Digital Storm Slade PRO9 Apr, 2014 By: Art Liddle
First Look Review: Attention to detail is evident in the design and construction of this high-end workstation.
The front face of the Slade PRO incorporates two USB 3.0 ports, microphone and headphone jacks, and the power and reset switches. The rear of the case hosts more ports than you could ever need: ten USB 3.0 ports, two eSATA ports, one Gigabit Ethernet port, six assorted audio jacks, one optical S/PDIF audio-out connector, one IEEE 1394 (FireWire) interface, and one USB BIOS Flash port.
To gauge system performance, we used the Cadalyst c2012 benchmark running AutoCAD 2014, and SPECviewperf 11. (We also ran our benchmark with AutoCAD 2012 to permit an apples-to-apples comparison with previous test scores.) Per our standards, we enabled hardware acceleration for AutoCAD, turned off the graphics card's vertical sync, and set the screen resolution to 1,280 x 1,024 (32-bit color). We ran all tests on Microsoft's Windows 7 Professional 64-bit operating system.
The Slade PRO workstation's Cadalyst benchmark scores for AutoCAD 2014 (with AutoCAD 2012 shown in parentheses) were as follows: total index of 576 (592), 3D graphics index of 1,260 (1,257), 2D graphics index of 446 (491), disk index of 254 (266), and CPU index of 342 (354). That total index score of 592 for AutoCAD 2012 has only been topped by one other workstation reviewed by Cadalyst Labs — a system with a 4.6-GHz overclocked CPU and an intelligently cached solid-state drive scored a 614.
The test results for the SPECviewperf 11 suite of tests, single-sample mode only, were even more impressive. Six of the marks (shown in bold) represent all-time top scores here at Cadalyst Labs, with the other two ranking a very close second: 46.02 for catia-03, 29.39 for ensight-04, 98.02 for lightwave-01, 86.91 for maya-03, 19.34 for proe-05, 62.06 for sw-02, 38.94 for tcvis-02, and 34.57 for snx-01.
We did our own 72-hour stress test on the Slade PRO, mainly to see if the system's maximum performance is affected by running at full throttle for such an extended run. We discovered that the c2012 total index score for a 72-hour run was only 0.3% slower than a single run.
Putting It All Together
The Slade PRO, which is Digital Storm's entry-level workstation, has a base price of $1,881. The configuration reviewed here carries a price of $3,517 and includes Digital Storm's Lifetime Expert Customer Care with three-year limited warranty. This covers all parts for one year, labor for three years, and phone support for life. In addition, the power supply carries a three-year warranty and system memory is warranted for life. Considering its excellent performance, amazing expansion capacity, and obvious attention to engineering detail, the Digital Storm Slade PRO is a worthy choice for anyone in the market for a new CAD workstation. Highly Recommended.