The Sun JavaTM Workstation W2100z was recently reviewed by George Maestri, whose article that was published in Computer Graphics World determined this desktop graphics workstation offers superior graphics performance and compatibility. This workstation utilizes AMD's 64-bit Opteron processors and supports the SolarisTM Operating System (Solaris OS), Linux and Microsoft Windows.
Its NVIDIA Quadro graphics accelerator and 16 GBs of memory ease the use of data sets and expedites performance. Maestri, who is president of Rubberbug, a Los Angeles-based animation studio that specializes in character animation, is familiar with graphics and related performance levels.
He admittedly was disappointed that this workstation did not have PCI Express, which is a new graphics technology that Sun plans on implementing in its next-generation workstations. However, he concluded that overall the graphics performance was great and it did maintain the fast bandwidth of the server.
"View-perf 8.01 tests came in at 23.29 for 3ds max, 27.55 for Maya, and 26.29 for Pro/E," he writes. "These numbers are very good, but slightly below the top speeds for some of the newer PCI Express cards."
In regards to compatibility, Maestri chose a real-world situation and attempted to load applications suitable to his personal environment. He explains, "Of course, a machine is nothing unless it can run applications. I loaded 3ds max 7 and animated a few scenes with no compatibility problems. I also ran Mental Ray renders, and the speeds were quite fast."
The particular unit he reviewed was configured with 10,000 rpm, 73 GB, Ultra320 SCSI drive, the motherboard held dual 2.4 GHz Opteron processors and 4 GB of PC3200 RAM. Maestri did note that the Sun Java Workstation W2100z can accommodate up to 16 GB, which he states, "should be more than enough for any current application."
Performance testing was conducted on a Windows platform that was WHQL-certified. Results for this dual Opteron system clocked in the CPU integer speed at 22021 MIPS, with floating point at 9863 MFLOPS. These numbers impressed Maestri, who noted the results were better than he expected.
Its memory bandwidth had a "blazing speed" of 11076 MB/sec and the SCSI drive reported a "respectable" 59 MB/sec. Maestri addressed the bandwidth construction. "The motherboard sports a robust PCI implementation, containing five separate PCI-X slots on four independent PCI buses. This feature infuses the machine with a large amount of bandwidth," he explains. "It also makes it ideal for use as a server and applications such as high-end editing and any other task that involves moving considerable data. I definitely can see the W2100z configured as a media server with an extra Gigabit Ethernet card and an external RAID array."
In conclusion, Maestri wrote that overall he liked the Sun Java Workstation W2100z. "Its more expensive than other systems, but Sun offers volume discounting. Graphics performance was great, while maintaining the fast band width of a server. This machine would be great for applications that require moving a lot of data, graphic or otherwise."
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