dell.

Hervé
04-12-2005, 04:57 AM
well, dunno... I still have a dual AMD from Boxx... runs 24/24 365days / year... never had one single glitch... so who knows... ask Proton about it, he 's a big Boxx fan.... :D

WizCraker
04-12-2005, 05:28 AM
main reason is Dell Inc., sales hundreds of thousands computers a day. Just in the Small bus. department they sale $2.5 Million in profit in a single day [I use to work for Dell] They can afford to drop their cost on computers as they are still making around $3000 off that computer.

Boxx on the other hand is most likely only making around $2000 for their system as they only sale maybe a couple thousand a day if that. You are not paying for the Name just quality over quanity.

Dell manufactures 25,000 computers a day at one just one plant. That is just the business based computers which is 80% of all Dell computers sold. It is all done by Humans in the Austin Texas at that plant.

Boxx does not come close to that manufactureing number which by the way they are based out of Austin Texas as well.

Dell can get parts cheaper than any other computer company, they buy them when the truck arrives at their manufactering plants. The trucks from say Intel arrive 3 times a day, say market share for 1000 volume of processors is 0.19 cents each. Dell would say we will give you 0.16 cents each per 1000 volume.

Dell is a big company they can afford to spread the cost of their systems across different 'company' computers. [company as in small bus. home sales, government, educational, healthcare, reseller, et cetra] The cost is distributed to all customers and Dell in the end walks away with major profit per day.

Boxx on the other hand is a small company built on quality first before quanity. Their systems are built to last, and if you buy 2 or more computers they will be exactly the same if you choose the exact configurations.

Dell's computers are not [as stated above the buy in bult, the build so many computers that there is a high chance that even though you order 2 or more of the same configuration those 2 or more will have a chance of not having the exact hardware. [one reason why Dell does not list mobo goes in. Also depending on computer depends on what mobo you get. Harddrive, CDRW, DVDRW, Vid Cards are usually standard across the board. Everything else is made specific for Dell depending on computer design. As the Optiplex GX 260 will have a different mobo than an Optiplex GX 280, and the Dimension XPS will ave a different one compared to the other Dimensions. Each Class of is different they come preassymbled to lock into the case].

JML
04-12-2005, 08:42 AM
I would say buy the dell too.

(or buid it yourself, I got a dual 3.2ghz with 1gb a few weeks ago for 1700$)
(video card not included)

Important :
price of single xeon 3.2 is about 400$
price of single xeon 3.6 is about 700$
a difference of 400Mhz worth 300$ ? hell no.
dual 3.2 vs dual 3.6 , 600$ difference... faster, yes , but not
worth 600$ I think..

JML
04-12-2005, 08:43 AM
for workstation I would not get it from boxx.

but I would get a renderboxx from boxx for sure, those things are amazing..
(and good price/speed ratio I think)

trick
04-12-2005, 09:29 AM
Marco,

I don't know if you spec'd the Dell on their website or you got a quote from a salesrep. Make sure you CALL the rep, because they always give a better quote then what is listed on the site, especially for a $5000+ machine. It surely is worth the try....And then it will be a lot cheaper then the BOXX.

BTW I'm very satisfied with my fully spec'd Dual Xeon...

WilliamVaughan
04-12-2005, 10:22 AM
Boxx systems are more expensive but I've had no problems what so ever with the 2 I use.

I used to own a company that had nothing but Dell systems and every single one of them was crap...We had problems from day one and things just got worse.

I prefer to deal with a smaller company that knows me buy name and not buy number.....it's a personal preference of mine...

I've never heard any complaints from a Boxx customer but have heard plenty from Dell customers....in the end you have to buy within your budget and if you can't justify the extra expense then go with a Dell.....

I'd suggest contacting BOXX and talking to someone like John Tobin and have him explain to you why there is a price difference...if you agree with what he says then buy a Boxx....if it still doesn't sound right to you then Buy a Dell...

Never buy something unless you know what your getting yourself into....otherwise you will live with buyers remorse....


Hope that helps.

WilliamVaughan
04-12-2005, 10:26 AM
One more note that I forgot about....


Dell systems will ship with all sorts of OEM software that you don't need and just waste space....and try and remove it....it's not fun. You can't even pay more to have them not include it.....they can't legally do it.


Boxx systems ship with an OS and that's it...nice and clean ready for you to install exactly what you need .....

seems like a small detail but for me it is key....I only want what I want on my system....not what the company has been paid to put on there

Captain Obvious
04-12-2005, 10:48 AM
The Dell probably has a piece of <censored> power supply, and like proton said, ships with horrible OEM software.

In my (admittedly somewhat limited) experience, Dell's hardware quality is downright horrible. Not things exactly breaking, as such, but the fans sound horribly, and they never use standard parts, so the only way to get it fixed is by Dell. Once the warranty is gone, if the computer breaks, you'll have to pay to get it fixed. You can just pop out the power supply and stuff in a new one you got from Newegg.

On the other hand, Boxx might be just as bad.

Cobalt
04-12-2005, 10:56 AM
I'm a happy Boxx user (1 3DBoxx R2 workstation and 3 Renderboxx's). Everything is 2 - 3 years old and there have been no problems at all.

I didn't pay for these machines out of my pocket, but if I was going to get a new workstation for myself at home ... I'd seriously consider Boxx.

Plus, each time the Boxx was delivered, I got a cool t-shirt with a great logo.

nthused
04-12-2005, 10:58 AM
One note, Proton.

Although by default the Dell machines come installed with...stuff, we'll call it. The Workstations I've purchased (about 20 in the last 5 years) have come with pretty much nothing but the OS. The key is only buying Precision workstations.

That said...after dealing with the Dells...I'd like to try a Boxx.

JML
04-12-2005, 11:32 AM
we have both here and I would say that both are good, as stable and powerful.
boxx computer are usually good because they chose some of the best components.
but I noticed their workstations are a lot overprice though. (compared to other brand with same specs)
some dell have good components, just don't look in the 500$ range.

to resume, don't compare a 500$ dell with a 2000$ boxx system.

