Puget Systems Genesis I Sandy Bridge-E Workstation Review
Interior and Performance
Diving inside the Genesis I shows us the standard internals of the Antec P183 V3 as well as the clean design that Puget has put together. The Core i7-3960X is being cooled by a self-contained liquid cooler that should look familiar to anyone in the market for one of these recently. This allows the PC to run at very good temperatures while remaining quiet as well. There is no overclocking done on the CPU, however, since with the target workstation demographic, stability is the most important factor.
In this compartment of the case you will find the Antec CP-850 watt power supply and an Intel 510 250GB SSD and 2TB 7200 RPM Western Digital hard drive. The SSD keeps the system running incredibly quickly while the WD drive is enough for longer term storage.
The motherboard installation area is very clean and open thanks to the use of the liquid cooler mounted to the rear of the case. All eight DIMM slots of filled up with the included 32GB of memory and you can see that the Quadro 2000 card is actually pretty small, despite its high price. Based on the Fermi architecture with 192 shaders, the card has three display outputs including one dual-link DVI connection and a pair of full-size DisplayPort connections. This is actually one of the lower performing Quadro cards on the market but you can always upgrade if your specific workload requires it.
There is still room for additional optical drives or other accessories in the 5.25-in bays.
On the interior of the reverse side of the case you will see the well organized and managed cable system that Puget's builders were able to accomplish even on a case that wasn't built with modern routing features.
Finally, Puget makes sure you get all the included accessories with each component including the SLI bridges, WiFi antennae, display connection adapters, manuals, etc.
Our performance testing on the Puget Systems Genesis I will be brief since we have seen most of this hardware before (Core i7-3960X, Intel 510 SSD) and because the specific workstation applications are less concerned with Sandra and Battlefield 3.
Here you can see the system configuration including the 6 processor cores (12 with HyperThreading), 32GB of memory, various network connections and more.
The 3DMark Vantage score of the Quadro 2000 isn't really that impressive but with 192 CUDA cores we didn't expect it to be. Gaming is not the intended purpose of this system though with a higher end GPU (GeForce or Quadro) the rest of the rig would have no problem going toe to toe with the best.
The CineBench result of 33,980 actually beats our previous best scores seen in this benchmark under stock clock speeds!
And, in POV-Ray as well, the power of the Intel Core i7-3960X CPU struts along quite impressively.
The Genesis I from Puget Systems is really targeting a different user than many of you might have thought based on some of the specifications. The use of the Quadro 2000 definitely brings up the price without improving game performance, but professionals in the work environment use the Quadro feature set for a completely different and unique reason. While paying $450 for that level of GPU might seem incomprehensible to a gamer, for a developer it is all too common a practice.
As of this writing the purchase price for this system on PugetSystems.com is around $4400 - not a slight chunk of change at all. And, as we always we do, we compare this to the prices of buying the components yourself and putting it together from somewhere like Newegg.com or Amazon. The cost difference this time was pretty steep - about $700 by our math. Now, to be honest, the workstation user is much less likely to even want to think about building their own system simply due to the increased reliability and desire for customer support that goes along with living off of the computer in question. To that end, the $700 delta is more than acceptable in the long run though I think it would encourage buyers to perhaps look at other workstation builders as well for some comparison shopping.
Having spent time with some members of the Puget Systems team and their builds over the years I can safely say that I would trust our own personal workstations to them but not everyone is fortunate enough to have dabbled inside the cases of so many different system builders. And even if workstations and Quadro cards aren't your thing, you can still check out the entire line of Puget offerings - Serenity if you value your hearing, Deluge if you want water cooled performance - and see if they make a better case for a purchase in those particular markets.
But for workstation users that might be looking for an alternative to the Dell or HP offerings and maybe want to get the latest hardware before those larger companies finally get around to selling it, looking into the Puget Genesis I and Genesis II line of systems is a great start.