Scan 3XS RTX Studio Pro G132R review: Silent but deadly
Considering the power contained within, this workstation is quite simply a bargain at this price
It’s no longer a surprise to see GeForce RTX graphics in a workstation, and that’s in large part due to Nvidia’s Studio initiative. Launched at Computex in May 2019, it’s already a compelling platform: a combination of certified components and drivers that are supported by industry-leading software across 3D rendering, photography, video editing, graphic design and more. All without the premium for AMD and Nvidia’s pro-level cards.
Here, the star is Nvidia’s RTX 3090. This costs £1,500 and includes a specification to make apps tremble. First, the 10,496 CUDA cores provide unparalleled levels of parallel processing. Then you have 328 Tensor cores to give a boost in apps that support deep learning – perhaps most notably in games that support deep learning super sampling (DLSS). Finally, it offers 82 ray tracing (RT) cores and 24GB of memory with a 384-bit width memory interface.
If the Nvidia card takes top billing though, it must be prepared for the 16-core Ryzen 5950X to steal some scenes. Every Ryzen 5000 processor benefits from AMD’s latest Zen 3 architecture, which uses a tweaked design to give all of the cores access to the Level 3 cache. In combination with higher boost frequencies (the 5950X jumps to 4.9GHz, for example, while the 3950X could only manage 4.7GHz), this helps it in single-threaded applications such as most games.
AMD claims that Zen 3 also gives a 19% uplift over Zen 2 in instructions per cycle (IPC) when multitasking, which is significant. Bigger, in fact, than Zen 2 over the first generation.
Then we come to the memory and storage. 64GB of RAM spread across two channels provides a powerful punch, with room to easily upgrade to 128GB. Note this is 3,600MHz RAM, a 400MHz boost over that supported by previous Ryzen chips.
Scan provides the incredible 1TB Samsung 980 Pro as the system drive, with much of its speed due to its support for PCIe 4. In AS SSD, it returned sequential write speeds of 3,900MB/sec and sequential reads of 5,287MB/sec. Not content with this, Scan further supports it with a 2TB Samsung 980 Pro SSD to cover your storage needs. And if you want to add more storage, one press of a latch opens up the right-hand side of the PC and reveals three mounts for SATA SSDs and two 3.5in bays for hard disks.
With such a high-profile cast, it was no surprise to see strong performances, and top billing goes to 3D animation. The G132R led our 3ds Max and Maya tests by a distance, outpacing the Scan 3XS GWP-ME Q164T by more than 50 points in each. That £8,000 machine included a Threadripper 3970X and a Quadro RTX 6000 card.
The Quadro still has its place, however, with the Siemens NX test (part of SPECviewperf 13) a stark example: here the G132R scored 28 to the 318 of the £2,800 Chillblast Fusion RTX 4000. The Chillblast was using the lowliest Quadro RTX 4000 graphics chip, too. This emphasises the importance of driver compatibility.
As its Cinebench R20 score of 9,723 shows, 32 Zen 2 cores still hold an undeniable advantage over 16 Zen 3 cores, despite AMD’s best efforts. This will stay true for any apps that use all available cores. Bearing this in mind, we can only admire the Studio Pro’s performance in our benchmarks. An overall score of 583 is the fastest we’ve seen from a 16-core PC, soundly beating the 3950X-powered Chillblast.
What’s even more impressive is that the Scan Studio does all this while barely rising above a whisper. In general, you won’t even notice that it’s switched on – it really is that quiet. The main reason for this is that Scan opts for the largest air cooler we’ve ever seen, with the Noctua NH-D15’s double-width construction and two 140mm fans keeping the 5950X’s temperatures under control without resorting to whine-inducing speeds. That’s despite the power draw of this system peaking at 543W in our tests, up from an idle draw of 63W.
We’re a star-struck fan when it comes to the Fractal Design Define 7 chassis too; it’s chunky but in return offers sound-dampened sides and all the elbow room you need if you want to take advantage of the expansion options provided by the Asus RoG Strix X570-F Gaming motherboard.
While this board’s name gives away its gaming heritage, it’s perfectly at home in a super-powered system such as this thanks to its top-end X570 chipset, potential for SLI graphics via the second PCIe 4 x16 slot and plentiful connectors. More prosaically, there are two more PCIe slots sitting vacant if you wish to add Wi-Fi or a sound card.
All this quality, power and finesse comes at a cost, but if you see this as a three-year professional investment – the duration of the warranty – it starts to make sense. Unless your workloads frequently call up all 32 cores of a Threadripper or require the ISV certification of a Quadro card, it will save you time as well as give you silent pleasure.
While we still await the arrival of 5000 Series Threadrippers in early 2021, and fully expect them to break all CPU-based records, this powerful workstation goes straight to the top of our A-List.
Scan 3XS RTX Studio Pro G132R specifications
16-core 3.4GHz (4.9GHz boost) AMD Ryzen 9 5950X processor
Asus RoG Strix X570-F Gaming motherboard
64GB 3,600MHz Corsair Vengeance DDR4 RAM
24GB EVGA GeForce RTX 3090 XC3 graphics
1TB Samsung 980 Pro PCIe 4 NVMe M.2 SSD
2TB Samsung 980 Pro PCIe 4 NVMe M.2 SSD
240 x 547 x 475mm
PSU make and model (power output)
850W Corsair RMX PSU
Noctua NH-D15 Chromax Black air cooler
Windows 10 Pro
Warranty (parts & labour unless stated)
3yr warranty (1yr on-site, 2yr parts and labour RTB)
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