Captain Obvious
04-12-2005, 11:42 AM
to resume, don't compare a 500$ dell with a 2000$ boxx system.
Good point, but I don't think it's too much to demand that a $1200 Dell will come with fans that don't sound like a broken vacuum cleaner. ;)

hrgiger
04-12-2005, 11:53 AM
Boxx is selling overpriced systems because they can't sell in the kind of bulk that Dell does.

Sounds like Proton is on the Boxx payroll....

I've never had a problem with either of my two Dell systems.

As far as the OEM software goes, that's a moot point. I always install a fresh copy of Windows anyway and so I get rid of that crap right away.

Buy the Dell.

Earl
04-12-2005, 12:15 PM
I've never owned a BOXX, but I'm willing to bet that they are the type of people who will optimize the insides to give you the best peformance. A company like Dell couldn't care less about RAM latency timings, etc. I own a Dell Precision workstation at work. The computer was shipped right to my office door, so no shmuck touched it before me. I can say that they did not install anything extra on this, they left that up to me (they provided me the disk). In fact, upon boot up I saw the "Starting Windows for the first time" message, so I know it was a clean install. Either way, this thing gets slow for no reason (it was a $5500 machine at the time). I can't update the Quaddro video card drivers because Dell hasn't updated them, and if I update them with the latest drivers from nVidia then the whole machine goes nuts and ceases to function. I admit that Dell has good support, but if it were my money, I would go for a BOXX any day of the week. Also, the Dells that I've used personally have all suffured from USB port issues. That, and their CD burner sometimes goes on vacation while I'm still at work.

WilliamVaughan
04-12-2005, 12:21 PM
Sounds like Proton is on the Boxx payroll....


Does that mean that your on Dell's payroll? :P

I guess my Boxx payroll check is lost in the mail for the past couple of years :)

It's quite known that If I like something I'm not shy to talk about it. I have a Boxx at Home...a Boxx at work and the Dave School has a crap load of Boxx systems and Render Nodes. So I have experience working with Boxx systems....I also did all the SIGGRAPH LW8 demos on a GoBoxx without any problems...many thought I was on a desktop system.


My comments are based off of my experience with both Dell and Boxx systems....nothing more...nothing less.


in th eend buy what you think is right....if you have a good experience with something then your set. That is why I will always buy Canon cameras...have never had issues with any Canon camera....the list goes on from there

JML
04-12-2005, 12:31 PM
I'm working on a dell at (work) it was near 1500$ when we bought it (P4 3.2, 2GB)
I can't hear the fan at all and works great.
I'm not a dell fan, I'm just saying there are bad and good dells.
and there are probably only good boxx (because they don't have cheap configs, only good ones) (just like alienware, hypersonic-pc,etc..)

we also have 5 renderboxx and those are great too.

the best is to build it yourself though. :)
(just choose the same components that those companies are using and assemble it yourself, you will save TONS of money and have a stable marchine..)
(except if you forget to put the thermal compound ;) )

hrgiger
04-12-2005, 01:50 PM
Does that mean that your on Dell's payroll? :P



No, I was just saying that given a choice between two identical systems and one is $1200 cheaper, I gotta go with the cheaper one. $1200 is another computer, albeit a lower end one then the workstation he's looking to buy in this case. It could also be some **** nice plug-ins, peripheal hardware, video/compositing software, the list goes on....

Puma
04-12-2005, 02:35 PM
No, I was just saying that given a choice between two identical systems and one is $1200 cheaper, I gotta go with the cheaper one. $1200 is another computer, albeit a lower end one then the workstation he's looking to buy in this case. It could also be some **** nice plug-ins, peripheal hardware, video/compositing software, the list goes on....

I'd take exception to that. How much is your time worth? BOXX works to fine tune their hardware and software drivers. If a BOXX of equal specs performs 0.05% better than a similar Dell, that time will add up. Driver issues are a big problem. Waiting for 2 months to get a driver update eats up time and money.

The Dells we have work great as office/admin machines. They are a bit clunky running 3D apps and you have to get the updates from Dell in many cases. Even running as render nodes, the Dells are often outperformed by lesser machines. Dell creates machines for the masses. We aren't the masses.

Personally, the best machine is scratch built. I like using local vendors over internet vendors even if the cost is a bit more. I like to have someone I can go to if there's a problem. They really can transfer you to another rep if you are standing in their store. Support is more important that cost.

Captain Obvious
04-12-2005, 03:14 PM
No, I was just saying that given a choice between two identical systems and one is $1200 cheaper, I gotta go with the cheaper one. $1200 is another computer, albeit a lower end one then the workstation he's looking to buy in this case. It could also be some **** nice plug-ins, peripheal hardware, video/compositing software, the list goes on....
The problem is that they're aren't really indentical. Which one has the best RAM? Which one has the best power supply? In my experience - and this is also something 95% of all hardware enthusiasts will tell you - having a bad power supply or bad RAM are two of the main causes of instability in Windows. Plus, of course, the driver issues... I'm not saying the Boxx is a better buy. I am, however, saying that the Dell is not necessarily a better buy just because it's cheaper and has the same processor.

Steve Reeves
04-12-2005, 03:25 PM
One other reason that Dell may be cheaper is that they have an exclusive deal with Intel - Dell (biggest PC manufacturer on the planet probably) agrees only to sell Intel CPUs, Intel supply bulk quantities at cheapest prices.

From the posts here BOXX appear to supply both AMD and Intel - so they would not benefit from such an agreement.

Dell (I have heard) may be considering dropping that agreement with Intel as demand for AMD has grown but I may be out of date with that info.

As an aside, my experience of Dells (have bought about 20 for work - although not in the same class as the machines we're talking about here it has to be said) is that they are 'average' in terms of components and performance - reasonable value, especially if you want all the stuff that comes with it.

Anyways, BOXX is so much cooler - far more street cred! So why are we having this discussion ;)

(not that I can afford a BOXX!)

Take care.

