Scalability is the benefit of Dell's Precision 5820 Tower. The chameleon nature of the 5820 Tower takes you from a solid, entry-level CAD workstation to an ultra-high-end workstation for VR, video, special effects, and simulation.
This 5000 series Precision workstation can deliver blazing speed and huge capacities for storage and memory, or it can be dropped next to your desk at the price of an entry-level workstation. This level of flexibility lets you standardize on a single platform and use configuration options that fit your business needs.
Intel Skylake-W Processors with 4 to 18 cores and dual Quadro GPUs
Our test system is configured as well-performing entry-level workstation with a bonus or two. The 4 core Xeon, 16 GB of memory and SATA hard drive reflect a typical entry-level workstation configuration. The Quadro P4000 GPU takes the performance of our system up a notch in graphics performance as well as computing performance for our video tests.
The Precision 5820 Tower brings a new level of computing cores to your desk-side workstation thanks to Intel's new Xeon W Series of workstation processors. While our system came with a Xeon W-2155, 4 core, 4 GHz processor, the Precision 5820 Tower supports the Xeon W-2195 processor with 18 cores.
The new Precision 5820 Tower is based on the Kaby Lake platform. It supports high-end configurations including 256 GB of 2666 MHz memory. Storage expands to 24 TB. Two ultra-high-end GPUs, like the Quadro GP100, can meet your needs in high performance visualization and computing.
The system design includes integrated front and back grips to simplify carrying the system. The cooling system has specific cooling channels for the CPU, GPUs, and storage. We find that the solution works well. The perceived noise is very very low, even when the workstation CPU and GPU are being pushed to their maximum performance.
An Ultra-thin display, Dell's S2719DM QHD resolution monitor
Our system comes with the Dell Ultra Thin 27 inch display, the S2719DM. It is light, clear, thin, and crisp. The 2560x1440 resolution is perfect for many professional workstation users today. It is thin, and the bevel around the display is extremely small.
The clean design has dual inputs along with the power input neatly lined up on the back spine. Dual inputs allows for multiple sources - a desktop and a mobile workstation - for example. As it is an ultra-thin design, there are no built-in speakers, but we don't miss that feature.
One small point, which is common with some other monitors we have tested, the S2719DM only has HDMI inputs. As the NVIDIA Quadro P4000 has four DisplayPort outputs, we need to pull out our DisplayPort to HDMI adapter.
With a clear, bright display, a light, clean design, and a price between $400-$500, the S2719DM is a good option for a dual-display workstation configuration.
Quadro P4000 and Xeon W Series Performance
Performance hits the mark for a 2000€ workstation configuration. The NVIDIA Quadro P4000 is a GPU that we know well at PW. The quad-core W series Xeon clocks at 4 GHz and provides smooth performance across eight threads. Our configuration was a bit short on memory and lacked a fast PCIe SSD drive. We would recommend upgrading our configuration for both.
It is likely that our Viewperf tests are not influenced heavily by either short-coming. The Quadro P4000 deliver results that align with past testing. Here we compare our results with previous tests of a Quadro P4000 and show you the performance differences.
This review is also the first review since the release of the new Viewperf 13.0 and are results are also posted here. PW will post a review of the new release of SPECviewperf soon.
As regular readers know, SPECviewperf focuses more on measuring the GPU performance than the performance of other systems in the workstation. For this reason, PW uses Adobe Creative Cloud applications to measure and analyze performance for the GPU, for the CPU, for the memory, and for the storage.
Our test results are normalized to the percentage of time it takes to render video compared to the video's duration. A one minute video which renders in exactly one minute has a result of 100%. If it renders in 30 seconds, it has a result of 50%. If it renders in two minutes, it has a result of 200%.
Adobe Premier Pro, like many video applications, makes good use of the GPU. Even a 4.0 GHz W-series Xeon cannot hold a candle to GPU-accelerated video workflows. Premier Pro performance scales with the performance of the GPU, too. The result: investing in a fast GPU pays you back in performance and time-savings.
The tests use Avid's DNxHD format for the video clips in Premier Pro. This is an edit-friendly video compression format that makes editing complex video compositions more efficient.
VR Ready Workstation
The Quadro P4000 is one of NVIDIA's "VR Ready" GPUs. We ran through a series of VR applications using an Oculus Rift HMD. Among those, VR-ON's Stage and Virtalis' Visionary Render products for VR collaboration ran flawlessly. Overall, the VR experience on the Dell Precision 5820 with the Quadro P4000 is perfectly comfortable. This base-configuration seems to work well for many professional VR environments.
Configurations and Productivity
The PW test configuration is a bit lean on power for our tastes, but that depends on your workloads. The benefit of standardizing on the Precision 5820 Tower for your workstations is simple. One base model can support inexpensive, entry-level workstation users, ultra-high-end power-hungry users, and everyone in between.
This workstation supports 256 GB of memory, 24 TB of storage, 2 ultra-high-end GPUs and up to 18 cores with hyper-threading. It can be posed as a desk-side workstation or laid flat on your desk top. Your desk needs to have a good surface area for the latter as the Precision 5820 is by no means a compact mini-tower.
If your work is 3D CAD, then the current configuration is OK. We would recommend stepping down to a Quadro P2000 and stepping up to (or just adding) an M.2 NVMe SSD drive. If your work tends toward professional video and special effects, then you want to increase the GPU power, increase memory, add a lot of fast SSD storage, and add many cores. It is not hard for us to imagine a high-end video-editing workstation with a Quadro P6000, 64-128 GB of memory, 4 TB of M.2 NVMe SSD storage, and a 10+ core CPU.
The PW Perspective
The big-win with the Precision 5820 Tower is having a chameleon-style of workstation in your company. One base model could easily support 100% of your professional workstation needs. The system has a clean, efficient and quiet design. The PW test system performs well, even if we would like to ramp up the performance for graphics, CPU cores, memory, and storage!