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View Full Version : BOXX vs. HP


Marc Andreoli
03-12-2003, 06:58 AM
ok, ok, I apologize in advance for another 'vs.' thread...;)

my computer 'broke down', I need a new one. Everybody seems to say that BOXX is THE machine to get, but just comparing prices the HP xw5000 is $200 cheaper than the similar 3DBOXX E3.

The configuration is roughly the same for both :
P4 2.4
E7205 533MHz FSB
2x512MB DDR 266
nvidia Quadro4 750XGL
120Gb 7200rpm
CDRW 40x12x48
Windows2000

Plus, the HP comes with a 19"monitor and I could save on memory by ordering it seperately (it is especially expensive at HP).
So what do you think ? Is there any special reason I should go for the BOXX (better service) ? Does it run 3DSmax any better ? Does this configuration make sense (mainly for modeling/texturing, some animation) ?

thanks
p.s: and no I cannot build my own. I am half 'mac user', I just want to get something that works :hmm:

dvornik
03-12-2003, 07:25 AM
"$200?" That's a bargain. I'm serious. Get a Boxx right now. It was close to $500 in my estimates.

Boxx is the next best thing to building your own system. Way ahead of most other mainstream manufacturers.

Configuration-wise your viewport performance will depend on Nvidia's Maxtreme viewport driver (if it works you're all set). Current Maxtreme .28 works for most people, next version is supposed to work for everybody. It doesn't work on our dual AMD Boxx's right now (as well as on all our Dell Precisions). Rendering will be slower than on dual machines obviously.

Boxx support is accessible and they are familiar with your applications. I think you can trust them overall. I don't think they are perfect but there are not that many alternatives at the moment. Alienware must be allright but they don't sell single-processor workstations. I must say I haven't worked with HP workstations.

[edit] I'll never forgive Boxx those $173 beige zip drives.

GregHess
03-12-2003, 12:26 PM
Even comparing HP to Boxx in the same sentence is an insult to Boxxtech.

HP/Compaq/Dell use non ATX standard components in their systems (Pain to replace/upgrade components) while Boxx uses industry standard botherboards, psu's, etc.

Just that fact alone is worth 200-500 USD easily.

Throw in the support differences (Boxx is far superior), and the choice is pretty easy.

Maybe you should paint some beige racing stripes on the side of the box. Hehe.

MCronin
03-12-2003, 01:17 PM
Just out of curiosity, do you have anything to back up the things you are saying about HP's workstation line?

He's talking about the HP xw5000, which I'm pretty sure uses a standard ATX form factor mainboard and off the shelf components. HP's workstations are fairly "industry standard", same as Boxx and they can ship them with Linux preinstalled. Besides, I don't think Marc will be concerned with upgrades much. He just wants a computer that works.

Also, when talking about support, how is Boxx's support far superior? I went to look at their site just now, and their online support page is down. HP offers round the clock 24x7 phone and net support and on site parts replacent free for 3 years with their workstation orders. For 199.00 you'll get 4 hour on site replacement during normal business hours for 3 years. For 299.00 you get 24/7 4 hour onsite replacement for 3 years. That in addition to the standard 24/7 web and phone support for HP's workstation products. You could give Boxx the benefit of the doubt that it's a freak occurance, but it's kinda funny to me that you are talking about Boxx's superior support and their online support isn't even working right now.

I have nothing against Boxx. All I'm saying is that HP makes fine workstations; you won't have to futz with them, and that's what Marc wants. HP is a good company with a long track record. I'm sure Boxx makes fine computers, but realisticly, they aren't far superior to HP's offerings, if at all. HP supplies workstations for many of the top Hollywood studios including Disney and Dreamworks, so I think saying comparing HP to Boxx is insulting Boxx is stretching it a bit.

GregHess
03-12-2003, 01:59 PM
How bout 3 years dealing with HP and Compaq machines? Trying to get them fixed, repaired, or even working with some basic level of stability?

Have you recently opened an HP machine? When's the last time you looked inside a compaq desktop?

I admit I don't have the same level of experience with their workstations, but I've been all but utterly discusted with their consumer/desktop line of pc's. I've seen more stable boxes in emachines.

