Supermicro 5046A-XB: X58 Workstation Barebones

We throw the word workstation around fairly regularly because, when youre talking about high-end hardware, its easy to think of the PC sitting on your desk as a true brute. But theres a more traditional definition that puts technology used for engineering, graphics/audio/video production, and medical tasks on a higher level than standard desktop hardware.

Value-oriented enthusiasts will look at Xeon 3000-series CPUs and Quadro FX graphics cards and astutely note that the technology at the heart of both workstation-class offerings comes from the desktop market. Theyre right, too. Intel knows this, and prices its 1P Xeons at comparable levels to its Core 2 Quad lineup. Nvidia knows this too, but justifies the higher cost of its professional graphics cards with driver packages developed specifically for those boards. They include optimizations for professional applications and certifications guaranteeing interoperability with the most prolific software titles in that space. After all, when it comes to modeling an aircraft in CAD.

And so, while you might think you have already built yourself the ultimate Core i7-based gaming workstation, the folks at Supermicro would likely disagree, unless your rig centers on its SuperWorkstation 5046A-XB platform.

First seen at this years CES, the SuperWorkstation includes everything you would expect from a conventional barebones package: a massive (yet svelte) steel chassis, one of Supermicro own motherboards, and a Supermicro-branded power supply. There is more to the setup than just these three components, though. So, if your needs extend out and around the high-end overclocking or slimmed-down value segments that X58-based boards seem to be getting grouped into, this pure business build will likely give you something to get excited about.



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