The performance of this system was, in a word, spectacular.
Peering inside the Genesis II, we saw immediate justification for the large case. The benefit of all that space? Significant room for expansion, with 11 drive bays. In our test machine, one of the three-drive cages was eliminated to make room for one of the two the liquid cooling fans. That leaves room for three 3.5-inch hard drives in one cage, and four 5.25-inch optical drives with access to the outside up top, along with another 3.5-inch drive there. So if you wanted to, you could still mount beaucoups de terabytes of drive space inside this voluminous case. In our test machine, the 300GB Western Digital VelociRaptor drive-along with a 1TB Western Digital Caviar Black drive-seemed almost lonely in their cage inside the relatively cavernous space. The only thing missing was a 1394 port up front, a format that seems to be fading away lately (although there is a 1394 port in the back). In its place is a SATA port in front, which might come in handy if you want to quickly plug in a fast external drive.
The downside of that case? We’re spoiled by the tool-less design of HP and Dell workstations, letting us disassemble the entire PC with our bare hands. Hard drives slide out, graphics cards snap in and out, and it’s as easy to open as a car door. Not so with the Genesis II. You’ll need a screwdriver to put drives into their conventional cages, and it takes some finesse to replace a graphics card, because the mounting screws are hard to get to. If you’re one who likes to tinker with your workstation’s innards, this will feel primitive and awkward. If you don’t even bother to crack open the case, it won’t matter at all.
We started up this beast, immediately noticing that it was unusually silent. We content creators like our workstations quiet, and the Genesis II does not disappoint. Helping things out tremendously is its liquid cooling system, streaming its oily coolness to the two Xeon chips, and eschewing those noisy processor fans. Another testament to extreme ventilation is the unusually large “Big Boy 200” mounted on the door, a 200mm fan whose casing sticks out over an inch. The result of this large and slow-spinning fan and all the other extreme efforts at airflow is an exceedingly cool, yet quiet PC. At 45dB, it’s not the most silent one we’ve tested, though. That honor would go to the quietest machine we’ve ever heard here, the air-cooled HP Z800, registering a 40.1 dB level in our unscientific metering. Still the Genesis II ‘s faint whir was barely unnoticeable, even when it was sitting there right next to us.
Overall, the appearance of the gunmetal and black case, and the basic accessibility of its conventional drive cages were not overly impressive. But video editors, compositors and animators who might spring for this tricked-out $8,003 Genesis II won’t be buying it for its looks. They’ll like its generous expandability and supreme cooling system. That’s just the beginning. The true test of this hot rod’s mettle is one factor: raw speed. Be prepared to be amazed as you take a look at the results of our benchmarks tests below:
|HP Z800 workstation, Dual Quad Core 3.2GHz (“Nehalem”)||Puget Systems Genesis II workstation, Dual Quad Core 3.2GHz (“Nehalem”)||Speedup %|
|Total Benchmark||292 Seconds||216||10.6%|
|Night Flight Vector||5:18||4:16||19.49%|
|“Source Shapes” Vector graphics||:35||:19||45.7%|
|Maxon CineBench Rendering R10||29,035, multiprocessor speedup 7.01x||30,504, multiprocessor speedup, 6.39x||5.05%|