When System Builders Go Pro
The workstation market doesn't garner quite the attention that the enthusiast space does. There's generally far less fanfare over the CPU releases, and the GPU launches are fewer and further between. However, this year, we did see the introduction Ivy Bridge-based Xeons from Intel (Intel Xeon E3-1280 v2 Review: Ivy Bridge Goes Professional), the Kepler-based Quadro K5000 from Nvidia, and Graphics Core Next-based cards from AMD (AMD FirePro W8000 And W9000 Review: GCN Goes Pro).
Today, we're putting all of that together and looking at a pair of complete workstation systems from iBuyPower.
Los Angeles-based system builder iBuyPower offers a full line of PCs, from HTPCs to gaming laptops to workstations. The company provided us with two machines from its workstation line-up for this review: the mid-range P500X and the powerhouse P900DX. At the heart of the $2,000 P500X is an Ivy Bridge-based quad-core Xeon processor able to operate on eight threads concurrently. Meanwhile, the nearly-$8,000 P900DX sports a pair of Sandy Bridge-EP-based octo-core Xeons, for a grand total of 16 cores and 32 threads!
So how does a $2,000 workstation stack up to $8,000 system? Can there really be $6,000 worth of extra performance in the P900DX?
To find out, we're overhauling our massive workstation benchmark suite and standardizing the results to a new baseline test system. Starting with this review, the modest P500X becomes our new reference workstation, giving us a constant comparison point. All workstation reviews in the near future will include it against at least one other machine, along with the same exact test suite. This ensures that you'll start to see a growing library of workstation-oriented performance numbers as we ramp up coverage.
But before we get to testing, let's take a closer look at these two professional-grade builds.