Captain Obvious
04-12-2005, 03:53 PM
Dell (I have heard) may be considering dropping that agreement with Intel as demand for AMD has grown but I may be out of date with that info.
Dell have said that they're toying with the idea of having AMDs in their more high-end computers. Servers, gaming systems, workstations... such things.

ned
04-12-2005, 04:00 PM
Here's a Dell reliability datapoint:
I have been buying Dell's for 7 years. Have 7 at home and 22 at the school where I teach computer animation and video. Never have had one single problem with them.

They are not workstations. Mostly 4500 and 4700 series Dimensions with lots of disk space. Nothing fancy with video either. But they are soldier--on 24/7 some of them for 4 years now.

And I'm not exagerating when I say no failures. I mean zero, ziltch, nada with the Dell's. Only PC failure I've had in almost 30 years of PCs was a 3rd party IBM SCSI drive I installed in a Dell workstation! Imagine that--IBM and SCSI. Two words that used to equate to reliability.

Buy the Dell and spend the extra $1232 on FPrime and a nice monitor or two.

WilliamVaughan
04-12-2005, 04:04 PM
here's a big one!

If you upgrade your Boxx system it doesnt void your warranty.....


Also...ask Dell about LW :)

Boxx support team are familiar with LW and other high end 3d apps...nice bonus!

Boxx alo guarantees that LW will run great on their systems!


more to chew on!

hrgiger
04-12-2005, 04:25 PM
I'd take exception to that. How much is your time worth? BOXX works to fine tune their hardware and software drivers. If a BOXX of equal specs performs 0.05% better than a similar Dell, that time will add up.


Well that's silly thinking. You would pay 18% more money for 0.05% increase in performance? If I'm going to pay 18% more, it better give me 18% more performance. You could easily buy two decent lower-end workstations for that price that would probably together outperform the one $6k one. Especially considering you could have one rendering while still being able to model, texture, animate, or whatever with the other one.

JML
04-12-2005, 04:28 PM
Boxx support team are familiar with LW and other high end 3d apps...nice bonus!
Boxx alo guarantees that LW will run great on their systems!


I can see your field is marketing :)

Cesar Montero
04-12-2005, 04:32 PM
One note, Proton.

Although by default the Dell machines come installed with...stuff, we'll call it. The Workstations I've purchased (about 20 in the last 5 years) have come with pretty much nothing but the OS. The key is only buying Precision workstations.

That said...after dealing with the Dells...I'd like to try a Boxx.

That is very very right. I own a Dell computer. For 2 years I have putted a lot of processing day and night on that machine, and it never fails. So far after using it daily, It has crashed two times only. The clue is to evade the installation of crap into it. Any computer will crash if you put more than the necessary for what you are working. Remember too that computers are as fast as it's slowest component

Puma
04-12-2005, 04:45 PM
Well that's silly thinking. You would pay 18% more money for 0.05% increase in performance? If I'm going to pay 18% more, it better give me 18% more performance. You could easily buy two decent lower-end workstations for that price that would probably together outperform the one $6k one. Especially considering you could have one rendering while still being able to model, texture, animate, or whatever with the other one.

Not at all. I don't know what the performance increase is between Boxx and Dell. I do realize that Boxx doesn't use "value edition" hardware. That's enough reason to get the better system. As far as time is money is concerned, if I can save a day every 3 months by having better hardware, I've more than made up for that little $1200.

maxxwv
04-12-2005, 04:50 PM
Just to throw in my two cents here - I specc'd out a Dell machine a while ago (not bad, but not bleeding edge, either...). I didn't look at the Boxx, as there's just no way for me to be able to afford the price, tho' I certainly wish I could. On a whim, I started calling the local computer shops - I ended up getting the exact same sytsem (except I got a 120 gig harddrive instead of the 80 gig I specc'd from Dell) for about $350 less than the Dell price. And I know exactly what processor is in the machine, what video card I've got - and I don't have to wait for anyone but NVidia to release updates. Preinstalled soft was a moot issue as I actually had an OS here and got a blank drive. Plus, no shipping.

Basically, I'm saying check your local stores. Even without actually building the system yourself, it's still possible to save money over any of the major vendors and get equal - or better - hardware. True, your local guys and gals probably won't know LW from Word, but if there are any hardware questions during the build, you can post here and somebody's bound to have a experience with it and know the good and bad.

I have no experience with the higher end Dells (I've used a couple at work, but they were definately lower end models. If they weren't, noone here would be defending Dell...), and I have no experience with Boxx. I do, however, have a neat plug-in that I used quite a bit that I bought with the left over cash!

hrgiger
04-12-2005, 05:04 PM
As far as time is money is concerned, if I can save a day every 3 months by having better hardware, I've more than made up for that little $1200.

Well, as I said, buy two systems- one to work on, one to render with and you could save yourself a day every day instead of every three months.

Puma
04-12-2005, 06:09 PM
Well, as I said, buy two systems- one to work on, one to render with and you could save yourself a day every day instead of every three months.

I still would want cheap hardware. Spec out a dual Opteron system from Dell with 4 GB RAM a Quatro FX 3400 with a 500GB RAID. You cant. Dell is very limiting to graphics professionals. Not to mention more expensive than scratch built. I wasn't being a proponet for Boxx. I'm a proponet for getting decent hardware, it pays back in so many ways.

It comes down to this: Your deadlines depend on you getting work done. Would you rather have two barely adequate machines or one decent one that's designed to do the work you do?

ravantra
04-13-2005, 09:14 AM
As a very small side business I build a couple dozen systems a year for 3D and AEC businesses in my area. I agree with WizCraker it would costs me about $2400 for me to build it and I will turn around an sell it for approx. $5000. Nice markup but you have to factor in support which I pay a 3rd party for . I have had issues with Dell before, for instance I once ordered 4 identical $4500 workstations for a company all spec'ed identically to save on spare parts and convenience......well everyone was slightly different.....hard drives from different manufacturers...different motherboards and such.....so much for standard. If you don't need support build it yourself or have a local small company build one for you. With what you save you will NEVER spend that much to replace anything that may break. Just my 2 cents.

