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Editor’s Pick: Workstations Accelerate Engineering

Dear Desktop Engineering Reader:

Tea made me misophonic, and it’s mom’s fault. See, she loved the stuff. Well, actually, she loved to complement a couple of Lorna Doones with sugar and milk flavored by a spot of tea. But what sent me around the bend is that she’d stir her cup of tea a zillion times, clinking her spoon on the side with each flick of the wrist driving me mad. So, needless to say, I find some noises intolerable. I cannot, for example, abide a workstation that sounds like a pack of Harley’s revving up. Which brings me to the first of three reasons why I recommend that you look into today’s Pick of the Week: The WhisperStation from Microway — or, more precisely, the recently announced WhisperStation-Maximus.

The point linking this strained analogy is that the WhisperStation line of workstations is engineered to be quiet while being powerful engineering systems. The trick is that Microway assembles its WhisperStation line with quiet fans and power supplies and, perhaps more importantly, internal sound-proofing. So, whether you have a single WhisperStation by your desk or you’ve linked a few together to build a multi-node cluster, you don’t feel like you’re working in an auto paint shop.

Second reason: Brawn and productivity. The single or dual multicore CPU WhisperStation-Maximus workstations leverage NVIDIA Maximus 2.0 technology and NVIDIA Quadro accelerators with companion Tesla K20 GPUs (graphics processing units). This provides you with simultaneous visualization and interactive design capabilities. That means that you can fiddle with your CATIA, PTC/Creo, and SolidWorks model and run a structural or fluid dynamics analysis with, say, Abaqus or ANSYS Mechanical at the same time. For that matter, you can render with 3ds MAX and Bunkspeed or do some Matlab number crunching and design without your modeling going all herky-jerky on you, which, in turn, means you can be more productive.

How it works is that every chip does the hard part it does best. The Tesla processor handles the simulation or rendering computations. The WhisperStation-Maximus’s Intel Xeon E5 series CPUs — with up to 16 cores, BTW — freed by the Tesla of most of the simulation computations, has more capacity and time on its pins to handle I/O, placate the operating system, and so forth. Finally, because those chips are doing all that, the NVIDIA Quadro accelerator’s GPU deals with the interactive design work. Ergo, you get full-performance computing, design, and compute-intensive simulation or rendering simultaneously.

OK, reason 3. The last couple of times I wrote something about a Microway workstation or server, I got a few e-mails from readers saying how much they liked their Microway system. That hardly ever happens with hardware and very rarely with software. Usually, it’s the opposite. This tells me that these guys have something going on here that you might want to check out.

If the strong silent type is your cup of tea in an engineering workstation, hit the link over there to learn more about the WhisperStation-Maximus. Click the link at the end of the write-up to see a chart depicting some potential performance gains. Also download the data sheet to have some specs on hand. Good stuff.

Thanks, Pal. — Lockwood

Anthony J. Lockwood
Editor at Large, Desktop Engineering

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About Anthony J. Lockwood

Anthony J. Lockwood is Desktop Engineering's Editor-at-Large. Contact him via de-editors@deskeng.com.