Tick-tock, tick-tock, Overclocked Skylake Is Ready To Rock

Nearly a decade ago, Intel established a master plan for designing and launching new CPUs. Dubbed “Tick-tock,” this method laid out a new cadence; new CPU architecture would be followed by die/fabrication shrinks, and would then the process would repeat itself. This cadence allowed Intel test new fabrication technologies with a proven architecture (Tick,) and then introduce new architecture on a proven fabrication process (Tock.)

This year has been interesting, however. Today we’re announcing the immediate availability of the new 6th Generation Intel Core processor technology (Core i7 6700K) on our popular APEXX 2 platform, dubbed the Model 2402 as well as the all-new APEXX 1 Model 1401. The older APEXX 2 Model 2401 was based on 4th Generation Intel Core technology, code-named “Haswell.” The Core i7 4790K was actually a refresh of the original high-end, Haswell technology-based Core i7 4770K. It was meant to be the leading desktop processor for high-end quad-core systems. The 5th Generation Intel Core technology that followed shortly afterwards, code-named “Broadwell” was a die shrink, or Tick, moving from 22nm to 14nm, but it was not a product we carried, as it also focused more on bringing a higher level of integrated 3D horsepower to consumer systems and did not deliver any incremental top-end performance for professional users.

So, for those of you that keep score, we’re moving from a Tock to a Tock, and skipped the Tick in the middle. An interesting bit of information for us hardware junkies, but it also explains to everyone why we never offered the 5th Generation Intel Core technology; it just did not make sense for our professional customers.

However, Skylake brings those architectural changes for our high-end customers that always deliver higher performance, but it also bears explaining what those changes are and how they impact you.

First, you’ll notice that the clock speeds are different on the Skylake-based Core i7 6700K vs the Haswell-based 4790K. While the both share a base clock of 4GHz, the older 4790K can hit TurboBoost speeds of 4.4GHz, while the new Skylake-based Core i7 6700K tops out at 4.2GHz. This does not mean that the 6700K is slower than the 4790K. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. The 6700K at stock speeds can be up to 10% faster than the 4790K in certain benchmarks. It achieves this because of its architectural enhancements. Remember, this is a “Tock” product, so we can expect performance gains even if there aren’t corresponding clock frequency increases. And while the APEXX 2 Model 2402 and APEXX 1 Model 1401 are actually overclocked to 4.4GHz, they’re at least 5% faster than the older 4.5GHz Model 2401.

But architectural enhancements aren’t the only advantages to the new Skylake processor platform. The new Intel Z170 chipset, in combination with this new processor, features tight support for PCI-Express SSD hard drives in M.2 and traditional PCI-E expansion card formats, which we’ve written about before here.

And lastly, there’s support for DDR4 memory. While this technology doesn’t bring any earth-shattering performance increases, it does support higher frequencies and, of more immediate importance, higher densities, allowing the APEXX 2 Model 2402 to support twice the memory density of its predecessor, up to 64GB.



So, we’re proud to introduce this new addition to the APEXX 2 family, and we know our customers have been waiting for it. If you have more questions about this or any other BOXX products, please fill out the form below and one of our performance specialists will be in touch to talk to you about your needs.

Lanmar Services – A BOXX Customer Story



Lanmar Services, an Austin, Texas-based architectural firm, specializes in scanning buildings and transforming those scans into 3D models for the world’s leading architectural and engineering firms. Their projects include One World Trade Center, The Sears Tower, The Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center, The Rose Bowl, and countless other sports stadiums. Continue reading

Full Plate – A BOXX Customer Story


With a healthy appetite for BOXX hardware, elite | studio e takes the food service design industry by storm.

By John Vondrak

It only takes a few clicks of a television remote to realize that America is enamored, if not slightly obsessed, with food. From celebrity chefs, cooking shows, and competitions, to entire networks dedicated to the subject, Americans want to know more about what they eat, what they should eat, and how it should be prepared. But it goes deeper. Preparing and serving food is work, so what should that workshop look like? Going further, who creates the environments that transform the idea of food service and simply “grabbing a bite to eat” into a practical and pleasant experience? Look no further than elite | studio e, a company with two divisions that designs, develops, and delivers one solution.

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Blue Marble 3D – A BOXX Customer Story

George Matos, Principal of Blue Marble 3D, is always on the cutting edge of visualization. As a subsidiary of Chipman Design Architecture, Blue Marble 3D specializes in high end renderings, animations, virtual reality and augmented reality for a wide range of architectural engineering projects. Continue reading

How to Configure Your SOLIDWORKS Workstation


Your guide to Processors, Solid State Drives, Graphics, Memory, & More. 

If you’re in the market for a SOLIDWORKS workstation, you should begin by asking three basic questions about your workflow:

  1. How big are my assemblies?
  2. How many geometric surfaces do I have?
  3. How complex are my parts files?

> Based upon your responses, you can begin to formulate a plan.

Start with Core(s)
Selecting the number of processing cores in your workstation is critical. SOLIDWORKS is a frequency bound application (meaning that it predominantly uses only one core). Since the frequency of that core determines performance more than any other variable, a workstation with less cores (but higher frequency) is ideal. If you’re running only SOLIDWORKS and absolutely nothing else, you could actually get by with as little as two cores. But realistically, since you have an OS, you’ll need two cores dedicated to the OS and two to run SOLIDWORKS.

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