MikeMD
04-13-2005, 08:06 PM
If building it yourself, you can build about the same ( performance wise ) machine as Dell or Boxx for less than $3000.

Both of those prices are ridiculous.

JML
04-13-2005, 10:04 PM
If building it yourself, you can build about the same ( performance wise ) machine as Dell or Boxx for less than $3000.

Both of those prices are ridiculous.


yep ! and I think even less than 3000$

and again, they (both) are charging a lot for a dual 3.6 because dual 3.6 is the
lastest chips... and you pay a lot for the best (and too much)

here are some price near me: (US dollars) (price of only 1 chip)

XEON 2.8 /1MB GHz $279
XEON 3.0 /1MB GHz $359
XEON 3.2 /1MB GHz $419
XEON 3.4 /1MB GHz $569
XEON 3.6 /1MB GHz $849

the 3.6 (because it's the highest right now) is incredible overprice compared to the others, and it's NOT incredible faster.

but if you want the best, that's your choice, but prepare to pay a lot

pauland
04-14-2005, 01:17 AM
Everybody seems to think that the value of a PC = cost of the components.

Many people don't want to worry about every detail of what goes inside, they might not want to spend hours putting it all together to find that they've got a duff memory chip or the MB is shorting or the PSU isn't beefy enough. Many people don't want to be worried about sorting it out if it keeps rebooting or fails completely after two weeks use.

If you're comfortable building stuff and have the spare time then building PCs is fine. If you want to avoid the potential hassle when something doesn't work of having to spend hours/days fixing it, then buying a machine saves you from that.

I happen to think that many talented people out there could probably save money buying machines because they would probably earn as much in the time they would otherwise devote to hardware.

We're all different, building is good for some, buying for others, but the cost of components doesn't = value of buying.

There's a lot I like about Dell - I have an inspiron and they keep sending me intersting offers. I suspect having a Dell isn't as cool as having a BOXX machine and even that might be important if you're looking to wow clients in your offices. I also have a soft spot for the (in company size) underdog.

Good luck with your choices!

Paul

howardt
04-14-2005, 04:33 AM
Everybody seems to think that the value of a PC = cost of the components

Yes, agreed that this is not quite true, but there are plenty of places that will (1) check the components you pick for compatibility; and (2) assemble them and load the OS. And do this for a very nominal fee ($50-$100). I was going to build one myself but when I found out how reasonable the build fee was from monarchcomputer.com, I just had them do it. I've had zero problems with my Athlon64 system from them, built in December.

pauland
04-14-2005, 04:43 AM
Yes, you're right, though in comparison to Dell and Boxx, I guess they won't sort out your system if it develops a fault two months down the line.

Here I am putting in the good word for ready-made systems, yet I've built all my stand-alone PCs. I wouldn't do it if I had enough work to allow me to pay someone else to do it rather than waste that time myself.

Paul

mattclary
04-14-2005, 07:31 AM
Sounds like Proton is on the Boxx payroll....

That's kind of funny, Steve. If I remember correctly we have both been accused of being on Newtek's payroll. ;) I wouldn't knock Boxx until you've tried one. One of the Boxx honchos is on CGTalk all the time, seems like a real good guy. If I didn't roll my own, I'd probably buy a Boxx. Sometimes it just feels better to buy things from someone you can actually talk to (like Newtek and Boxx) vs. a huge faceless entity like Dell.

beverins
04-14-2005, 09:29 AM
I haven't been able to try a BOXX, because of the price. However, my Dell Precision works fairly well.... though I made the mistake of putting an ATI card in them. Alas. Have to save up for a replacement card. ^_^

I don't know about BOXX's component replacement system, but I do rather like the Dell approach of just sending you the part, and then you put the old piece back into the box you got the new part in, and send that back, postage paid by Dell.

Wade
04-14-2005, 10:35 AM
And if your budget is ****only 1,200.00**** then build out a Shuttle XPC - parts from newegg. Life can be very nice at only 1,200.00. - Ok maybe more like 1,895.00 for all the dodads, but for those of us who have not the BIG bucks - a deal.

:)

Puma
04-14-2005, 12:11 PM
And if your budget is ****only 1,200.00**** then build out a Shuttle XPC - parts from newegg. Life can be very nice at only 1,200.00. - Ok maybe more like 1,895.00 for all the dodads, but for those of us who have not the BIG bucks - a deal.

:)

I have one of these at home, and it's a great little machine. Now I'm kicking myself for getting it. I'm starting to work with stuff that requires more memory than the XPC mobo can support. I'm trying to see if I can buy myself another machine and use the XPC as a media machine connected to my TV. The XPC also has an issue with my Audigy2. The onboard sound on the XPC is ok, but not nearly good enough for anything remotely professional. If you are just a hobbyist, it's fine.

All this being said, it's by far the quietest system I've ever used. That was my main reason for getting it. The second reason, it's footprint is really small and sets on the desk away from my 14 month-old daughter fingers.

hrgiger
04-14-2005, 12:43 PM
That's kind of funny, Steve. If I remember correctly we have both been accused of being on Newtek's payroll. ;) I wouldn't knock Boxx until you've tried one.

Hey Matt, I wasn't knocking Boxx (or Proton) in regards to that statement. I'm sure Boxx builds great workstations that are focused on graphics but I'm just a little appalled really at the price of the workstation in question whether it be from Dell or Boxx. As a lot of people have pointed out here, building your own can save you money. But more importantly, I think you're really wasting a lot of money that may not give you significantly better performance. As you very well know Matt, Lightwave doesn't seem to take full advantage of Open GL as some other programs do (you've even advised me personally before against spending a lot of money to upgrade my video card at what you say would be a minimal increase of performance). I just wonder really how much more performance you get out of a $6k workstation(in regards to Lightwave) then just a really nice $2k system. The performance doesn't seem to be there for the price.

MikeMD
04-14-2005, 07:49 PM
Yes, you're right, though in comparison to Dell and Boxx, I guess they won't sort out your system if it develops a fault two months down the line.

From my friends' experiences neither will Dell. Their and most other big companies' tech support are clueless.

