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KitGuru Complete Guide to PC Workstations – Part 3

Test Workstations

We were supplied with three different workstations specifications by PC Specialist, all of which incorporated Intel Haswell-generation CPUs. The entry-level system was based around an Intel Core i7-5820K. Although most workstations use the Xeon range, a Core i7 can still be a very potent choice for those on a budget, and the 5820K is one of our favourites.

In particular, with good cooling it can be permanently overclocked to a commendable level, and most workstation manufacturers that sell this kind of specification will still provide a long (often three-year) warranty for the overclock.

Complete-Guide-to-Workstations-KitGuru-CPUs
The 5820K is natively a six-core CPU running at 3.3GHz. But as with all the Intel processors used in this test, Hyper-Threading is available to double the virtual core count, so in this case the 5820K has 12 threads on offer. In our testbed workstation, the processor has been permanently overclocked to 4.4GHz, although this still uses Turbo Boost, so the CPU will drop down to 1.2GHz when idle. The entry-level workstation was equipped with 16GB of 2,133MHz DDR4 memory.

The midrange workstation used a Xeon E5-2660v3 instead. This is a ten-core processor running at a native 2.6GHz. However, a single core can reach 3.3GHz via Turbo Boost, and Hyper-Threading means there are 20 virtual cores available. The high-end system use a Xeon E5-2697v3, which also has a native 2.6GHz clock speed but sports 14 physical cores, and a higher 3.6GHz top Turbo Boost mode. So this CPU offers 28 virtual cores, thanks to Hyper-Threading. The midrange system was supplied with 32GB of 2,133MHz DDR4, and the high-end system with 64GB of the same memory type.

Apart from the CPU and RAM, the three workstations were absolutely identical. All used an ASUS X99-E WS motherboard and CoolerMaster Hyper 212 EVO processor cooler with a 120mm fan, as well as identical 750W Corsair CS Series Modular 80 Plus Gold PSUs. They all came with 240GB Kingston HyperX 3K solid state disks for operating system and applications, plus a secondary 2TB Western Digital Caviar Black WD2003FZEX 7,200rpm SATA hard disk for general data, although the latter didn’t feature in our testing at all. The graphics cards were attached to identical AOC TFTs.

PC Specialist Entry-Level Workstation Specifications:

  • Intel Core i7-5820K @ 4.4GHz
  • 16GB ECC DDR4 SDRAM @ 2,133MHz
  • ASUS X99-E WS Motherboard
  • 240GB Kingston HyperX 3K SATA III 6Gb/s SSD
  • 2TB Western Digital Caviar Black WD2003FZEX SATA III 6Gb/s HDD
  • CoolerMaster Hyper 212 EVO (120mm) Fan CPU cooling
  • Corsair 750W CS Series Modular 80 Plus Gold PSU
  • Corsair Carbide Series 200R Compact chassis
  • Windows 8.1 Pro 64bit
  • £1,399 inc VAT (without graphics card)

System04-CPUZ-fullSystem04-CPUZ-mainboardSystem04-CPUZ-memorySystem04-CPUZ-SPD

PC Specialist Midrange Workstation Specifications:

  • Intel Xeon E5-2660v3 @ 2.6GHz
  • 32GB ECC DDR4 SDRAM @ 2,133MHz
  • ASUS X99-E WS Motherboard
  • 240GB Kingston HyperX 3K SATA III 6Gb/s SSD
  • 2TB Western Digital Caviar Black WD2003FZEX SATA III 6Gb/s HDD
  • CoolerMaster Hyper 212 EVO (120mm) Fan CPU cooling
  • Corsair 750W CS Series Modular 80 Plus Gold PSU
  • Corsair Carbide Series 200R Compact chassis
  • Windows 8.1 Pro 64bit
  • £2,199 inc VAT (without graphics card)

System02-CPUZ-CPUSystem02-CPUZ-MainboardSystem02-CPUZ-MemorySystem02-CPUZ-SPD

PC Specialist High-End Workstation Specifications:

  • Intel Xeon E5-2697v3 @ 2.6GHz
  • 64GB ECC DDR4 SDRAM @ 2,133MHz
  • ASUS X99-E WS Motherboard
  • 240GB Kingston HyperX 3K SATA III 6Gb/s SSD
  • 2TB Western Digital Caviar Black WD2003FZEX SATA III 6Gb/s HDD
  • CoolerMaster Hyper 212 EVO (120mm) Fan CPU cooling
  • Corsair 750W CS Series Modular 80 Plus Gold PSU
  • Corsair Carbide Series 200R Compact chassis
  • Windows 8.1 Pro 64bit
  • £3,249 inc VAT (without graphics card)

Sysem03-CPUZ-CPUSysem03-CPUZ-MainboardSysem03-CPUZ-MemorySysem03-CPUZ-SPD

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