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Chris S. (Fez)
06-09-2008, 11:16 AM
Researching a new primary workstation for Lightwave/Max/Modo.

Happy with your hardware? Any problems? Worth the premium price?

Any feedback appreciated.

CC Rider
06-09-2008, 12:00 PM
I have a Boxx and I couldn't be happier with it.
Of course it helps that I didn't have to pay for it out of my own pocket.
My company paid for it.
But I paid for my home machine and I often bring projects home from work to finish on my own time etc...and sometimes just to compare how much faster my work machine is.
Here are the specs for the Boxx:
Tyan MB
Dual 3.0 Xeon quad core proc
4GB mem
quadro fx 4500 video card
1.2TB Raid Stripe (3 drives)

Home machine:
Asus MB
Intel Quad Core 3.0 GH
4GB mem
GTX 8800 Geforce

As you would expect the Boxx is faster, but not twice as fast.
I would estimate that it is about 1/3 faster.
An overnight render on my home machine is still an overnight render on my work machine.
There really isn't anything that my Boxx cann do that my home machine can't.

Boxx has great technical support but I'm pretty PC savvy myself so I haven't really needed it (as are most folks on this forum it seems...)

All in all, I would say if you have the money, go ahead and get yourself a Boxx. They really do make top notch machines.
If you can only afford $2000 instead of $8000, you still can't go wrong with a homebuilt machine with a Quad core proc.
I have found that "speed" is a relative thing. Even if you get the Boxx which will be an awesome machine, you will still find yourself wishing it were faster.
If you build your own machine, you'll wish it were faster but you'll be $6000 richer!
:D

jasond
06-09-2008, 12:04 PM
WS DUAL XEON X5355 2.66GHz, 8MB cache, 1.33 GHz FSB (Quad-Core)
4GB FBDIMM DDR2 667 REG ECC (4 -1GB FBDIMMS)
NVIDIA Quadro FX 3500 256MB
150GB 10,000rpm SATA 16MB Cache
CDRW/DVD Combo Drive 52x24x48x16x

I'm up to 12 GB of RAM now.

I don't get into hardware much, don't know about comparisons with other brands or DIY systems.

I recommend them. The machine has paid for itself in short order.

CC Rider
06-09-2008, 12:22 PM
WS DUAL XEON X5355 2.66GHz, 8MB cache, 1.33 GHz FSB (Quad-Core)
4GB FBDIMM DDR2 667 REG ECC (4 -1GB FBDIMMS)
NVIDIA Quadro FX 3500 256MB
150GB 10,000rpm SATA 16MB Cache
CDRW/DVD Combo Drive 52x24x48x16x

I'm up to 12 GB of RAM now.

I don't get into hardware much, don't know about comparisons with other brands or DIY systems.

I recommend them. The machine has paid for itself in short order.

I suppose you are running a 64bit OS...I have thought about going that route myself. Any problems with 64bit?

Chris S. (Fez)
06-09-2008, 12:31 PM
I suppose you are running a 64bit OS...I have thought about going that route myself. Any problems with 64bit?

I second that question. I was gonna go XP64 and load her up with 8 to 16GB.

Jason, what are the upper limits of 12GB, assuming you have gone too far? Now that you have 12 do you wish you had 16-32?

jasond
06-09-2008, 02:50 PM
Right now 12 GB is good, haven't wished for more.

The only complaint I've had is Painter X won't open and I've read that's due to "too much RAM" and I'm certainly not going to pull the chips for that one program.

64 bit OS has been 99% smooth, no issues. It's been a good run with this setup-- now I hope I haven't jinxed myself.

jasond
06-09-2008, 03:00 PM
And I wouldn't go back to XP64. There have been little improvements that have made work easier and more pleasant, and with that much RAM Vista will be very smooth. I've heard of the hardware compatibility issues but you won't get those with a Boxx system.

The differences might be primarily aesthetic, but with your nose to the screen all day long that becomes a valid factor.

Oh... (thinking as I type)... there were some noticeable speed bumps when I switched from XP64 to Vista Ult. 64. I remember appreciating the change but I didn't document them at the time. It wasn't just program startups or some new caching thing... I think Photoshop chewed through some bigger operations faster. Again, though, I can't support that notion with data.



I second that question. I was gonna go XP64 and load her up with 8 to 16GB.

Jason, what are the upper limits of 12GB, assuming you have gone too far? Now that you have 12 do you wish you had 16-32?

evolross
06-09-2008, 04:20 PM
The last company I worked for (the US Government) ordered ten BOXX AMD quad-core workstations and ten rack-mounted dual-core render boxes all in one order (they were beefing up a new visualization department). Out of the workstations one was DOA and about two others have had OS reinstall issues. One of the rack-mounted render machines was DOA as well. Between the twenty machines, we have issues on a regular basis. However, some of those are caused by the "top-notch" IT folks that wrangle these once they come into a Government installation.

Overall they are pretty stable when they work, but for the amount of money I was unhappy with the percentage of machines that had issues.

I built my own personal XP x64 machine, Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600, 8GB RAM. It runs everything great. The only issue I have is with embedded Quicktime files. No matter what browser I use, the movie has no controls. Only a black box where they should be. But they work fine if you download them locally and run them stand-alone. I think Vista would probably run good too, but why waste RAM on the overhead of Vista. To me XP x64 is nice and streamlined and very well oiled due to the fact its been on the market longer than Vista.

DrTWT
06-11-2008, 12:15 PM
I'm most happy with Boxx.

My first machine was the GoBoxx laptop from a few years back. It's a bit dated now but never had any problems with it.

Last summer I bought a system with two dual-core opterons, 8gb ram, 1.5 TB RAID 0, etc. Running XP-64 without a hitch. Needed customer service only 1 or 2 times for minor issues, and it was excellent (immediate quality phone support, in intelligible English!)

I would definitely get a Boxx system again. But, both mine were purchased with grant money, so the out-of-pocket expense isn't really a factor in my situation.