My most recent experience was with a Compaq workstation from the smithsonian (Museum of Natural History) that can be best described as...an eye opening experience. Only after replacing almost every component, including the cooling system on the cpu, ram, hd's, video card, and psu, did the system reach a point where one could work at it for more then 15 minutes without a lockup or crash.

Lastest experience with a HP system was a 2002 desktop. Looked like somebody shat in a box, slapped some cute bezels on it, and then installed windows XP home.

I'd be willing to give them a chance again, but not on my budget or funds.

Could you link me to some of the systems you've had experience with? I'd like to check them out.

Marc Andreoli
03-12-2003, 03:04 PM
Thanks for the info.
he he, looks like people have strong feelings about this :D

here is a link to the HP machine http://www.hp.com/workstations/ia32/xw5000/index.html (I don't think it says much) , to my understanding they are different to their 'home' PC's or Compaq (yuck) offerings, but what do I know.

Looks like BOXX is a pretty safe choice though, and safe is good. Any other comments ? Cheers

Marc Andreoli
03-12-2003, 03:06 PM
Originally posted by GregHess
Lastest experience with a HP system was a 2002 desktop. Looked like somebody shat in a box, slapped some cute bezels on it, and then installed windows XP home.


so I guess the sh#t hit the fan ?
:eek: :D

danhua76
03-12-2003, 03:45 PM
hehe...i used to work for hp. i left that company nearly a year ago. the coporate politics were too much to bear. anyhow to let everyone know, hp has three main divisions to make pc's. they have a home pc division here in the bay area (california), their business pc division is in grenoble, france, and the workstation pc site is in colorado. since the compaq purchase though, the business pc division in france has been largely cut.

but i digress...the point here is that the company is sooo big and spread out that communication between divisions don't happen often enough. without cross divsion collaboration on technology between the divsions, their products really suffer. so to make this a bit shorter, the business and home pc's are not that good compared to others. their technology and quality of the machines always seem to lag behind their competitors be one product generation cycle. their workstations though are very good systems. they are very stable machines and physically very tough. they take their workstation and enterprise solutions very seriously (because that's where the large margins are for pc's).

but in anycase, i would recommend an hp workstation, but i would not recommend their home or business pc's.

MCronin
03-12-2003, 03:56 PM
Originally posted by GregHess
How bout 3 years dealing with HP and Compaq machines? Trying to get them fixed, repaired, or even working with some basic level of stability?[/b]

I don't have an HP and I've never used Boxx, but from what bit I've used an XW I think you were being a bit harsh.

Have you recently opened an HP machine? When's the last time you looked inside a compaq desktop?

I've seen the inside of an HP xw6000. It looks very generic. it has a full set of PCI slots, a standard looking PS, and the board looks to be laid out like any other Mainboard. Nothing out of place and nothing to suggest you couldn't replace or add any newer components if you wanted to. But, I didn't really look at the board that closely, so I can't say it's absolutely standard in every respect.

I admit I don't have the same level of experience with their workstations, but I've been all but utterly discusted with their consumer/desktop line of pc's. I've seen more stable boxes in emachines.

I don't like Compaq's consumer desktops either; in fact I hate them, but Marc wants to know about HP's DCC workstations. I don't think it's fair to assume the build quality of an HP workstation is going to be the same as a Compaq desktop or even an HP desktop, despite the merger.

My most recent experience was with a Compaq workstation from the smithsonian (Museum of Natural History) that can be best described as...an eye opening experience. Only after replacing almost every component, including the cooling system on the cpu, ram, hd's, video card, and psu, did the system reach a point where one could work at it for more then 15 minutes without a lockup or crash.

Was it an Evo? ... I'm really at a loss for words here. If what you are saying is 100% accurate, even given how much I detest Compaq's consumer desktops, I'd have to think that's the rarest of extreme cases or Compaq would've been out of business long, long ago.

Lastest experience with a HP system was a 2002 desktop. Looked like somebody shat in a box, slapped some cute bezels on it, and then installed windows XP home.

