Boxx’s new workstation packs five GPUs and over 20 TFLOPS of compute horsepower
The liquid-cooled chassis is designed to support Intel’s Xeon E5 v3 processors with up to 18 cores and 36 threads per chip, but front-and-center billing goes to the GPUs. The Apexx 5 can pack up to five high-end graphics cards, four for workstation rendering and a single dedicated viewport GPU.
For those of you keeping track at home, that works out to over 20 TFLOPS of single-precision floating point and nearly ten TFLOPs of double-precision horsepower. That’s more firepower than the number one supercomputer in the world from the year 2000 and would’ve still captured a place on the TOP500 within the last decade, particularly once you toss in another 2.6TFLOPS from the Xeon CPUs (assuming two E5-2699v3.)
All four cards run in full PCIe 3.0 x16 slots with a fifth PCIe 3.0 x8 slot for the dedicated viewport card. Users also have the option of equipping other co-processors, including a Synch card for frame locking, PCI-Express SSDs, or a 10Gbit ethernet card.
The chassis can support up to eight mechanical hard drives or 16 2.5-inch SSDs. Obviously the market for 4-5 GPUs in a single system is going to be relatively rare — even at the high-end, there aren’t many engineers or designers who need that much GPU horsepower in a single system. Boxx’s product marketing manager, Chris Morley, acknowledges that the product is aimed at a very specific type of customer, but notes that the Apexx 5 is offering a level of performance you literally can’t buy elsewhere, since even the highest-end systems from Dell and HP tend to top out below this point.
The company has been deliberately courting disgruntled Mac users since the Mac Pro debuted last year, and its “Mac Pro No” video is funny enough to be worth a watch. It’s also telling — where Apple built a dual-GPU workstation that emphasized the GPU at the expense of CPU performance and focused the system almost entirely on external connectivity, the Boxx Apexx 5 kicks GPU options up to 11 without skimping on dual CPU horsepower or the internal connectivity that most people expect in a modern high-end workstation.
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