IBM Intellistation

31 Jul, 2005 By: Ron LaFon

AMD Opteron dual-core workstation.

THE IBM INTELLISTATION A PRO is a performance system available with dual-core, dual-capable AMD Opteron processors to enable simultaneous 32- and 64-bit computing. There's much to like about this system, which is definitely geared toward computationally intensive, graphics-rich application environments—such as CAD.

We requested that the test system be equipped with 2GB of RAM for our benchmarks, though it accommodates 4GB in the Microsoft Windows XP Professional environment. Maximum physical memory for the system is 16GB running under select Linux distributions.

 The IBM IntelliStation A Pro series is now available with AMD Opteron dual-core processors.
The IBM IntelliStation A Pro series is now available with AMD Opteron dual-core processors.

The IntelliStation A Pro is compact, quiet and attractive, with obvious attention to design and detail. This system also offers much in the way of expandability and extensive options when configuring it to your specific needs. A variety of other processors are available in IntelliStation A Pro systems, including other AMD Opteron dual-core processors.

Different graphic card options are available also, but the system we received included a PCI-e NVIDIA Quadro FX 3400 graphics card with 256MB of 256-bit GDDR3 SDRAM memory installed. The FX3400 is capable of resolutions of 1600×1200 (at 1X DVI-I) or 3840×2400 (at nVIEW dual screen).

We ran the IBM IntelliStation A Pro through our usual benchmark suite, the Cadalyst C2001 benchmark running AutoCAD 2006 and its default hardware acceleration driver—WOPENGL8.HDI—without any supplemental Heidi drivers. Our second benchmark used 3ds Max v.7 with Service Pack 1 installed. We set the base-level Windows driver for 3ds Max and used NVidia's MAXtreme 7.00.03 accelerated driver. Finally, we ran the proe-03 test from the SPECviewperf 8.0.1 benchmark ( All tests were run at a screen resolution of 1280x1024, though the NVIDIA Quadro FX 3400 included in the system certainly supports higher resolutions. The FX 3400 used the provided video driver v.71.84, which is currently available on the NVIDIA Website. Though we have 3ds Max 7.5, we haven't yet begun using it for our benchmark tests. All tests were run with Windows XP Professional with Service Pack 2 installed.

IBM IntelliStation A Pro
IBM IntelliStation A Pro

The IntelliStation A Pro achieved very good numbers throughout the testing process. Even though the AMD Opteron Dual-Core 275 is nominally rated at 2.2GHz, we were pleased with the performance it provided. On truly multithreaded applications, performance benefits will likely be even better.

The system achieved a total index score of 146.34 on the Cadalyst C2001 benchmark and a weighted geometric mean of 47.54 on the proe-03 viewset of the SPECViewPerf 8.01 benchmark. Finally, the MAXBench 4 benchmark using the NVIDIA MAXtreme 7.00.03 driver produced a high score of 106.632 and low score of 119.561, for an averaged score of 113.10.

As equipped with the RAM and hard disk space required for our benchmarks, the list price is $6,408. IBM notes that the tested configuration of the IBM IntelliStation A Pro is not an option on its Website, but it would be available to a customer who was dealing with a face-to-face representative.

Warranty coverage is three years on labor, parts and onsite service, with optional 24-hour replacement parts via a service upgrade. Coverage includes 24-hour telephone support.

About the Author: Ron LaFon

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