Again, are we talking HP consumer Desktops? Or Workstations? HP's past Visualize, X and current XW series workstations have been well rewieved. I hate to beat a dead horse, but if Dreamworks has enough faith in HP to build their entire production studio around HP's DCC workstations and servers, they can't be too shabby.

The xw5000 is a workstation, You can get Win 2K, Win XP Pro, or Redhat 7.x or 8.x preinstalled. The only graphics options they offer are professional solutions; Quadros, Fire GL's and Wildcats. This isn't the same machine you'd find at Best Buy. Even if the computer looks like crap inside (which the xw's do not) it shouldn't matter. As an animator or artist or engineer or draftsman or whatever, ideally you never want to see the inside of your computer anyway, right? Marc sounds like the type of guy who just wants to put it on his desk and get to work. Either the Boxx or HP will fit that bill, and despite the way they may be put together, their core components are identical. What it comes down to is which brand does he feel comfortable with and how much does a few hundred dollars matter to him.

Could you link me to some of the systems you've had experience with? I'd like to check them out.

A friend of mine recently purchased an xw6000. That's the Xeon version of the machine Marc is asking about. It has worked very well for her so far. She's using Maya Complete 4 with XP Pro. You'll find it here:

http://www.hp.com/workstations/ia32/xw6000/index.html

I've played with it a bit and it seems great. It hasn't given her any trouble. I'd have no qualms about buying one for myself.

Other than that, I had an HP Pavillion (consumer desktop) for one job, which I hated. I tried to install Win NT a long time ago onto a Compaq (presario) PII 450 and that was a disaster. Couldn't install it at all due to the way the machine was built. My experience with HP and Compaq hasn't been good with consumer products, but it looks like HP can make a workstation.

danhua76
03-12-2003, 04:02 PM
it's very true that hp is very capable of making good workstations. it's just their other pc offerrings that are very poor. after an asian market research was performed in japan and taiwan, hp realized that they had no market presence in the home and business pc segment. consumers only knew of the company through their printers. their remark was "hp makes pcs? i though they only made printers." but for those asians in the design and manufacturing fields, they are know about hp workstations and its quality of build.

GregHess
03-12-2003, 04:24 PM
I don't have an HP and I've never used Boxx, but from what bit I've used an XW I think you were being a bit harsh.

I agree that I was a bit harsh. I tend to be overexcitable when products/companies pop up that I've had bad experiences with.

Was it an Evo? ... I'm really at a loss for words here. If what you are saying is 100% accurate, even given how much I detest Compaq's consumer desktops

I just called the guy over at the smithsonian, he confirmed it was part of their business line, so it looks more like a business class desktop then one of their workstation boxes. (Especially after checking out the links you gave me).

Alot of the grad students/professors go back and forth between the different museums (This is the Washington, DC area) and the university. This was one situation where the machine was brought to me basically dead in the water. Took forever to fix the dang thing cause it was component after component...almost everything was bad, bad voltage variations, ram errors, overheating cpu, you name it.

Again, are we talking HP consumer Desktops? Or Workstations? HP's past Visualize, X and current XW series workstations have been well rewieved.

Since this discussion has been going on, I've been reviewing my past system experiences with HP/Compaq. In almost all situations it was desktop systems. Though its a bit late to mention now, probably the reason I don't really recall a workstation (Other then the one already mentioned, which turned out to be a business class machine) is because it DIDN'T have any problems. If the computers not broke, I usually don't get called.

In summary, thanks for bringing this to my attention. As to my earlier comments, they were centered around the desktop/business class of machines from both perspective companies. Having only had primary experience with these type of machines, my bias obviously carried over onto the workstation line.

Marc Andreoli
03-12-2003, 04:32 PM
Originally posted by MCronin
Marc sounds like the type of guy who just wants to put it on his desk and get to work.

Yes, Marc is exactly that type of guy :thumbsup:

dvornik
03-12-2003, 05:51 PM
So, the bottom line is that HP workstations are standard ATX machines? And there's a significant difference between their desktops and workstations manufacturing and support?

