Workstation Specialists WS-1640A-G4 review: Good, but not great

A powerful and well-balanced AMD Threadripper workstation, although there are faster alternatives

Price
£4,998 exc VAT
  • Stylish chassis
  • Disappointing storage speeds
  • Outclassed by rivals

Workstation Specialists is a small but focused UK-based manufacturer of systems for content creators. As its previous machines have demonstrated, the company has a good handle on hardware trends in this market, and this is another system based around AMD’s stunning Threadripper 3970X.

Although the CPU supports 3,200MHz memory, Workstation Specialists has only used 3,000MHz DDR4 SDRAM – but this means it can supply 128GB of it. It sensibly chooses Nvidia’s Quadro RTX 5000, which balances well with the high-end CPU. With 3,072 CUDA cores and 16GB of GDDR6 frame buffer providing 448GB/sec of bandwidth, this card will tackle any 3D modelling task with aplomb. The Antec P110 Luce chassis is particularly stylish, with a sleek unfussy exterior and tempered glass side panel, but it doesn’t have USB-C at the front. However, the ASRock TRX40 Creator motherboard provides both 2.5Gbit and 10Gbit networking. 

Workstation Specialists has sensibly chosen a 2TB Gigabyte Aorus NVMe M.2 SSD as main storage, which supports PCI Express 4. But we only recorded reading at 3,463MB/sec and writing at 3,461MB/sec, which are more like PCI Express 3 speeds. The 4TB Toshiba N300 7,200rpm hard disk is a good capacity for large media asset files, but with 209MB/sec reading and 208MB/sec writing, it’s also slower than the hard disks supplied with other systems this month. 

This proved the fastest system in our benchmarks, however, achieving a phenomenal 711 overall and a particularly stunning 896 in multitasking. On the other hand, the WS-1640A-G4 is 7% behind Armari’s Magnetar with 17,098 in Cinebench R20 and took 5% longer to complete the Blender Gooseberry render on CPU. Its CPU scores in IndigoBench 4 were similarly lower, and it was the slowest 3970X-based system for encoding video with Adobe Media Encoder CC 2020.

As with other systems using the 3970X, the 3D viewset scores in SPECviewperf 13 are mostly on par for a system sporting Nvidia’s Quadro RTX 5000, with a particularly stunning 500 in snx-03, showing strong capability with modelling in all categories.

Overall, this is a well-specified and constructed workstation, with particularly good general media application performance. But otherwise it’s simply put into the shade by the best of the 3970X-based systems.

Workstation Specialists WS-1640A-G4 specifications

Processor

3.7GHz AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3970X

Motherboard

ASRock TRX40 Creator

Expansion slots

8 x RAM slots (4 free), 4 x PCIe x16 (3 free), 3 x M.2 (1 free), 8 x SATA 600 (8 free)

RAM

128GB DDR4, 3,000MHz

GPU

PNY Quadro RTX 5000, 16GB GDDR6

Outputs

4 x DisplayPort 1.4, USB-C VirtualLink

SSD

Gigabyte Aorus 2TB NVMe M.2 PCI Express 4.0

Secondary drives

N/A N/A N/A, Toshiba N300 4TB

Optical drives

N/A

Dimensions (WDH)

Antec P110 Luce (230 x 489 x 518mm)

PSU make and model (power output)

80-Plus Platinum (1,000W)

CPU cooler

Enermax LIQTECH 360 TR4 watercooler

Rear ports

10 Gigabit Ethernet, 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet, 5 x 3.5mm audio jack, optical S/PDIF, 4 x USB 3.2 Gen 1, 2 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 (Type-A), USB 3.2 Gen 2 (Type-C), Wi-Fi, PS/2 mouse/keyboard combo

Front/top ports

3.5mm audio jack, 3.5mm microphone jack, 2 x USB 3

Operating system

Windows 10 Pro 64-bit

Warranty (parts & labour unless stated)

3yr RTB

Featured Resources

BCDR buyer's guide for MSPs

How to choose a business continuity and disaster recovery solution

Download now

The definitive guide to IT security

Protecting your MSP and your customers

Download now

Cost of a data breach report 2020

Find out what factors help mitigate breach costs

Download now

The complete guide to changing your phone system provider

Optimise your phone system for better business results

Download now

Recommended

Intel NUC 11 Pro review: Tiny, feature-packed and effective
Hardware

Intel NUC 11 Pro review: Tiny, feature-packed and effective

30 Apr 2021
Acer ConceptD 700 review: Stylish and well-specified
Hardware

Acer ConceptD 700 review: Stylish and well-specified

23 Apr 2021
Scan 3XS GWP-ME N1-32T review: The fastest content creation machine around
Hardware

Scan 3XS GWP-ME N1-32T review: The fastest content creation machine around

16 Apr 2021
Dell OptiPlex 7070 Ultra review: The ultimate small form-factor PC?
Hardware

Dell OptiPlex 7070 Ultra review: The ultimate small form-factor PC?

17 Mar 2021

Most Popular

KPMG offers staff 'four-day fortnight' in hybrid work plans
flexible working

KPMG offers staff 'four-day fortnight' in hybrid work plans

6 May 2021
Dell patches vulnerability affecting hundreds of computer models worldwide
cyber security

Dell patches vulnerability affecting hundreds of computer models worldwide

5 May 2021
16 ways to speed up your laptop
Laptops

16 ways to speed up your laptop

29 Apr 2021