Monday, April 8, 2013

Benchmarking the 3DBOXX 4050 XTREME vs Dell T3600

Well, the numbers are in and I have to say that I'm very happy where they landed! In short, I would be looking at a 28% productivity boost to run the BOXX 4050 instead of the Dell T3600. In my previous post, I mentioned the specs between the Dell T3600 & the BOXX 4050 Xtreme. I've since updated that post slightly to more accurately reflect the T3600 specs that we use. Now for some numbers breakdown.

The Benchmark Tests
I have to give credit to for their posting an updated version of the original AUbench Revit journals and updating the scripts to handle the new versions of Revit. You can download a copy of the same benchmark tool I used (If not a current member you'll need to signup, its free). This benchmark allowed great consistency and automated the majority of testing between systems and versions of Revit. I also ran this benchmark on a couple laptops we have and some of our older systems to get some historical context as time marches on. I also kind of wanted to see how the gap increased the father back we went on T3500 & T3400 models we have floating on the floor. Each machine and each version of Revit ran the benchmark tool 3 times to ensure I could get a fair average.

I also performed some manual tasks on both the T3600 & the 4050. It consisted of working with a Revit 2011 model that was 495MB in size. I took the model and timed the tasks of upgrading it from 2011 to 2012 and then to 2013. Other things were done and timed and noted. One thing to note was that the upgrade from 2012 to 2013 took a long time, much longer than I expected on both systems. Something to watch for as projects are upgraded.

Items of Note

  • As each version of Revit progressed, things took slightly longer to complete, as shown in the total averages below.
  • Many tasks I previously thought of as something being driven by the GPU are still handled by the CPU. For example, the benchmark measures time it takes the viewport to regenerate with Hardware Acceleration (HA) both on and off. However, between the 2 systems, the T3600 has a better video card than the 4050. So I expected the tests with HA on to run faster on the T3600 than on the 4050. However even with a lesser video card, the 4050 still outperformed the T3600!!! This proves that even though view regeneration should be handed off completely to the GPU, the CPU still processes much of the data. Therefore money spent on a faster CPU will go farther than a fancy GPU.
  • My laptop I use that was purchased 2 years ago with a SSD primary HD, nice video card and 1.73GHz i7 CPU got spanked by a new, midrange laptop handed out to Project Managers in Model Creation and Rendering. However, it's on-board graphics card was no match for my Quadro 2800M, my laptop owned it in those tests. So, there is some credence to having some kind of a graphics card and not relying solely with an on-board GPU integrated into the motherboard. This confirms what I have felt over the time of using my laptop, the SSD doesn't offer as much of a boost in performance as I'd hoped. Put the money in the CPU!

In Conclusion
I know what you are thinking - "How do I convince management/purchasers/IT to switch to BOXX from their cherished status quo?" I've found that you can throw graphs and percentages and "everyone else is doing it" until you are blue in the face. What really gets them is cold hard cash. How much $$$$ will the company save if they use this new desktop that costs more than the status quo?

The steps taken in the benchmark tests represent things that would be done many times throughout the day, but for arguments sake, let’s say a person doesn't spend all their time using Revit. In fact, I’ll go out on a limb and say we can only apply the increase in speed over the T3600 once per day for an hour. Let’s run that number out over the course of a year and say the persons billable rate is $75/hour (just a guess for a position that involves heavy use of Revit).
$75/hour * 250 working days per year  = $18750

This means that if the BOXX runs 28% faster than our T3600, we would save about $5250 per year on salary as we could get 28% more work done. We would save even more if the person was on an older system.
Even if the MSRP on the BOXX was roughly $3200, ROI is paid in less than a year!

So, the next time you are due for replacing a system that has become outdated or you are simply looking for the fastest system $$$$ can buy, I'd recommend you check out BOXX and their 4050 Xtreme!

Numbers & Graphs!
For simplicity, I'll list times & percentages first, followed with some graphs.
Hard numbers

Pretty graphs

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