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With over 20 years of experience in the media and entertainment market, BOXX has a long history with the post production community. Their APEXX workstation line is the latest offering designed to support today’s complex workflows.

We reached out to BOXX’s John Vondrak to find out more about the company and his take on workstation configurations for visual effects, virtual reality, artificial intelligence and what the future holds.

How does BOXX’s boutique-type operation stand out in a fairly crowded field of workstations?
Firstly, we are very proud that our systems are made and supported in the USA, including our chassis.

The integration of only enterprise-class components, drives and customized BIOS also sets us apart from the one-size-fits-all workstation manufacturers. We guide our customers to the right tool for the job. If you look at a large-scale VFX pipeline, you’ll encounter all sorts of tasks, each with their own distinct compute requirements. If you’re only working with 3D modeling and animation, you wouldn’t want a machine that’s optimized for rendering and vice versa.

BOXX is known for engineering specific hardware solutions that address application/task-specific bottlenecks in a user’s workflow. It’s the same with our engineering concepts — overclocking, liquid cooling, easy expandability and chassis design demonstrate the difference between a professional workstation and a PC. Our systems are engineered to deliver a longer product lifecycle and zero replacement costs. We have systems out in the field that are 10 to 15 years old, and they are still in use and still going strong.

John Vondrak The other key differentiator is that we love to solve problems. If you visit our website or call one of our performance specialists, it’s because you’re having workflow issues and need a solution. Our specialists, engineers and tech support team are genuine solution providers. They not only know everything about our hardware, they also have expert knowledge regarding the software applications our users rely on and the optimal workflow for their creative businesses. As we like to say, “When was the last time you called a toll-free number and an actual expert picked up the phone?”

BOXX is not a newcomer to the post game. What’s your history in this market?
We cut our teeth in the film and video market, so our roots go back 22 years for editing, color correction, visual effects and animation. In fact, when I came onboard in 2008, the media and entertainment space is where we did most of our business — lots of VFX and animation studios, post houses, both large and small. Unfortunately, some of those have disappeared as the industry has evolved, but others are still in business, doing fantastic work and relying on BOXX.

We also supply major film and television studios like Disney and Warner Bros. along with indies too. If you go on our website and check out our customer list, the names you see there trust us for the same reason the one-man shops do — we know post.

When an editor, VFX artist, animator or other post pro buys a BOXX system, what should they expect?
We have overclocked workstations optimized for single-threaded workflows, desk-side dual CPU render nodes for multi-threaded rendering and hybrid machines that make use of multiple CPU cores at a high clock speed if you need to create 3D content and render on the same machine. When you buy a BOXX you get a customized machine running at peak performance — no lag, no waiting for programs to open or effects to render, easy manipulation of models and, overall, an accelerated workflow. This increases productivity and efficiencies for our users, which should lead to increased profits.

Which BOXX workstation do you recommend for post production?
Our APEXX workstation line features the configurations that are best for Creative Cloud, Media Composer, Resolve, Cinema 4D, Maya and other post apps, but it really depends on the user’s specific workflow — the applications they rely on. We’re not going to sell you additional CPU cores you won’t use or graphics cards you don’t need. The workflow is our top priority, so we’ll help users configure a system that really supports their unique needs.

How would you describe the typical BOXX workstation user?
I don’t know that there is one. The walls of our headquarters in Austin, Texas, are covered with movie posters from all the films that have relied on BOXX. It’s a pretty impressive list, featuring everything from blockbusters to Oscar winners, and it keeps on growing. But over the past decade, the growth of 3D design has allowed us to provide systems for thousands of engineers, product designers and architects, as well as many universities.

We are also heavily invested now in virtual reality and deep learning, so BOXX customers can range from sole proprietors like indie filmmakers and small post studios, to concept designers like Daniel Simon (Tron: Legacy, Captain America: The First Avenger, Oblivion), animators like Webster Colcord (Ted, Ted 2), studios and broadcasters like Disney, Pixar, HBO and Fox, and even NASA.

What makes your systems suited for AI workflows?
BOXX offers a variety of solutions for AI workflows, from desk-side AI development workstations to rackmount servers with eight GPUs. Because we design our chassis in-house, we build them to accommodate features like single root, cost-effective GPUs, and high-speed NVME storage so data scientists and engineers can get the most out of AI and deep learning.

What makes BOXX systems suited for VR workflows?
Just like with AI, we design them with VR in mind. In fact, we have several VR-ready workstations and laptops that are ideal for both VR 3D content creation and professional VR deployment. When it comes to VR, maintaining high frame rates is critical, and as data sets get larger, the demands on the hardware increase. That is why we design our APEXX desktop workstations to support multiple, high-memory, VR-ready graphics cards. As for laptops, our GoBOXX MXL VR or ultra-thin GoBOXX SLM VR mobile workstations allow users to take their VR on-the-go — without sacrificing desktop-level performance.

What’s on your roadmap for post?
We’ll continue to build fast workstations for complex content creation pipelines. As a matter of fact, our new APEXX S3 features the fastest professionally overclocked Intel CPU on the market at 4.8GHz. Also, we’re excited about the AMD resurgence and think the competition is great for the post production market. So looking ahead, along with our Intel systems, you can expect more AMD-based solutions like our Threadripper and EPYC workstations.

Click here
to download BOXX’s Battle
of the Benchmarks White Paper.


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