Conclusion: Tough Sell, Depending

There are no bad products, only bad prices, and that adage holds true with the Puget Systems Genesis II Quiet. In the process, though, Puget Systems has more mitigating factors to contend with beyond just delivering a price and performance competitive product. The nature of the workstation market puts increased demands on both the product and the vendor.

First, though, in terms of the tower itself, Puget brings a lot to the table. Top to bottom, the components included are the kind of high quality that you'd expect. As I mentioned previously, this is the quietest workstation I've ever tested, an impressive feat when you look at the tremendous amount of performance on tap from the two CPUs. A series of intelligent component choices, smart engineering of the chassis, and an overall clean build allow the Genesis II Quiet to very effectively achieve what Puget Systems set out to do: build an incredibly fast system that produces virtually no noise. That everything runs as cool as it does is just an added bonus.

Where things get dicey is when you compare the Genesis II Quiet to workstations from HP, Dell, and Lenovo. At this time I'm keen to point out that HP's enterprise website is hands down the worst one out there, with absolutely lousy access times and an abysmal layout. This has been true for a long time and I'm mystified as to why it's never been corrected, so if you want to order something today, you may have to forego the HP Z820. If you do manage to get through their site, though, a comparable Z820 comes in at $9,927, or $7,942 after their coupon code is applied. That's $300 more, but in exchange you get a workstation GPU to start with and three years of enterprise class warranty coverage and support.

Unsurprisingly, Dell eats the competition alive with a workstation sporting two slightly faster processors at $6,972. Again, you get an entry-level workstation card and three years of enterprise class warranty coverage and support standard. You also get Dell's RMT (Reliable Memory Technology), unique to them, which isolates and cordons off bad memory while maintaining uptime. And both Dell and HP have repair depots sprinkled liberally throughout the country, something Puget Systems is unfortunately just too small to offer. Lenovo's the only company that can't compete; they start at over $10k for a similar configuration, and though you get the same three-year parts and on-site labor warranty, there's no reason to spend the extra money.

At this point I'm being slightly unfair to Puget Systems; if you cut $150 from the cost of the Genesis II Quiet, you can get an entry-level workstation card and be on your way, and the build itself has a lot to recommend it. The problem is that they have find some way to beat the three-year standard warranty with on-site repair that major vendors offer, and just having a computer that runs silently with higher quality parts isn't going to cut it. I understand why they only offer a one-year warranty on their consumer machines; offering a parts warranty for two to three years may be industry standard, but technology rollover in the consumer PC industry is fast and it may be difficult if not impossible to source replacement hardware. On the enterprise side, this doesn't really hold water; if you're selling a workstation, it needs a three-year warranty, period, and if you're going to cite enhanced reliability on your component choices then you need to be willing to back it up even if only for your customer's peace of mind.

I don't know that anything can be done about the price; bigger vendors like HP and Dell get sweetheart deals that can make it difficult to compete on that front. And it's tough to compete with companies that large that can just set up supply depots and send repair technicians out into the field all over the country. I feel like Puget Systems need to at least up their parts warranty to three years on the Genesis II Quiet Edition; a workstation that starts at $3,000 and only goes up from there has no business with just a one year warranty. If they can do that, I can find a reason to recommend the otherwise excellent Genesis II.

Build, Noise, Heat, and Power Consumption
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  • bromega - Wednesday, May 22, 2013 - link

    honestly, the cable management looks pretty scrappy for a boutique build Reply
  • gipper51 - Wednesday, May 22, 2013 - link

    Care to test an incredible workstation? Try one of the overclocked systems from Boxx Technologies.like their 4920 Xtreme or one of their 4+GHZ dual Xeon systems. We are using the 4920 Xtreme systems for Autodesk Revit / 3Ds Max at a medium-sized architectural firm and it absolutely screams, and it better for $8K. Coming from hexcore Xeon Z800 systems....staggering difference.

    Boxx is boutique, but their clients include Disney, Boeing, BMW, Mercedes, NASA, Pixar, Dreamworks, US Dept. of Defense, and dozens of others. Top notch stuff.
    Reply
  • SodaAnt - Wednesday, May 22, 2013 - link

    Really now? I just went to their website, and for a computer with the exact same configuration as the product being reviewed here would cost $10,000. And that wouldn't even be for a super quiet computer, so I fail to see how that would be a better computer.

    Plus, the claim about the "4+ GHZ dual Xeon system", I fail to see how that is true. The processor they list has a max turbo frequency of only 3.8GHz, so unless they are overclocking a workstation, there's no way that can be true. And if they ARE overclocking a workstation, that's a dangerous road to go down.
    Reply
  • gipper51 - Wednesday, May 22, 2013 - link

    Yes they are overclocking the Xeons to a mild degree. Whether it's a good idea or not, they've been doing it for a long time. I doubt they would have the client list they do if these machines were not reliable.

    The 4920 Xtremes we are running have hexcore i7 CPUs at 4.5ghz and you can barely hear them. Not silent, but they are quieter than our previous HP workstations.
    Reply
  • SodaAnt - Wednesday, May 22, 2013 - link

    Its beside the main point though, that if you want the same machine that was reviewed here, Boxx would charge $3,000 more. Further, how do they overclock them anyways? Part of the other problem is that overclocking SB-E xeons isn't an easy task, and tends to be more unreliable because of the multiplier lock. I somehow feel they tweaked the frequencies by about 5% just so they could advertise that they are "4GHZ+" Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, May 22, 2013 - link

    SNB-E allows you to run the BCLK multiplier at various settings, so while SNB-E is CPU multiplier locked it's still possible to set the BCLK to 1.25x or 1.66x instead of the default 1.00x. So basically it's easy to get a 25% overclock, and if your hardware can handle it a 66% overclock is also possible. You can also lower the multiplier however, so running with 1.66x and a 27X CPU multiplier (as opposed to the default 29X on the E5-2690) would get you the above mentioned 4.5GHz. Reply
  • MattKatz - Thursday, October 09, 2014 - link

    For a workstation, I'd get something like Dell Inspiron i3847-5078BK (loved by consumers, see http://www.consumertop.com/best-desktop-guide/ for example). Definitely not the Genesis II Quiet. Reply
  • Rick83 - Wednesday, May 22, 2013 - link

    I suppose this board won't support full AMT 7.1, due to the wrong LAN chipsets being used?
    But - does any S2011 board support KVMoIP via AMT? In the 1155/1156 Xeons this supposedly requires the integrated graphics - without those being present on the -E platform, a quick googling couldn't uncover this information.
    Reply
  • tunaman - Wednesday, May 22, 2013 - link

    im sure you could build for cheaper, 6000+ (when you add the extras) for something special.

    nice concept, but i would rather just take and build the crysis 3 machine from may 2013 - best free software issue for 1,615. Laptop exterior accessories http://goo.gl/OItwV
    Reply
  • gipper51 - Wednesday, May 22, 2013 - link

    Sure if you are a one man operation. Our company bought 50. Some buy hundreds and need tech support. Reply

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