You are actually better off assembling a computer yourself and fixing it yourself if something goes wrong. You will save time.

mrunion
04-14-2005, 07:57 PM
FWIW:

In Computer Arts March 2005 Issue (#107), they rate 5 systems. AMong them are a Dell and a BOXX. The BOXX was ranked SECOND and the Dell ranked FOURTH.

That's only the opion of a writer or magazine, and everyone has opinions. I just thought I'd throw this out for you guys. I don;t own a Dell or BOXX for my stuff, mines a peice-built system.

Whichever you choose, I wish you the best of luck with it. May your machine never die.

Marco Solorio
04-14-2005, 11:28 PM
In Computer Arts March 2005 Issue (#107), they rate 5 systems. AMong them are a Dell and a BOXX. The BOXX was ranked SECOND and the Dell ranked FOURTH.

Well don't keep us hangin'... who was first and third?!!!

Tease, tease! :rolleyes:

mattclary
04-15-2005, 05:28 AM
I agree, Steve. I still prefer to build my own.

mrunion
04-15-2005, 08:26 AM
First was something called an "RM Workstation" and third was a red-colored box just called "3D Workstation" -- It kinda looked like a game cube! I don't remember 5th. I was just thumbing through the article and haven't read it yet.

If my mushy brain doesn't forget, I'll post a few more details so it's clearer later on this evening.

Kelly Dove
04-15-2005, 03:11 PM
Hi everyone!

Very interesting thread going on here...so out of curiosity I went to Dell and BOXX websites and configured the system specs that Marco posted and the BOXX was $384 cheaper than the Dell.

BOXX: $6168.00
http://www.boxxtech.com/products/cf_step3.asp?ModelInstanceID=556&QuoteID=635508&Key=557361499

Dell: $6552.00
You'll have to reconfigure the system (and be sure the add a second processor) because Dell won't let you view the quote URL, it reverts back to the suggested model
http://configure.us.dell.com/dellstore/config.aspx?c=us&cs=04&kc=6W463&l=en&oc=670rec&s=bsd

Kelly Dove
BOXX PR

Marco Solorio
04-15-2005, 03:28 PM
Very interesting thread going on here...so out of curiosity I went to Dell and BOXX websites and configured the system specs that Marco posted and the BOXX was $384 cheaper than the Dell.

I don't know how you're getting those numbers. I just went to the Dell link you supplied, entered in the processors, RAM, HDD, display card, etc., and it still comes out to only $5637. Are you removing the MS Office stuff it puts on as default and applying the -$400 instant savings? It's a radio button just below the display card options. Those two combined take off about $725.

Glad to see a Boxx rep chime in though! Any insight is appreciated.

Thanks,

hrgiger
04-15-2005, 03:31 PM
Yeah, I didn't think that was right...

JML
04-15-2005, 04:15 PM
I priced it and I get 6,178 from dell web site
(and 6,168 for boxx)

if I would have to choose between the two, I would get the boxx for sure !

if you want to get the price right on the dell page, don't forget to add the 2 dual xeon 3.6 , the graphic card 4400 , the 2gb of ram (2 dimms) and the 250GB sata drive.

Kelly Dove
04-15-2005, 04:18 PM
Dell Configuration
Entered through the Large Enterprise Portal on the Dell home page
Base Price: $1832.00
Dell Precision Workstation 670Config:
Intel® Xeon™ Processor 3.60GHz, 2MB L2 Cache [add $850]
2nd processor
Intel® Xeon™ Processor 3.60GHz, 2MB L2 cache [add $1,199]
OS:
Microsoft® Windows® XP Professional, SP2 with Media
Memory:
2GB, DDR2 SDRAM Memory, 400MHz, ECC (2 DIMMS) [add $800]
Hard Drive Configuration:
C1- All SATA drives, Non-RAID, 1 drive total configuration
Hard Drive
250GB SATA, 7200 RPM Hard Drive with DataBurst Cache™ without RAID [add $190]
Graphics Card
512MB PCIe x16 nVidia Quadro FX 4400, Dual DVI or Dual VGA or DVI + VGA [add $1,600]
Monitor
No Monitor Option [subtract $169]

This includes the cheapest mouse and CD-ROM drive available

PRICE: $6302.00

If you do this same configuration in the Small Business section, you do indeed get a price of $5778 (I failed to take off the Microsoft Office and the $400 rebate).

Depending on which portal you enter at the Dell web site, you can get different prices for the exact same configuration. You won't experience that on the BOXX site. If you take the $390 difference between BOXX and Dell in the above config. and break it out over 18 months, it works out to 71 cents a day more to own a BOXX that is built and certified for the most popular DCC software, with a track record that is unmatched in the industry and a team of dedicated support professionals that are highly knowledgeable of DCC software and hardware.

Right now, BOXX has a great promotion going--the Ultimate Swag Bag Promotion that is running April 12-22. We have many partners that have joined BOXX to give back to the community during NAB in a way that has never been done before. If you add the value of the Swag that comes with a system purchased online during this time, you are adding anywhere from $500 to $13,000 in extras that are specific to DCC. Newtek joined in the promotion with LightWave. You can see the details at:

http://www.boxxtech.com/promotions/nab.asp

See what you think...

Kelly Dove
04-15-2005, 04:26 PM
Okay, our marketing director said to put this out there...

THE FIRST person to buy that exact configuration online today (April 15) at BOXX before 6:00 pm CST gets a FREE 4300 workstation.

http://www.boxxtech.com/products/4300.asp

Puma
04-15-2005, 07:31 PM
Okay, our marketing director said to put this out there...

THE FIRST person to buy that exact configuration online today (April 15) at BOXX before 6:00 pm CST gets a FREE 4300 workstation.

http://www.boxxtech.com/products/4300.asp

Did anyone take you up on this offer?

WilliamVaughan
04-15-2005, 09:08 PM
Okay, our marketing director said to put this out there...

THE FIRST person to buy that exact configuration online today (April 15) at BOXX before 6:00 pm CST gets a FREE 4300 workstation.

http://www.boxxtech.com/products/4300.asp


How did I miss this....very cool!