"...and despite the way they may be put together, their core components are identical." - Boxx uses high-end motherboards (Tyan in our case). What boards does HP use? Their own?

Mistyk
03-12-2003, 05:55 PM
What boards does HP use? Their own?
At least the xw8000 (Placer) does not use a commercially available motherboard. Don't know if HP manufactured it though.

amygdalae
03-13-2003, 02:04 AM
I actually like the xw8000s quite alot.
They are really sweet cases, standard sized mobos & PSUs, very quiet compared to the BOXX & IBM dual xeon systems.

I feel your pain though greg, I dealt with a fleet of P & X-class visualiZe workstations a couple of years ago at an fx house - pieces of crap those things were. I like the HPs alot though...


The IBM Intellistation Z Pros are pretty good too. A bit louder than the HPs, but they throttle their cooling fans depending on CPU load, so it's only loud when I'm really hitting Maya hard. I like mine alot though - i have a Z Pro dual 2.8GHz, 2GB, 15krpm scsi box at work with a Quadro 980xgl. Sweet box.

I'm just holding out for Prescott before building/buying one of my own.

I have also had several boxx systems over the years - I had bad memory in a few Boxx systems, and my general impression of them was that of a much smaller company, which isnt really a bad thing - but sometimes their designs can leave things to desire. There was a case design issue with the 3DBoxx R2s I believe it was, where there was a big metal jutt-out that made it extremely difficult to remove a motherboard without scraping it alot and bending it to get it out. I had a fried motherboard in a system my company had purchased and we had to user-replace it and send it back. Not fun. Had another box with crappy memory (these were both dual athlon boxes) which i tested with memtest86 - good stuff.

They seemed to use some cheap-ass brand of RAM as well...

And even though their older, larger cases were cooler looking outside, the new ones are better inside, but a little ugly in my opinion... And those damn rocker switches! I dont like those either.

Moreover Boxx is still a pretty good deal for the price.

If you know what you're doing though, and you build a clean box with good components, you cant lose. I keep thinking about it and I think i would much rather choose my own corsair mem, 15k.3 drives, boxed CPUs, and supermicro XDA8 board than take my chances with the one that IBM, Boxx, or HP desides to OEM or design...

dvornik
03-13-2003, 02:23 AM
I gotta say that our dual 2200+ Boxxs are very quiet. I really don't think it's an issue now, although I've read their older models were loud. I do have complaints about the case internal design, though.

amygdalae , are you familiar with xw5000 models?

Rhino
03-13-2003, 08:24 AM
:thumbsdow I don't have time to go into it but after 2 years of using HP workstations, thank god for this Xenon workstation I'm using. The HP workstation next to me, routinely falls over, locks up, HP replaced one cpu then the other, then the motherboard, twice, the ram, a hard drive......the list goes on, it has a non-standard must be an HP Technician Bios, it's down time doesn't equal it's up.......

Sgt_Bukkake_Man
03-13-2003, 01:17 PM
I think of the xw5000 as more of a compaq box. It is basically a relabelled compaq workstation.

I just dont like the aesthetic of it or the mental associations I get from it... I set up a few Avid Symphony's using those kinds of boxes, nightmare.

i think the xw6000 or 8000 is the way to go if you're going HP>

Marc Andreoli
03-13-2003, 07:17 PM
Originally posted by Sgt_Bukkake_Man
I think of the xw5000 as more of a compaq box. It is basically a relabelled compaq workstation.

I just dont like the aesthetic of it or the mental associations I get from it... I set up a few Avid Symphony's using those kinds of boxes, nightmare.

i think the xw6000 or 8000 is the way to go if you're going HP>

hmmmm...are you sure about that ? From the outside (the boxes) it looks like the xw4000 and xw6000 might be relabelled compaq workstations, while the xw5000 and xw8000 look like 'genuine' HP workstations. Do you have any specific info that the inside of the xw5000 could actually be compaq (the horror:eek: ) ?

http://www.smb.compaq.com/dstore/SubFamilies.asp?ProductLineId=433&FamilyId=1491&LowBaseId=7351&LowPrice=$797.00&oi=E9CED&BEID=19701&SBLID=

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