With its twin 10-core Xeon processors, Boston's Venom 2306-7T is a powerful mid-range workstation that will suit many application workloads thanks to its mix of fast storage and decent graphics. However, those running more demanding graphics workloads may want an upgrade from the Quadro K4000 in our system.
Latest Xeon processors, fast SSD storage, quiet
Little space for storage expansion
Model: Boston Venom 2306-7T
Operating System: Windows 7 Professional (64-bit)
Processor: 2x Intel Xeon E5-2670 v2 (10 cores) at 2.5GHz
RAM: 32GB DDR3 1866MHz (max 512GB)
Storage: 2x 180GB SSD, 2x 500GB SATA hard drive, DVD-RW
Graphics: Nvidia Quadro K4000
Connectivity: 2x 1Gbps Ethernet
Ports: 7x USB 2.0, 4x USB 3.0, DVI and 2x DisplayPort, serial, audio jacks, eSATA, PS/2
Dimensions: 178x427x531mm mid-tower chassis
Boston's Venom 2306-7T is a high-performance workstation featuring Intel's recently introduced Xeon E5-2600 v2 processor family, combined with Nvidia Kepler-based GPU accelerators and high-speed storage options to boost the performance of demanding applications.
Available now, the Venom 2306-7T is just one of Boston's line-up of workstation, server and storage products that can be tailored for each specific customer's requirements. But with the new Xeon processors, previously codenamed Ivy Bridge EP, workstation users can benefit from greater performance thanks to more cores, support for more memory capacity, and higher clock speeds.
While other PCs have gravitated towards more consumer-friendly system designs such as small form factor or all-in-one units, workstations have tended to remain large bulky tower boxes - with the notable exception of HP's Z1 system we reviewed last year - owing to the need to fit more drives and other specialised hardware than standard systems.
The Venom 2306-7T is no surprise here, shipping in a mid-tower chassis that has room for four hot-swappable 3.5in drive bays in addition to a 5.25in bay for an optical drive, if required. The four hot-swappable bays are protected by a grille door in the casing, which can be locked to prevent unauthorised removal of the drives.
Our review system was configured with a pair of Xeon E5-2670 v2 chips, which boast 10 CPU cores each and also support Intel's Hyper-Threading technology, meaning the system is theoretically capable of processing up to 40 simultaneous threads for applications that support this. While clocked at 2.5GHz, the Xeon E5-2670 v2 can ramp up its cores to 3.3GHz via Intel's Turbo Boost technology, providing there is thermal headroom available.
On the storage side, Boston had filled all four drive bays on our review system with two Intel 520 Series 180GB solid state drives (SSDs) and two Hitachi Ultrastar 7K3000 3TB 7200RPM SATA hard drives. The SSDs formed a Raid 1 array and were configured as the system volume, while the hard drives were also paired up as a Raid 1 array to serve as a data volume.
Combined with its Nvidia Quadro K4000 graphics card, the Venom is an ideal platform for users of graphically intensive applications in areas such as medical research, oil and gas exploration, defence and manufacturing, according to Boston. It is also relatively quiet, generating little more than a gentle hum except at power-on, when the fans give a roar as they momentarily spin up to full speed.