Marco Solorio
04-16-2005, 02:08 AM
THE FIRST person to buy that exact configuration online today (April 15) at BOXX before 6:00 pm CST gets a FREE 4300 workstation.

Well, had I seen this earlier today, I would have dinifinitely given it serious thought. However, the question still remains on the cost of the two units. I still do not know how you're getting such a high price on the Dell website. I'm still getting about $1200 less than the Boxx site. Now don't get me wrong, I'll definitely get a Boxx if I can see the value of the difference in cost (and I can to a certain degree) OR there actually IS an error in my calculations. To prove this, here's a PDF file of the system I generated on the Dell website...

BTW, will Boxx be at NAB? I didn't see them on the expo floor roster but I know you guys are doing the freebe give away with Boxx purchases.

Thanks,

trick
04-16-2005, 02:11 AM
Hi everyone!

Very interesting thread going on here...so out of curiosity I went to Dell and BOXX websites and configured the system specs that Marco posted and the BOXX was $384 cheaper than the Dell.
...
Kelly Dove
BOXX PR

AGAIN: there is a whole world of difference between the Dell price from the website and a quote from a sales Rep. If I lived in US I really may be attracted by the BOXX's, but here in Europe a precision is far more attractive in price and support: in the last 3 years I had 3 issues which required some attention and they were all solved within 24 hours onsite. Is BOXX doing onsite repairs ? (Don't tell me they don't need repairs, because that is the most repulsive salespitch I know...).

There is one thing you just must not do when you buy Dell: don't put dual Xeon's, a top QuadroFX and some 10/15k rpm U320 Scsi disks in one case: that will surely give problems. Always get an external SCSI case. This may be better with the components BOXX chooses, but because of the heat issues from these components, system life will ALWAYS degrade, even with the best cooling hardware available !!!

mouse_art
04-16-2005, 02:42 AM
One side say this the other that.

I have some relative and they have not such good experiences(na, quite the contrary) with DELL and support(Europe).


I build my own workstation and had never problems, and it runs...runs...runs...runs...and so on.


And it makes fun too to build the own System. ;)

Bigboy
04-16-2005, 06:23 AM
6k for a PC! Must be great to be made of money :(

Build it yourself and you could build 2 for that.... have a main machine, and a dedicated renderer.

6k.... Waste of money. Hell, build 1 great desktop, and 4 slightly slower render machines and get a great renderfarm started!

Just think, a normal 2.6-3gig PC will render pretty well, and you could build 3 for around $1500. That will render far more than a single dual. And your spending 6k!
(over in the UK, I built a 2.6Gig PC for £150 (no software, use Linux if you want a render farm), I could have racks of these for the £3,000 that your spending!)

Oh, and dont splash out of the biggest Gfx card you can find...unless your going to use it for BIG games for the next 3 years. LW doesnt use cards very well (in fact no 3D program does), so get a good one..say a 6800/6600 or something, and save yourself the cash.

OH! And dont buy scsi unless theres a d-a-m-n good reason. IDE is very stable these days, get a couple of big drives and a good RAID controler and you'll save a fortune and wont notice any difference. Rendering ISNT HD intensive...Ram and CPU is what you need, just get a big enough drive to work from.

6K!!!!!

JML
04-16-2005, 02:19 PM
here is an example if you would build it yourself,
838$ - 2 dual xeon 3.2
or
1698$ - 2 dual xeon 3.6 (crazy price to get right now)

299$ - motherboard Asus NCCH-DL
176.67$ - 1gb DDR3200 corsair
176.67$ - 1gb DDR3200 corsair
500$ - ati or nvidia 'gaming' card (will do well with lightwave)
100$ - dual xeon powersupply
169$ - hardrive 250gb sata-150 8mb 8.5ms
179$ - DR530UL, 8x External DVD+/-RW
149$ - winXP pro oem SP2

total price for
dual 3.2 : 2587.34
dual 3.6 : 3447.34

add probably like 100$ if you want somebody to build it for you.

Marco Solorio
04-16-2005, 03:23 PM
JML, your input in this thread is much appreciated. Where are you guys getting the best deals on parts if we dediced to go that route? I haven't built workstations since my Windows NT "daze" but the construction knowledge is still there.

BTW, don't forget to add Win XP to that price list!

Boxx, Dell or Homebrew... such a dilemma!!!

Marco Solorio
04-16-2005, 05:12 PM
One other thing...

Not to change the topic too much from this thread, but does anyone know of a motherbaord that supports quad Xeon processors AND PCI-Express? The only quad Xeon mobos I've seen have either built-in video (blah) or standard PCI/PCI-X since they're server based. I would definitely be interested in building a quad Xeon beast if a mobo existed with PCI-E.

Why aren't there any quad-CPU workstations out there for us 3D people? Heck, in the mid 90's (I think 1996), we owned the infamous Daystar Gensis MP800+ which was a Mac-clone supporting four 200 MHz PowerPC chips... it cost us almost $10k brand new back in the day! :eek: Makes a great door stop now! :(

I want power! Maxwell Renderer is thirsty!!! :D

Thanks,

nthused
04-16-2005, 05:20 PM
Marco.

Soon we'll have dual core chips with 2-processor MBs. That'll be four real processors...right?

Marco Solorio
04-16-2005, 05:28 PM
Soon we'll have dual core chips with 2-processor MBs. That'll be four real processors...right?

I've been seeing this too, but if that too was in a quad setup, that would be like 8 CPUs!!! :D

Looks like XP has a max of only 2 CPUs, so I guess the dual-core idea is the only option to hope for. I just don't understand why the hardware technology isn't keeping up with the software technology. Such a bummer.

nthused
04-16-2005, 05:57 PM
Marco.

XP supporting only 2 CPUs is something that never occurred to me...that IS a shame. Of course, I cannot afford anything now...so it really doesn't matter that much.

