@Xi's MTower PCIe Workstation Favors Solid Functionality Over Flash
| By John Myers | ConnectPress Editor | May 25, 2016
With @Xi You Can Soup Up Your
Workstation for a Sweet Ride
@Xi Computer Corp.'s MTower PCIe Workstation may
not be fancy, but itís packed with functionality
and the option to soup it up with extras. I
recently got the chance to test one out and the
design is simple, measuring just 9.5" x 23.75" x
22.5" (WxHxD) and weighing comparatively light.
The model I reviewed included an Intel Core
i7-6700k CPU, which clocked at 4.5GHz and a
16.GB of RAM and a NVIDIA Quadro M2000 graphics
In addition to the M2000 I tested out the NVIDIA
Quadro M4000 and a NVIDIA Quadro M5000. The
MTower PCIe uses a unique sealed water cooling
solution that allows the system to vent air
outside of the case making it possible to pack
components, such as graphics cards and added
memory much closer together than would otherwise
be possible.The case is very easy to open, even
for a person who is as borderline
tool-incompetent as myself. It just takes a few
screws and the case slides right off. Once open
youíve got a lot of room to work with, and the
interior never feels cramped, which is great for
people like me with large, uncoordinated hands.
@Xi's MTower PCIe
To compare how the MTower PCIe fairs in real
world conditions with each of the different
graphics cards I ran a series of tests using
Standard Performance Evaluation Corporation's
(SPEC) SPECviewperf 12 benchmark software. The
benchmarking tool generates a series of
composite scores measuring the workstation's
frame rate while running several common CAD
solutions including, Dassault Systemes' CATIA V6
R12, PTC's Creo 2.0, Dassault Systemes'
SOLIDWORKS 2013 and Siemens PLM Software's NX
Here's how the tests shook out:
MT PCIe with NVIDIA Quadro M2000 -
For the CATIA V6 benchmarks the MTower PCIe
demonstrated a geometric mean of 69.48 frames
per second, after running a number of sample
models ranging from 5.1 to 21 million vertices.
Testing against Creo 2.0 the workstation
averaged a geometric mean of 72.49 frames per
second and in this case the models ranged
between 20 and 48 million vertices.
With the NX 8.0 benchmark SPECviewperf 12 ran a
series of test models ranging from 7.15 and 8.45
million vertices and found a geometric mean of
108.03 frames per second.
SOLIDWORKS 2013 showed the best results, coming
in with a geometric mean of 114.49 frames per
second on a series of models that ranged from
2.1 to 21 million vertices.
MT PCIe with NVIDIA Quadro M4000 -
On the second set of tests the CATIA V6
benchmarks demonstrated a geometric mean of
89.76 frames per second.
While running Creo 2.0 the workstation averaged
a geometric mean of 85.29 frames per second.
For the second NX benchmark SPECviewperf 12
reported a geometric mean of 133.78 frames per
And this time SOLIDWORKS 2013 scored a geometric
mean of 136.20 frames per second on a series of
MT PCIe with NVIDIA Quadro M5000 -
In the third CATIA V6 benchmarks the MT PCIe
scored a geometric mean of 138.48 frames per
This time while running Creo the workstation
averaged a geometric mean of 114.76 frames per
And in the third NX benchmark SPECviewperf 12
reported a geometric mean of 205.49 frames per
Finally the third SOLIDWORKS test demonstrated a
geometric mean of 163.51 frames per second.
MTower PCIe Interior
In addition, I also experimented with KeyShot
6.1 and SOLIDWORKS Visualize rendering
solutions. KeyShot 6.1 is a high-end rendering
solution that distinguishes itself from its
competition by being 100 percent powered by the
workstation's CPU. SOLIDWORKS Visualize is a
rendering solution built on the original
Bunkspeed architecture and can leverage the
power of the workstation's CPU, GPU or both in
In both cases I used models included with the
software and added lighting, color effects and
backgrounds to the design. The MTower PCIe
behaved admirably allowing me to add
sophisticated effects in real time.
I did notice a little bit of slow down with
KeyShot, which I suspect was the result of
running exclusively off the CPU. I confirmed
this when I checked rendering time in SOLIDWORKS
Visualize using only the CPU against using
exclusively the GPU and the difference was
Nonetheless the experience was still very fluid
and I could easily see using either tool on the
workstation with very few hiccups or issues.
A 1969 Camaro rendered in
In the end I found @Xi's MTower PCIe to be a
highly functional workstation capable of
handling powerful computing tasks with ease.
The MTower PCIe begins at $1,099.00 and
- An Intel Core i5-6600 3.3/3.9GHz 1C Turbo
Boost 6MB Shared L3 Cache DMI 2.0 Quad-Core 6th
- 8GB DDR4 2666MHz High Performance RAM,
- a NVIDIA NVS 310 DP Low Profile 512GB DDR3
PCIe 2xDisplayPort 1.2 graphics card,
- 500GB 7200RPM SATA 6Gb/s Seagate Barracuda NCQ
16MB Cache ST500DM002
- and a 20" ASUS VS208N-P Wide LED
5ms.1600x900NR 50Mil:1 Hi-CR monitor.
One of the advantages is that it is highly
configurable and has enough room for high-end
components to run as much as $18,000 for a
workstation including an eight-Core/16 Threads
Intel Xeon E5-1680 processor, 64GB DDR4 RAM and
two NVIDIA Quadro M6000 24GB GDDR5 graphics
cards. It is hard to imagine anyone dropping
that much money on a single workstation but it
does demonstrate the limitless power and
performance options for the MTower PCIe, but @Xi
actually confirmed that corporate, government,
medical and educational research centers,
regularly purchase MTower PCIe configured close
or even in excess of that amount, to satisfy the
most complex real time and simulation
@Xi has been building top of the line
workstations since 1987. They may not be flashy,
but the functionality is what counts. The bottom
line is if you haven'tí checked out @XI you
You can learn more about the MTower PCIe at:
John Myers graduated
from the University of New Mexico with a B.A. in
Communications and Journalism...
@Xi Computer Corporation, 980 Calle Negocio, San Clemente, CA 92673, USA
Call 1-800 432-0486 or (949) 498-0858 Fax: (949) 498-0257 or
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