Workstation / Good things come in small packages

Good things come in small packages

Fujitsu launched two pint-sized, full-power workstations in 2017 and CADplace has had a look at both. These compact desktop workstations can fit in plenty of memory, a powerful CPU, and beefed-up graphics.

The CELSIUS J550/2 is perhaps the smallest desktop workstation ever to be loaded with a Xeon CPU, 64 GB of memory and a full-height NVIDIA Quadro P2000 graphics board. Its big-brother, the CELSIUS W570power+, at 21 liters, is one of the most compact VR Ready desktop workstations on the market. 

 

Celsius J550/2

Both our test systems were delivered with Intel Xeon E3-1225 CPUs & 16 GB of system memory. The CELSIUS J550/2 contains an NVIDIA Quadro P2000 graphics card. Small form-factor workstations from other vendors do not have space for a fast, full-height GPU like the Quadro P2000. Thanks to the J550/2’s special riser-card design, Fujitsu can fit a powerful GPU into their small form-factor desktop workstation.

 

The CELSIUS W570power+ workstation is an entry-level mini-tower workstation. Where other vendors typically ship a 29 liter mini-tower workstation, Fujitsu has squeezed that same performance into a redesigned, very compact, 21 liter mini-tower design. When it is equipped with the NVIDIA Quadro P4000, this workstation becomes one of the smallest VR Ready workstations in the world. 

 

Performance 

With the 2 systems configured identically for memory and CPU, the main performance factor will be the different graphics boards. The Quadro P2000 falls into NVIDIA's definition of mid-range & the Quadro P4000 is classified as high-end. 

 

CELSIUS J550/2 Quadro P2000

The CELSIUS J550/2’s riser card plugs into the motherboard which allows for a full-height graphics card to be used in this small form-factor design.

The P4000's larger graphics chip provides more graphics cores for processing: 1792 cores compared to 1024 cores. The board has 8 GB of graphics memory compared to the P2000’s 5 GB, and it has higher memory bandwidth performance. All of which requires more power. The Quadro P2000 draws a maximum of 75W. The Quadro P4000 draws a maximum of 105W and requires additional power plugged into the back of the board. 

 

Performance testing includes Viewperf 12 for graphics performance and Adobe Premiere Pro for application performance. Viewperf 12 uses datasets from independent software vendors, ISVs, however, Viewperf does not use the application itself. 

 

The GPU dominates this benchmark. Viewperf isolates the graphics performance which makes it a good test for comparing performance for these two GPUs. 

 

The Quadro P4000 naturally outperforms the Quadro P2000 across all the test results. One group of Viewperf datasets run 60% faster. These are the more graphically demanding tests. Another group of tests run 30%-40% faster. One single dataset is 22% faster. 

 

Viewperf 12 Results

Adobe Premier Pro is a professional non-linear editing application used in professional film & video. Premier Pro uses a software component called the Mercury Playback Engine (MPE) for the real-time playback of the video composition. It also uses the MPE for rendering the final output of the video composition. Fortunately for video professionals, the MPE can use GPU acceleration. GPU acceleration is provided by either CUDA or OpenCL. Software-only MPE output only uses the CPU. In our tests, the MPE used CUDA for GPU acceleration.  

 

The Premier Pro video test sequences use the DNxHR/DNxHD format. This format, like ProRes, is designed to be editing-friendly. These formats are larger than the highly compressed formats that come out of modern 4K video cameras but they are also, essentially, visually lossless. In addition, for anything more than the simplest video compositing, using editing-friendly compression such as DNxHD or ProRes makes the editing process much smoother and more efficient. And that efficiency plays into the hands of GPU-accelerated editing. Combining DNxHR with GPU-acceleration delivers a five-fold increase in rendering performance compared to using this same format with MPE’s software-only rendering. 

 

The Premier Pro results are normalized to make them comparable and useful across different test-cases. The rendering times are expressed as a percentage of the video duration. If rendering the video output requires more time that the length of the video clip, then the result is greater than 100%. If the video output renders in less time that the length of the video itself, then the result is less than 100%. 

 

Adobe results

The test cases are HD resolution: 1920x1080. With the new Pascal GPU architecture, the video rendering performance is excellent for both GPUs. You can see that the rendering times are essentially identical. On the other hand, the Quadro P2000 GPU is more heavily loaded than the P4000 in our tests. In the Music Video test, for example, the Quadro P2000 workload is nearly 100% and the Quadro P4000 is 70% or less. While both GPUs are good choices for professional video work today, the Quadro P4000 has more performance headroom for future 4K or 8K projects. 

 

Summarizing the performance results and what that means for your workstation, if your work is 3D CAD & modeling, then the CELSIUS J550/2 & the Quadro P2000 is going to make you very happy. If you spend a lot of time on video-editing with moderate to complex video sequences, then you will be happier to have a CELSIUS W570power+ and the Quadro P4000 on your desk. And as shown below, if your applications include virtual reality, then the CELSIUS W570power+ is the right choice. 

 

VR Ready or not 

VR on Celsius

The CELSIUS W570power+ with the Quadro P4000 has the performance necessary to be "VR Ready"

The line between VR and no VR lies somewhere between these two workstations. The demands of VR - high level of graphics realism, 90 frames per second for each eye, and a good level of detail makes the CELSIUS W570power+ and the NVIDIA Quadro P4000 the “right level” of workstation & GPU for good virtual reality. NVIDIA provides the CELSIUS W570power+ with the Quadro P4000 with the "VR Ready" marketing label. 

 

That is a marketing label with meaning. Running basic VR tests places a constant 50% workload on the Quadro P4000 GPU. Trying to run the same virtual reality applications on the Quadro P2000 - while they would work – could also be frustrating for the user. 

 

Our testing with the HTC VIVE Business Edition ran smoothly with the Quadro P4000. HTC has a complete and well-implemented introduction for new users. It is stating the obvious to say that the installation of, calibration of and then introduction to an entire virtual reality environment is more demanding than the installation of a single application. 

 

HTC walks the user through a thorough introduction to the hardware and its configuration. The HTC tutorial uses a simple but fun VR environment to make the user familiar with the hardware and the VR environment. Finally, the VIVE application portal gives the user the occasion to try a range of VR applications immediately. The Business Edition includes 2 controllers which enhances the possibilities for a useful user interface in a professional virtual reality environment. 

 

Quadro GPUs with Pascal Architecture

The new Quadro P2000 & P4000 use NVIDIA's Pascal GPU Architecture & deliver excellent graphics performance in the new CELSIUS workstations.

The CELSIUS W570power+ with the Quadro P4000 displays virtual reality environments smoothly and reliably. The workstation, when combined with the HTC head-mounted display, provides a comfortable virtual reality environment. 

The CADplace Perspective 

The two new desktop workstations from Fujitsu confirm that good things really do come in small packages. The unique design of the CELSIUS J550/2 allows it to accept more powerful graphics than otherwise possible. The CELSIUS W570power+ can be configured with high-end CPUs and NVIDIA’s Quadro P4000 which makes it one of the most compact, VR Ready, desktop workstations available. 

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