JML
04-16-2005, 08:33 PM
JML, your input in this thread is much appreciated. Where are you guys getting the best deals on parts if we dediced to go that route? I haven't built workstations since my Windows NT "daze" but the construction knowledge is still there.
BTW, don't forget to add Win XP to that price list!
Boxx, Dell or Homebrew... such a dilemma!!!

most of those price were from a computer place near me, (where I bought the parts for my HOME computer.)
I heard newegg.com is pretty good to buy parts, but I personnaly don't like buying components over internet because of warranty (if it doesn't work, you need to reship it,etc...)(and if you get the components from shady web site, some of the conponents will probably be bad..)

in your case, since you are getting it for your company, I would go recommend getting a BOXX.
when you have many computers, you may not want to waste your time on troubleshooting. so getting the computer from boxx or dell is probably a better option if your case.

what I was saying mostly is that you should be getting a dual 2.8,3.0,3.2 and maybe 3.4 max if you get a good deal, and getting a gaming card.
spending this amount of money on this FX4400 video card is a waste of money for LW (as other will say too) and spending 2 times the amount on a dual 3.6 than on a dual 3.2 is a pretty much a waste of money I think.

838$ - 2 dual xeon 3.2
or
1698$ - 2 dual xeon 3.6
'6.4ghz' is 2 times more expensive than '7.2ghz'

nthused
04-16-2005, 08:44 PM
...I heard newegg.com is pretty good to buy parts...[/B]

I personally buy all my parts from newegg. Very fast service.

Had an issue one time (bad PS). No questions, fast return...but obviously not as fast as running down to your local store.

Continue to buy from them as I just purchaced 4 ViewSonic 17" LCDs from them. Ordered Thursday - at my office on Monday.

Love it.

nthused
04-16-2005, 08:47 PM
Saying what I just did...I too would recommend buying from BoxxTech for your company. As you're buying tech support with it.

Hate being the IT guy when things go wrong...and they will sooner or later :-)

byte_fx
04-16-2005, 08:51 PM
Where are you guys getting the best deals on parts if we dediced to go that route?

newegg.com and gamepc.com both carry core cpmponents at decent prices. Gamepc is competetive with newegg on cpu prices and also sells the Asus ncch-dl mb as well as building and selling systems using it.


XP supporting only 2 CPUs is something that never occurred to me

Server 2003 supports more cpus and is actully more efficient - meaning render times take a smaller hit from the OS - than XP. More fun to set up to max eficiency but not hard to do.


Why aren't there any quad-CPU workstations out there for us 3D people?

Mainly because bus speeds are already near to being swamped with two cpus, ram, SATA drives, etc. That's why the only four cpu mb's I've found only support cpu FSB's up to 533 mhz. At this point anyone building four cpu boxes can save a bunch of money by going with much slower cpus - they will, in effect, run renders as fast as faster cpus that are bottlenecked at the bus. Look for major bus speed/capacity improvements - they're on the way but probably won't be readily available - i.e. affordable - for a couple of years.

Side note on Dell (that may already have been mentioned) .... Dell uses proprietary pinouts on their mb's and power supplies. That means that should the time arise in the future that you want to start swapping stuff around most likely this will result in fried mb's and/or power supplies if mated to non-Dell components.

Either build yourself or buy BOXX - that's my advice.

byte_fx

Marco Solorio
04-17-2005, 01:52 AM
Thanks for the input, everyone. So there's some interesting points that have been raised...

1. I've been seeing some of this info about LW (and other 3D apps) not fully supporting the heafty OpenGL cards. What in the F is this all about? Why wouldn't the 3D app developers be all over improving their product by using this powerful hardware to their advantage? This boggles my mind! On the other hand, Newtek has been kickin' but the last few months... If this new 8.3 update doesn't have better OpenGL support, then maybe in the not too distant future? Then I'd KICK myself for not getting that beefiest OpenGL card. To this end, what 3D apps DO take advantage of everything these high-end OpenGL cards have to offer?

2. The Boxx system is looking good. And, JML, you're right, I would prefer to get something pre-built since it is for the biz and it will be crowned as the main 3D workstation (the others get moved down the line). But all these Dells I own have been really good to me. I'll be finalizing my decision this week during NAB.

3. With prices so good on the build-it-yourself concept, I may just want to build one anyway for the heck of it. This way there's no pressure if something bad happens and I can then compare it to the pre-built ones I already own/will own. I still wish I could build a quad CPU with PCI-E though! Grrrrrr.

4. Going on the Server 2003 point... what about compatibility with all the software? Not just Lightwave (which it sounds like it's fine) but what about all the 3rd party plugins and stuff?

5. I've been looking at those 3.2 GHz prices against the 3.6 GHz prices and it really is a big difference. But then again, it's almost a 1GHz speed difference in total! Hmmmmm.


So is it just me or does it seem like Moores Law is tapering out? Even on the Macs it seems things are tapering out. We were promised dual 3GHz G5s last year and we still don't see them (although the rumor now is that Apple will roll out dual-core CPUs at 2.7GHz for WWDC). Like I said, the hardware just doesn't seem like it's keeping up with the software advancements. Grumble. :-/

hrgiger
04-17-2005, 11:36 AM
Moores law is tapering. Processor speeds have not doubled in the last 18 months or we would be at almost 6GB processors by now. I think we've almost reached the peak of silicone processing. I have a feeling we're going to see some new kind of computing in the next year or two. Perhaps fiber-optic or some sort of light beam transmissions?

It's just a thought but I would reccomend going with the 3.2's over the 3.6's GB. Save yourself a lot of money and put yourself into a position to upgrade sooner when the next thing comes out that you want. I never buy the fastest thing because the prices are always overinflated when it comes to cost vs. performance. For example on pricewatch.com:

2.8 GHZ XEON: $220

3.0 GHZ XEON: $259

3.2 GHZ XEON: $317

So basically it only costs you $39 to go from a 2.8 to a 3.0

But to go from a 3.0 to a 3.2, the same increase in speed, will cost you $58

It seems like a small difference in this case but the newer it is, the more unecessarily inflated the price is.

