Application and Futuremark Performance

On paper, the Lenovo ThinkStation D30 I have in for review is the fastest desktop I've ever tested and should easily best the other workstations I'll be comparing it to. The Quadro 5000 is the most powerful workstation GPU (up to this point I've only tested the 4000) on the charts, and dual Intel octalcore Xeons should give any system a run for their money. At the same time, keep in mind that the PCMarks are extremely dependent on storage subsystem performance, and I get the distinct impression that's going to be the achilles' heel of this review system due to the mechanical hard disk.

Futuremark PCMark 7

Futuremark PCMark Vantage

Futuremark 3DMark 11

Futuremark 3DMark Vantage

Futuremark 3DMark06

The 3DMarks defer to the Quadro 5000 as they should, but the two HP workstations both enjoyed SSDs as their system drives instead of the mechanical drive in the D30, and even eight more 3.1GHz cores can't really pick up the slack.

3D Rendering - CINEBENCH R10

3D Rendering - CINEBENCH R10

3D Rendering - CINEBENCH R11.5

Video Encoding - x264

Video Encoding - x264

Pushing single-threaded applications is an absolute waste of the hardware in the D30, but the instant anything multi-threaded comes in the extra eight cores come on line and the system surges ahead. What I find most interesting, though, are the x264 results. Despite having half the CPU power, the HP Z420 is able to actually beat the D30 in the first pass by three frames. In the second pass, the extra eight cores in the D30 only offer a roughly 33% boost in performance.

Suspecting the storage subsystem was holding the D30 back, I grabbed a spare 60GB OCZ Vertex 3 I had laying around and plugged it in, then ran the x264 benchmark off of it. The results were actually very surprising, and in retrospect I may have been too hard on Lenovo for their decision, as the D30 crunched through the video in roughly the same amount of time.

Introducing the Lenovo ThinkStation D30 Workstation Performance


View All Comments

  • Haribol - Monday, November 26, 2012 - link

    Shop around on eBay, Google, Amazon for the best deals. Never pay retail !!!
    I bought a Brand New System on eBay for 50% off's website. Same system at was close to $15,000 without taxes and fees. I bought it for $4200 dual xeon 2650, 5 SSD Drives (LENOVO Drives) and 64GB Factory ECC 1600mhz Memory and mid-range Quadro. So please don't get ripped off by paying factory pricing. Search on Google, Amazon, Ebay for the best deals.

    Hope this helps.
  • icuimp - Saturday, November 17, 2012 - link

    Just thought i would point out a Sandforce based SSD is not suited for video encoding especially a slow 60GB model.

    SSD was probably holding back the encoding results due to slow transfer rates (~60MB/sec write speeds).

    Try something non sandforce based and retest please!
  • Oscarcharliezulu - Saturday, November 17, 2012 - link

    I haven't used a real workstation class PC since the Dell I had in 2000 (remember rdram?), but it was truly awesome, internal design alone made it worth the money. I've had a dozen PC's but that is the one I remember most. Man was it stable and fast. This article made me nostalgic for it, so thanks. Reply
  • Wixman666 - Sunday, November 18, 2012 - link

    In the future, it would be nice to see how these multi thousand dollar workstations compare to a single CPU overclocked enthusiast box with a high end video card.

    An i5 3570k or 3700k at 4.6+ and a geforce 670 or 680 just so we can get some perspective. Pretty sure that it would be middle of the pack and at 10% of the cost.

    I see that you have a puget in there with the i5 2500k, but it has the on chip video. That's a pretty worthless addition to the charts when we're talking about high end graphics workstation performance.
  • alpha754293 - Monday, November 19, 2012 - link

    ....and the SSDs that ARE rated for enterprise usage puts another $2000 or so on top of the cost of a $10k system.

    That's why they don't use SSDs.

    The plus side though - if it did - the SSD might be a PCIe card rather than SATA 6 Gbps.

    I would have LOVE to have seen some HPC benchmarks performed on this system in order to figure out what it's real performance would be like.

    And 16 GB of RAM for a system like this is really nothing. Considering that you can get Alienwares now with that much RAM...*shrug*...

    (The most memory I've used is somewhere around 96 GB range...on a system that had 128 GB.)
  • dtolios - Monday, November 19, 2012 - link

    Modern games have little to do with cores...very few of them will care for the 8-threads a 2600K/3770K has to offer over a 2500K/3570K. In case some should (happens in some cases and extreme resolutions, Tri-Quad SLI and the works), a 3930K would beat most Xeons (1P, 2P, 10P - w/e).

    Single threaded performance is still very important in most fields. CAD, CG and video editing included.
    Again, fast i7s (and sometimes fast i5s) will beat Xeons due to faster clocks. Add O/C to make multithreaded performance of a s2011 hex-i7 unrivaled even by mid-range 2P systems.

    16GB of RAM and 60GB SSDs are a joke - period. So are the monies asked to upgrade them (over market prices) when building to order such workstations by Lenovo, Dell, HP etc.

    Ppl that believe that 2P is a limiting factor, think again: which Windows OS distribution you think allows you utilize more than 2P systems? Def. not Win 7 64bit ;-)
  • Haribol - Tuesday, November 20, 2012 - link

    I saw one for sale on eBay. Which has 4 X Lenovo SSD Drives and 2TB. Has 64GB of memory. I might just give an offer to that guy see how much he takes. I used the D20 and I really like these machines. They are not pretty like the dells but they are rock solid.

    How much you think that is worth?
  • Haribol - Tuesday, November 20, 2012 - link

    Why DDR3-1333 memory. The ones I have been looking on CDW and Ebay say it comes with 1600 Memory. Reply

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