PCSpecialist Vector Q40A: RTX Studio RTX workstation with Ryzen 9?
When we talk about a workstation, we often refer to machines offered by Dell, HPE or Lenovo. But with its Studio RTX label, NVIDIA has paved the way for third-party integrators. PCSpecialist offers various certified machines, Yes have tested one.
PCSpecialist Vector Q40A Review
The PCSpecialist has been selling its products on the French market for almost three years now. As a reminder, this is an English dealer who does not offer spare parts, only turnkey machines. And these are fully configurable: case, motherboard, CPU, memory, storage, GPU, accessories, software, etc.
Before the summer, the company decided to strengthen its professional offer. While it already offered high-end PCs, some now have NVIDIA RTX Studio certification. Rackmount servers can also be ordered while enjoying the same possibility of customization as in the rest of the catalog.
We asked the company if they could provide us with a machine that’s certified, but based on a Ryzen processor from AMD, so we can see what the heaven is all about.
Ryzen 9 and Quadro RTX (you can change them)
We voluntarily stayed on the basic configuration, sold for 2,564 euros all the same. It had an advantage for us: it comes with an NVIDIA Quadro RTX, products that we rarely get to test.
It is a 4000 model, a sort of RTX 2070 with limited frequencies, because it is simple slot. It therefore has 2,304 CUDA Cores, 288 Tensor Cores, 36 RT Cores, 8 GB of GDDR6 (on a 256-bit bus), but is limited to a consumption of 125 watts (160 watts for the entire card) against 185 watts for a reference RTX 2070. Its memory operates at 13 Gb/s for a bandwidth of 416 Gb/s against 448 Gb/s for its big sister. Its computing power is given at 7.1 TFLOPS in single precision (FP32) rather than 7.47 TFLOPS.
Despite its compact design, it offers three DP 1.4 video outputs with a USB Type-C (VirtualLink) port. Quadro requires, it has NVIDIA certified drivers for professional applications, available in two channels to use according to your needs: ODE (Optimal Driver for Enterprise) and QNF (Quadro New Feature).
The Quadro RTX 4000 does not have ECC memory and NVLink connector. But on its side, there are two others: Stereo (for 3D) and Sync II for multi-screen solutions with Mosaic technology. But also the management of nView workspaces, now Quadro View.
Other solutions specific to these professional cards can be used on this model, such as GPUDirect for Video. The pilots are also more complete, making it possible to choose the priority between graphics rendering and more traditional calculation for example.
When configuring the machine, you can opt for a higher Quadro RTX model, up to 8000 (5,900 euros extra). Or not to integrate any to reuse yours (1,039 euros in savings). If you prefer a consumer card, GeForce RTX 2060 (Super), and Titan RTX are available.
The GeForce RTX 30 series are available for pre-order. No precise date is given. Count 639 euros for an RTX 3070, 875 euros for an RTX 3080 and 1,707 euros for an RTX 3090. That is between 120 and 278 euros more than the public prices announced by NVIDIA. The model used is not specified. Up to two graphics cards can be installed. If so, a suitable NVLink bridge will be supplied and installed.
The processor is a more classic model, AMD having democratized the 12/16 core CPU with its Ryzen 9. Here, it is a model 3900X (12C/24T) which is installed, the 3900XT not having been announced at the time. output from these configurations.
But you can order it for around fifty euros more. Other AMD CPUs are available, from the 3700X to the 3950X. 2x 16 GB of Corsair DDR4 at 3 GHz are present by default.
The 5th generation Ryzen are already displayed. We note in passing that the Studio certification is present despite the use of an AMD processor. This is a rare enough fact to be clarified. Particularly in Europe where resellers have almost no fixed Studio PC in the catalog.
The performance of the whole is rather good, the machine remaining constantly silent, which is appreciable for the GPU given the compactness of its cooler. The processor is equipped by default with a Noctua NH-U14S. A powerful choice without being too expensive. We avoid the saving of candle light.
You may prefer other solutions, watercooling kits being offered. Artic MX-4 Extreme thermal paste is used by default, billed at 11 euros. You can request that the one supplied with the fan be used instead.
We appreciate in passing that all manuals, accessories, screws, cables of the various components are delivered with the machine, in a box provided for this purpose.