Puma
04-17-2005, 02:02 PM
1. I've been seeing some of this info about LW (and other 3D apps) not fully supporting the heafty OpenGL cards. What in the F is this all about? Why wouldn't the 3D app developers be all over improving their product by using this powerful hardware to their advantage? This boggles my mind! On the other hand, Newtek has been kickin' but the last few months... If this new 8.3 update doesn't have better OpenGL support, then maybe in the not too distant future? Then I'd KICK myself for not getting that beefiest OpenGL card. To this end, what 3D apps DO take advantage of everything these high-end OpenGL cards have to offer?


The 3D graphics programs aren't designed for a lot of real-time 3D. We'll see more and more support over the next few years. They may even start tapping the GPUs for rendering.

The only reason I can see for getting the highest end of Graphics card is if you produce 3D applications or you are showing output to customers. The high end cards give you much better color output.

hrgiger
04-17-2005, 02:42 PM
I'm hoping that the new ppu's coming out later this year will be supported by 3D applications and not just for games.

Marco Solorio
04-17-2005, 04:31 PM
So I was all set and ready to buy a top-of-the-line nVidia FX4400 with this new workstation. So if it's no real benefit, [sigh], what are you guys using that's the "highest-end" that LW can really take advantage of? Right now we have ATI 9800s and ATI X800s (the x800 is giving us a weird pixel redraw issue that's annoying; driver updates have done nothing to solve it). We really want to go with nVidia as we've been hearing more positive things about them than ATI.

And how come you never hear anyone talk about the 3DLabs Wildcat Realizm cards??? Seems they have the most amount of RAM on any of the cards. Straight off their website...


“The recent release of LightWave [8] incorporates a whole suite of new character animation tools including a new dynamics system, faster IK and FK tools and a whole new suite of bone editing tools,” said Dr. Andrew Cross, vice president of software development at NewTek. “Coupled with the Wildcat Realizm 200, LightWave 3D users will enjoy an even greater boost in productivity.”

So they talked about the Realizm 200 and not the 800. But still...

Is it strange to you guys that consumers in the professional market are willing to pay top-dollar for high-end tools to better their productivity, yet the developers don't have their act together to really supply that demand??????? :confused:

Puma
04-17-2005, 05:46 PM
I have a Quatro 3400 at work. As far as basic LightWave use there's no difference than with my Radeon AIW 9600 at home. The biggest difference I see is the Quatro has a much truer color. It's one of those things the average person can't see, but then again most people can't see compositing outlines in movies. It's a subtle difference, but it's there. I'd never buy one for home use, but I'm glad I have it at work.

hulagirl7
04-17-2005, 10:10 PM
$1000+ difference is a big deal considering in this industry we need to
upgrade a system at least every 18 months. That's almost $70 a month
more for the same system. Yes, I enjoy "personal service" and friendly
support, and yes, it's worth something. $50+ a month per seat?
Makes ya wonder...

I don't like Dell... matter o' fact I when i started my studio
and bought 16+ systems, I had a terrible time with support!
But I haven't found a better price/quality. Sad, i know...

Computers are disposable, now. The local Goodwill doesn't take them
for donations anymore, because they don't need win95 systems!

I'm all for Dell-competition! Alienware, Boxx, anything! Squash,m flat!
But free market means I don't have to pay for them to be competitive.
And I don't see the added value in the others, yet.

And depreciation on a system these daze
is a joke and unreal! 3 years? We'll be in flying cars by then...

14 and famous
04-19-2005, 12:43 PM
I should say BUY A MEDION (but then you should live in germany or the netherlands)
they really have good systems :p for cheap prices AND an awsome service
for example: within the 3 years warranty your PC brokes.
next day they drive by pick the system up and within a week you'll get a brand ne one :D

mattclary
04-19-2005, 01:17 PM
So I was all set and ready to buy a top-of-the-line nVidia FX4400 with this new workstation. So if it's no real benefit, [sigh]

Yeah, LW's OpenGL implemantation kinda sucks. I've used all kinds of different cards, the current one being a GeForce FX5900se which replaced a Wildcat VP 970. The 5900se performs about the same as the Wildcat, but I can play modern games with the 5900se. Manipulating geometry in LW seems to be more dependant on the CPU rather than GPU.

Marco Solorio
04-20-2005, 02:11 AM
Manipulating geometry in LW seems to be more dependant on the CPU rather than GPU.

Well, I got it from the horse's mouth today at NAB. I went and talked to the nVidia reps on the expo floor and he did say that LightWave definitely is more CPU dependent that GPU dependant. Totally bums me out, so I'll probably get an FX3400 or something.

They had an HP open box with two FX4400 linked together in a dual-card setup for twice the power. OMG!!! I want processing power, dang it!!!!

I haven't seen as many Boxx systems as I thought I would on the expo floor, but many might be under desks or curtins or something. Plus, NAB is *HUGE* with about 100,000 attendees, so it could just as easy be missed by my wandering eyes.

Bigboy
04-20-2005, 12:40 PM
Could have told you that........Oh wait I did! :)

lol....only kidding.

Put it this way, Lightwave will render around 500k to 1m polys per second on a 6800Ultra, while a dedicated app displaying a single model can display around 120M polys a second. This isn't a theoretical limit, its easily done on larger cards.

It would be easily possible to get Lightwave towards the upper end of this limit. While theres no way it could hit it, they could improve rendering performance a lot. ALL 3D apps suffer the same problem, editing tools have always traditionally been much slower; it doesn't have to be this bad.

Newtek should ask some games companies or even NVidia+ATI Directly how to do it right.

mattclary
04-20-2005, 01:29 PM
Well, I got it from the horse's mouth today at NAB. I went and talked to the nVidia reps on the expo floor and he did say that LightWave definitely is more CPU dependent that GPU dependant. Totally bums me out, so I'll probably get an FX3400 or something

Go here and voice your ire.

http://vbulletin.newtek.com/showthread.php?t=29562

Also, after getting the straight dope, why not save your money and get a "consumer level" video card? The Quadro won't gain you anything except a lighter wallet. Spend the cash on dual processors or something.