Systemax Endeavor Xeon Workstation

Article Index

Power and Conclusion



We can rave all night and day about the torque afforded by super-fast Xeons running at 3 GHz, with 8MB of cache and access to a 1,333 MHz bus. However, there’s a price to be paid for that level of performance. You first pay it upfront as a heftier price tag (the X5365s still go for $1,200 or so). Then, you pay a higher energy bill. Our Xeon chip belongs to the first stepping, rated at 150W (they’ve since come down to 120W). But the Xeon E5310 wielded by Systemax’s Endeavor sips just 85W. Further, the Quadro FX 1700 doesn’t need the assistance of an auxiliary power connector, whereas the Quadro FX 3450 guzzles more juice than the PCI Express bus can crank out. The numbers add up quickly. And if the Endeavor is going to show its grace anywhere, it'll be here.


Power Consumtion

Testing under load and idle


We connected both Systemax’s box and our own reference platform to an Extech power analyzer, cranked up 3DMark06 and POV-ray simultaneously, and recorded the peak consumption while both tests ran. Then, we let both workstations idle for 10 minutes and recorded power draw.



Here’s where the Endeavor really shines. True, the box features business-class hardware—mainly Intel’s Xeon, Supermicro’s 5000X-based motherboard, Kingston FB-DIMM memory, and NVIDIA’s Quadro FX 1700 workstation card—but it doesn't consume much more energy at load versus its 170W idle. Our reference box, on the other hand, sucks down more than 100 extra watts once its weighed down with a heavy load.

Naturally, adding a processor, dropping in more RAM, or substituting in a higher-end graphics card is going affect the Systemax box’s power consumption, but it’s fairly clear that the advantage here lays with the Endeavor, no matter what you add to it.


 


At the beginning of this evaluation, we observed that Systemax’s Endeavor looked a lot like a whitebox (pardon the cliché—we know the chassis is black) any enthusiast could piece together with parts sourced from e-tail. Indeed, at the end of that day, that remains true. There’s no proprietary molding with extra front-panel connectors or fancy branding. Instead, you get a well-built platform that, in our experience, ran as stably as you could hope from a workstation machine.

Seeing as the box itself was built as well as we could have expected, our eyes turned next to support. Systemax protects select platforms with a three year parts and labor warranty. Ours, however, appeared as though it was covered for one year instead, according to Systemax’s personalized support site. The site also looked like it was set up to provide knowledgebase articles and driver downloads, though it wasn’t populated with any additional information beyond the workstation’s basic specs. We were hoping for a bit more there, seeing as though support would be a great place for a system builder to really step things up a notch.

The performance story isn’t a concern for us. The Endeavor cranks along very well. Its graphics card delivers seriously impressive speed given entry-level billing, and the addition of a second CPU could really turn things up a notch if you’re running a lot of threaded software. The striped storage array and DDR2-667 FB-DIMM memory modules balance out an otherwise competent workstation.

Would we buy one? As enthusiasts, it’d be hard to commit to a box so seemingly similar to what we are already comfortable piecing together. We would, however, have no problem recommending the Endeavor to someone more interested in working on a workstation than trying to build one.


 

 

  • Reasonable Price
  • Excellent Craftsmanship
  • Plenty of flexibility
  • Extremely stable
  • Relatively noisy
  • Average performance as configured


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