Joined on 07/19/07
SR-X vs. Z9PE-D8 vs. SR-2 and more...
Pros: I own a small Visual Effects company specializing in 3D productions. Having the absolute fastest workstation(s) for this kind of work is something we have spent a lot of money on testing. We have tested the SR-X, the Asus Z9PE-D8 (another dual socket 2011), the SR-2 of course, and even the AMD 4 Socket boards (16 cores per CPU, 64 cores total). I can officially say that the SR-X is the best, BUT, that comes with a disclaimer! Be sure to read "Cons" and "Other thoughts" for everything you probably want to know before buying. Big Q: Is it worth spending twice the budget to buy an SR-X with dual E5 CPU's? Or is it better to spend half the budget for an overclocked/watercooled SR-2? Well... Don't rule out the SR-2 just yet! If you read my other comments you'll see why you still might want to go the SR-2 route, depending on your specific needs. Best things to say about the SR-X: Great Windows 7 Performance Higher RAM capacity Noticeable GPU performance increase (Quadro's) Other st
Cons: Read Other Thoughts for more details: Cons: Not a dramatic difference in CPU/GPU performance for 3D workstation use. An overclocked and watercooled SR-2 will cost you half the price and operate at nearly the same speed as the SR-X when rendering 3D. You'll see a bigger margin of performance in other CPU computing areas, but not really where you need it the most. Passmark and other benchmark websites will show a 30-40% performance improvements, but again, pay close attention to WHERE those calculation improvments are. They're not everywhere. Why 4 stars and not 5? Because the SR-X we got direct from EVGA seems to not have all of it quirks worked out yet. It works well, but only for about 3 to 4 days straight before we starting getting errors that eventually lead to crashing - HDD/SDD related. Could be unrelated to the Mobo, but doubtful. Worst things about SR-X: No overclocking, but that's Intel's fault for locking CPU's. Still only 2 SATA3 RAID Ports, seriously EVGA?
Overall Review: We tested both the E5-2690 cpus and the E5-2687w cpus, the 2687w's are faster, but only by a 2% margin. We first tested the Asus Z9PE-D8 and were very impressed with overall performance, especially in Windows 7, but 2 things were lacking... (1) even with PCI-E gen3 the graphics cards seemed to run slower than on the SR-2. (2) 3D rendering was only 8% faster AT BEST over the SR-2. Other CPU benchmarks were much higher, but 3D rendering was barely noticeable over the Intel 5680 CPUs in the SR-2. Next we tested the SR-X (direct from EVGA). As expected it operated about the same as the Asus Z9PE-D8, BUT where we saw a dramatic difference was the GPU performance! Our Quadro 5000's we put in the SR-X were operating at nearly 1.5 times the speed of both the SR-2 and the Z9PE-D8. Again though, 3D render times were only 8% over the SR-2 with 5680's (tested with the E5-2687w CPUs). Recommendation: The SR-2 is STILL the best for the buck. If you need the extra 5-10% for 3D rendering, go SR-
Not ready for Dual CPU or PCIE 3.0 systems
Pros: Well the Quadro K5000 is here, and we got this for 2 basic reasons. The first being that it's faster than the Quadro 6000 and half the price. The second, and more important reason was because we wanted to see what all the fuss is about Maximus 2. We originally preordered the Tesla K20, but we canceled our order upon discovering that hardly any production (public released) software has been developed at this stage. We even contacted nVidia to inquire about the plugins for Maya that you see in the Maximus 2 demo video... but their response was that they are not presently releasing any software or plugins to the public. However, if you're using 3D Studio, or other engineering applications that access CUDA processors, you may be in luck. We're a VFX studio, primarily using Maya, so we're flat out of luck for now. PRO's: 1. Slightly noticeable performance increase over standard Quadro 5000, but not as much as you might expect. Granted, we're only testing it with straight openGL rendering. CUDA-capable applications may notice a huge boost! 2. 4K textures, great when working on HD or Film 3D! 3. As mentioned before - Maximus 2!... When they finally release plugins for it.
Cons: Oh boy, where to start? 1. PNY has horrible customer service. Not only when you call them to ask for tech support, but also when you're RMA'ing bad cards. They gave us a different refurbished card when we returned a Quadro 5000... as in SOMEONE ELSE's broken card. It too failed after several weeks. That's a horrible way to treat your customers who buy your "top end" cards. 2. This card is NOT compatible (as of the date of this post) in the following motherboards that we tested it in: - SR-X (doesn't get past POST in ANY configuration) - ASUS Z9PE-D8 (boots 1 out of 3 times with latest BIOS) Why? Probably because these are both Dual 2011 socket motherboards, meaning that multiple CPU's control different PCIE ports. PNY probably only tested it on single socket boards Work's on: - EVGA FTW3 board, without any known issues. - Supermicro LGA1366 boards, with periodic boot issues 3. Buggy, hit or miss boot-ups once you get it working. I suspect BIOS patches will start to solve this over the next few months.
Overall Review: Got a dual socket board? Or PCI 3.0 ports? You should probably wait! It's GOING to be a great card, but they should have waited longer before releasing so they could work out the faults with dual socket boards.
I've owned 2 of these, so take my word...
Pros: 1. Physically well designed. The hard drive enclosures are some of the easiest to manage, which is nice. Not much else good to mention though. 2. Lan aggregation through 2 ports.
Cons: 1. It takes litterally days to format and setup 4 drives. 2. After days of waiting for the default setup, ONLY THEN can you reformat it to RAID 0 (RAID 5 is default), and then you wait another 2 days. Horrifying. BIOS or Windows features can do this in minutes. 3. These have a high rate of failure, even if your drives are fine. It's a product that you hope and pray will boot up okay every time. 4. The devices webpage (admin area) is unstable and often times is difficult to find in the "Discovery" window. 5. Sometimes a drive goes offline and requires it to "Recover", which is another 2 days. UNREAL. 6. All-in-all, it had potential, but ended up being one of the worst NAS devices ever made.
Overall Review: Don't waste your money on this unit, or any of Seagates NAS devices.
Pros: No pros to mention because the unit doesn't work properly in the first place.
Cons: The unit will not retain 2560x1600 when switching. It will operate at high resolutions only when that display is selected, but the second you switch over to another display the resolution is dropped... thus resizing your display and in several cases crashing the openGL renderer of 3D applications.
Overall Review: This was my second StarTech KVM device and both of them I've had to return for failure. I'll never buy this brand again. Ever.