XTREME hardware for the serious 3ds Max user

Posted by Shane Griffith, 7 June 2011 7:00 pm

I had the opportunity to spend last Thursday at BOXX Technologies headquarters in Austin, TX. BOXX builds professional-grade workstations and rendering systems which also happen to be great hardware platforms for 3ds Max, Maya, Revit, and other Autodesk applications. Unlike many other hardware manufacturers, BOXX is also a major reseller of most Autodesk apps, and almost one third of all BOXX workstations are quoted for 3ds Max workflows. During AU2010, I had the good fortune to demonstrate a 3DBOXX 8550 XTREME workstation, and having long admired BOXX creativity and innovation, I eagerly accepted Shoaib Mohammad’s (BOXX VP of Marketing and Business Development) invitation to visit the company, conduct some sales and support training, and test drive some upcoming products.

After a round of presentations for the BOXX top brass and sales crew, I sat down with founder and VP of Engineering Tim Lawrence and demonstrated some 3ds Max projects on the 8550 XTREME—the one BOXX refers to as “the fastest workstation in the world.” It was hard to argue against that. The top of the BOXX line, XTREME features dual Intel Xeon processors (12 cores) running at 4.3 GHz, and four GPUs, provides outstanding performance for 3ds Max, as well as some incredibly fast rendering using iray. Sitting directly on top of the XTREME was the compact BOXX renderPRO (PRO stands for Personal Rendering Option) which is designed to provide dedicated rendering at the user’s desk side. It did just that, quickly and effectively rendering images (in this instance) using mental ray.

I wrapped up my time in BOXXlabs by taking a turn on the innovative 3DBOXX 8500R, a remote access system featuring PCoIP technology by Teradici. The speed and interactivity of the 8500R was truly amazing—impossible to tell that I wasn’t using a desktop workstation. We also discussed some new product ideas (and future prototype hardware) and it was clearly evident that BOXX takes their role as a solution provider very seriously. Their expertise and knowledge of hardware, software, and workflows, was instantly apparent. In fact, all the people at BOXX, where the machines are designed, built, shipped, and supported, are passionate about high performance, and are clearly committed to remaining on the leading edge of innovation.




Shane Griffith
Product Manager - 3ds Max & 3ds Max Design
Media and Entertainment Division
Autodesk, Inc




Shane Griffith

Posted 8 June 2011 1:37 pm

That capture was actually a bit old and from the subs drop build of iray. You are right and there's already been quite a bit of optimization done in the 2012 build of iray.

Shane Griffith

Posted 8 June 2011 3:58 pm

now that's some serious ROI superCoon! I like the fact that they test and support the overclocking setup. sure you can build it and clock it yourself but these days that's pretty tedious and lets face it you need someone to call on when things don't work all of a sudden. BOXX has been tweaking high quality custom rigs for years now and has some of the best support I've seen in the biz.


Posted 8 June 2011 4:09 pm

Also, and this is important, I'm able to do more with my work; in other words, I can continually produce higher quality renders of my company's product designs because I know I have the horsepower to back it up. For my industry I continually produce higher quality advertisements over our competitors; there is literal no comparison - as of yet anyway.

Shawn Hendriks

Posted 8 June 2011 8:25 pm

Bet that was one whopper of a power supply for all those GPU's


Posted 8 June 2011 8:34 pm

Yes, but with that kind of SPEED who cares?


Posted 9 June 2011 6:46 pm

What a waste of money. Besides rendering, max only use 1 CPU out of 12.

Shane Griffith

Posted 9 June 2011 6:58 pm

not completely true SpaceWarp. we certainly do have many areas of the application that will be slowed by a single thread but this is true of most DCC applications. Several new technologies recently introduce are multi threaded like, nitrous, MassFX, QuickSilver, and some workflows within the modeling tools. Creating a completely thread safe DCC application is pretty close to impossible, but via XBR we are continuously evaluating how we can move closer to this goal.


Posted 9 June 2011 8:38 pm

Oh, its completely true Shane! :-) I said besides rendering. Quicksilver is a special case. It is a renderer but it only use 1 CPU and 1 graphic card. Same with Nitrous: it only use 1 of my 4 CPUs and only 1 of my 2 GTX580. Try it yourself. It is total waste of money to buy such a workstation. I recommend to invest the money in a small renderfarm which is capable for distributed rendering.


Posted 28 July 2011 2:51 am

We have a mix of Boxx render nodes, 8 and 16 core (virtual). With Windows7 we can connect to 20 nodes with DR (VRay). I frequently see 200+ buckets! What normally takes hours to render finishes in ten minutes. Some of our render nodes are in other offices, from Seattle to LA and it still works great. They are super reliable and Boxx is very responsive to service calls. Top notch.

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