Computer Direct Outlet Volta Pro VP 111 Dec, 2015 By: J.V. Bolkan
First Look Review: High-end 3D modeling workstation is reasonably priced, but lacks some extras.
The workstation includes most of the expected ports and interfaces. I was a little disappointed that wireless networking and Wi-Fi weren't included. The company states that you can add the Intel Wifi 802.11ac and Bluetooth PCI-E card for $66 . The Asus motherboard provides 6 USB 3.0/2.0 ports, integrated sound, and Ethernet networking. The review system did include a CD/DVD/RW drive, but lacked a mouse and a keyboard, which would be odd if the machine were arriving at an office to be used right away. The need to purchase about $100 worth of peripherals doesn't substantially change the value equation, but since a mouse and keyboard are required to boot the system, they should be included in the box. The company states that it does not include input devices, because, "Engineers and other creative professionals are typically very selective about their keyboards and mice, so we let them choose their own."
Running our latest C2015 benchmarks using AutoCAD 2016 at 1,920 x 1,080 resolution, the Volta Pro VP1 turned in solid scores of 720 overall, 1,664 in 3D, 497 in 2D, 409 for disk, and 311 for CPU. It would be very difficult to beat those scores at any price.
The SPECviewperf benchmark scores were catia-04, 71.62; creo-01, 64.40; energy, 2.90; maya-04, 58.46; medical-01, 21.32; showcase-01, 37.75; snx-02, 104.62; sw-03, 110.10. These are solid scores for any Intel Core i7 system, but I suspect the newer NVIDIA M4000 might help here and some in the C2015 scores. A good Intel Xeon-based system will destroy many of these SPECviewperf scores, but at a considerable price increase of a possible $2,500 – $3,000 more.
The Wrap Up
The Volta Pro VP1 is a powerful, quick, and readily upgradeable workstation. At $3,208 (as configured), the system is priced competitively in the sweet spot for workstations. This sweet spot is basically the line in the sand where you receive maximum performance for the least money. If we, for example, were to use a less expensive card in a system, it could slow performance much more than it would save money because it would bottleneck the system. In the end, you'd probably be better off using a slower CPU and maybe even a slower SSD drive, so that all the parts work at the same expected rate. With this configuration, you'd have a "budget" system in its own sweet spot. Alternately, adding in a higher level graphics card would push the price up considerably with only slight (if any) gains in performance in most tests.
Although I quibble a bit about minor cost-cutting (Wi-Fi, accessories, etc.), every major component in the system is well balanced between high performance and price. Quality components, an easy-to-use custom configuration and ordering web site, and a three-year standard warranty should make this system a contender for your next purchase. Highly Recommended.