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Jun 17 2016

Focus on Performance: FUJITSU Workstation CELSIUS H760

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The idea of building mobile workstations has sparked the inventiveness and creativity of developers for a number of years. Yet so far only a few engineers and vendors can claim to have built devices that truly pair workstation performance with the sleek and elegant design we've come to expect from a mobile device. Fujitsu's new CELSIUS H760 rightfully belongs in this category.

Just a couple of years ago, any plan to design something like a 'mobile workstation' usually met with ridicule and mockery. Even though this wasn't really polite, it happened for a rather simple reason: back then, it was almost impossible to bring together capable enough processors and graphics cards, sufficient memory, and suitable cooling within the restricted space of a mobile device. Put differently, a device was either powerful enough, then it would be heavy and bulky – or it would be mobile, in which case it lacked compute power and performance. There simply was no compromise. The situation only started to change after Intel released its power-saving, Haswell-based Core™ and Xeon® processors, and subsequent product lines building on the Broadwell and Skylake microarchitectures. Today, no expert will dismiss the notion that it's possible to build mobile workstations that deserve the name; instead, he'll proceed to examine their performance and quality. Fujitsu's new CELSIUS H760, descendant to the popular H730 model, delivers on both counts. Let's see how it closes the gap that was left to its desktop counterparts.

Heavy-Duty Hardware
The FUJITSU CELSIUS H760 (pictured above) was designed to deliver genuine workstation performance from the get-go. To achieve this, our developers relied on the same hardware components that are used in desktop systems, namely Intel® Core™ or Xeon® processors with integrated professional graphics, DDR4 memory, and superfast SSDs. Standard configurations based on these components will offer enough performance for a lot of usage scenarios. Still we all know that there are always use cases, such as CAx, where integrated graphics may not suffice, which is why the new workstation also supports discrete, high-end professional mobile graphics cards from NVIDIA's Quadro M series. More specifically, customers can choose from the following building blocks to help us build made-to-measure mobile power packs:

  • Intel® Xeon® E3-1505M v5 and E3-1535M v5 processors with respective base clock speeds of 2.8 and 2.9 GHz (3.7 and 3.8 GHz in turbo mode); alternatively, Intel® Core™ i7-6820HQ, Core™ i7-6920HQ or Core™ i5-6440HQ CPUs with clock speeds ranging from 2.6 to 3.8 GHz; as noted above, all processors come with integrated Intel graphics (HD Graphics 530 or HD Graphics P530); the Xeon models also support ECC memory.
  • DDR4 SO DIMMs with 4, 8 or 16 GB capacity that run at a bus speed of 2,133 MHz; each configuration has two memory modules, so memory capacity ranges from 8 to 64 GB.
  • A variety of SATA III and PCIe/NVMe M.2 SSDs that offer 256 or 512 GB of storage capacity; for security-aware customers, the SATA models are also available with full disk encryption (FDE); capacity-oriented users may instead opt for conventional HDDs or SSHDs with up to 1 TB storage space.
  • NVIDIA Quadro M600M, M1000M or M2000M graphics cards with 384, 512 or 640 CUDA cores, up to 4 GB of GDDR5 memory and a 128-bit memory interface that allows for maximum transfer speeds of 80 GB/s.
  • 15.6 inch (39.6 cm) anti-glare displays with Full HD (1,920 x 1,080 pixels) or 4K/UHD (3,840 x 2,160 pixels) screen resolution, 300 cd/m2 luminance, and 16:9 aspect ratio.

Benchmarks
The above specs and configuration options definitely look impressive, but we all know from experience that even the best components may not always work together as a system. That's why we decided to build a couple of test units and deliver them to experts for a thorough review. A particularly detailed analysis was carried out at CADplace, the go-to online source of information for design and engineering professionals. Their team got to work with a CELSIUS H760 featuring an Intel® Xeon® E3-1535M v5 CPU, 64 GB of memory, an M.2 PCIe/NVMe SSD, and a Quadro M2000M graphics card. The test crew first ran SPECviewperf® 12, the worldwide standard test for measuring 3D graphics performance based on professional applications. The benchmark is maintained by an industry consortium including AMD, Fujitsu, Lenovo, Intel and others and uses data from renowned software packages such as Dassault Systèmes CATIA, PTC Creo, Autodesk Maya etc. Against these three applications, our test unit delivered 45.79, 38.79 and 36.82 frames per second (FPS) respectively. According to the CADplace team, that's "more than 50% of the performance" of a desktop system equipped with a Quadro M4000 card and 3.0 GHz Xeon® CPU. And as if that weren't enough, these frame rates were achieved on a system with 62% less CUDA cores – 640 on the Quadro M2000M compared to 1664 on the desktop card.

In addition, CADplace also tested the system's interactive video-editing capabilities against Adobe's Premiere Pro CC package. This software comes with an integrated playback engine that can either use CUDA/GPU acceleration or a software-only mode for video playback and rendering. Using the first option, the test unit delivered four parallel video streams in real time "without stuttering or dropping frames." What's more, the system also did exceptionally well in terms of rendering the final video material – as it turned out, the chosen configuration was partially able to "render the final video faster than real-time playback," meaning that rendering times amounted to 0.53 seconds per second of video for one stream and 0.67 seconds per second of video for two. Again according to CADplace, the sheer CUDA power also brings great benefits for other demanding applications such as raytracing or CAE simulation. The full CADplace report is available here.

Enhancements for the Best Working Experience
Powerful hardware is an essential prerequisite, but oftentimes a selection of enhancements is needed to turn a good product into an excellent one. Consequently, the CELSIUS H760 comes with a host of add-ons, connectors and accessories that help improve productivity and security while adding to a comfortable working experience:

  • Along with the expectable interfaces – e.g. USB 2.0 and 3.0, DisplayPort, audio in/out, and VGA – the CELSIUS H760 features a USB Type-C™ connector that supports new protocols like Thunderbolt 3 or USB 3.1 that enable data transfer speeds of up to 40 Gb/s to and from peripherals such as external hard drives.
  • To prevent unauthorized access and enhance data protection, the system relies on biometric authentication methods. Customers can choose between PalmSecure™, Fujitsu's leading-edge authentication system based on vein pattern recognition, and classic fingerprint sensors. Also on board are a SmartCard reader and our trusted Fujitsu Advanced Theft Protection software. Further optional enhancements include TPM 1.2 or 2.0 chips, Flash EPROM write protection, and our unique EraseDisk technology for HDD sanitization.
  • For enhanced convenience, we offer a number of accessories that can turn the CELSIUS H760 into a genuine desktop replacement. For example, the optional Port Replicator adds various connectors – namely DVI, eSATA and a second DisplayPort – that are not included with the device itself. Thanks to its modular bay, the device may additionally be equipped with a BD or DVD writer, a second battery or a simple weight saver. And finally, the CELSIUS H760 will connect to our FUJITSU P27T-7 UHD Display via the DisplayPort interface.

Conclusion
A particularly enthusiastic reviewer recently contended that with the release of the CELSIUS H760, Fujitsu "hammered another nail into the coffin of desktop PCs." From a strictly technical standpoint, this assessment is a little over-enthusiastic – after all, several of our own desktop solutions still offer superior processor and graphics performance, and that won't change anytime soon. On the other hand, the benchmark tests at CADplace indicate that the new workstation is a successful first step on the long way of bringing desktop-level performance to mobile computing.

The CELSIUS H760 is available immediately. Pricing depends on region and configuration.

Natalie Walther

 

About the Author:

Natalie Walther

Global Workstation Product Marketing Manager, Fujitsu

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