Closed case, the Ryzen 9 3900X has never exceeded 60° C even under sustained load. Like the Quadro RTX 4000, it is stable around 30° C at rest. The graphics card climbs to 82/83° C under load. The consumption at the outlet is 60 watts at rest. When loaded under Blender 2.90.1 ( bmw27 scene ) we get:
- Ryzen 9 3900X: 131 seconds, 238 watts average consumption
- GeForce RTX 2060 Super: 32 seconds, 229 watts average consumption
- Quadro RTX 4000: 29 seconds, 221 watts average consumption
The tests were carried out with the most recent drivers (Studio for the RTX 2060 Super), and the OptiX rendering in the case of NVIDIA GPUs. As a reminder, the 2060 Super uses the same GPU as the 2070 with only a few units disabled.
It has a computing power similar to the Quadro RTX 4000 (7.1 TFLOPS). We also carried out a series of tests with SPECViewPerf 13, which benefits from specific optimizations via the drivers reserved for Quadro. On some tests, and the results are clear.
PCIe 4.0 SSD, HDD, Wi-Fi 6, but no Multi-Gig network
The rest of the configuration is “wiser”. No frills on the motherboard which is an ASUS X570-PLUS Gaming. Fans of addressable RGB will be happy to learn that it can handle such optional fixtures.
Just like additional fans to be placed in the case. It was a Corsair Obsidian 750D when we ordered. PCSpecialist now prefers the Meshify S2 Blackout from Fractal Design with tempered glass side panel.
But then again, you have a choice, upward or downward. The same goes for storage, where we find by default a 1TB FireCuda 520 PCIe 4.0 x4 SSD and a 4TB Barracuda HDD (5400 rpm, 256 MB cache), both from Seagate.
Enough to have a fast system without sacrificing storage capacity. In our configuration, it was possible to climb to four HDD and two SSD, configured with or without RAID. You can even add optical drives or SD cards if you wish. It is still sometimes necessary in certain cases.
The Wi-Fi chip is of the latest generation (802.11ax). This is an Intel AX200. It is possible to replace it with an ASUS daughter card, which is of no interest since it is based on the same component. 802.11n or ac versions are also available. Only regret: no 2.5 or 10 Gb/s network card is offered.
The power supply is a Corsair 550 watt semi-modular Corsair (TX550M), 80+ Gold certified. Here too, dimensioned in a reasonable way, perhaps even a little too much with regard to the real consumption of the system. When making your choice, don’t forget that the best efficiency is obtained between 20 and 50% load.
Delivery without OS possible, your choice of browser
As for the installed software, don’t expect anything special from the fact that this is an RTX Studio machine. This label only identifies those meeting certain characteristics. They also benefit from the offer to obtain three months of Adobe Creative Cloud as on laptops.
PCSpecialist offers to deliver the computer without OS (114 euros saved), we are surprised on the other hand by the choice of the Family edition of Windows 10 by default. Switching to the “Pro” is billed at 39 euros.
A restoration image is present on the machine and may be downloaded to your customer account, delivered on CD (2 euros) or USB key (6 euros). Pay attention to the installation language, oddly placed on English by default.
Small interesting detail: you can request that Chrome or Firefox be installed as the default browser. An anti-virus is also provided as a 90-day trial offer, but you can opt out. Office doesn’t, as a 30-day trial comes with any machine running Windows 10.
The warranty is three years (labor) with two years support for returns and parts. To benefit from three years on the whole it will cost you 152 euros more. Same thing for a faster assembly than the 13/15 days provided by default: 44 euros (5 working days) or 67 euros (3 working days).
A neat assembly, a manual only in English
The machine was delivered to us in a fairly large box, well protected. In particular the side window to avoid any scratches. We did not find any defect upon unpacking. The passage of the cables is well done, the assembly clean overall. In the bundle you will also find some additional clamps.
To prevent movement, a foam system that adapts to the shape of the components is put in place, which is quite a good idea. If you opt for a machine with an AM4 processor, be careful with one point: the processor is not physically held in the socket, except by the cooler. If you touch the latter too much, it may no longer be inserted correctly. Result: the machine will not start.
This is a problem that regularly occurs with Ryzen machines that are delivered assembled. We regret that nothing comes to specify it in the manual. Moreover, this one is only in English. Here too, efforts should be made to adapt a little more to the French market. PCSpecialist assured us that would be the case soon.