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Appro's Scorpion WH300 workstation

Opteron 246s in the house

Manufacturer Appro
Model Scorpion WH300
Price (As tested) $4629
Availability Now

WORKSTATIONS HAVE always held a special place in my heart. I have a thing for dual-processor systems, RAID arrays, and gobs of memory, which probably goes a long way towards explaining my crush on workstation rigs. Workstations builds don't cut corners with low-end parts, and when it comes to performance, they don't pull any punches. For a power-hungry enthusiast, it doesn't get much better than that. Of course, workstations definitely aren't cheap. They're designed for big-boy playgrounds like CAD, scientific computing, and content creation environments. There, the price premium associated with workstation platforms is justified by the improved performance and reliability that they offer.

Today, we'll be getting our workstation groove on with Appro's Scorpion WH300, a fearsome beast built around AMD's Opteron platform. With 4GB of memory, a striped Serial ATA RAID array, and a Quadro 980 XGL graphics card, the Scorpion is dressed to the nines for workstation loads. The system we'll be looking at is also packed with a couple of Opteron 246 processors running at an even 2.0GHz.

Is Appro's Scorpion WH300 a lust-worthy Opteron workstation? Read on to find out.

Processors and motherboard
First things first, let's check out the Scorpion's spec sheet. Appro offers the workstation in a number of different configurations, but this is how our test box was configured:

Dimensions 17.78" x 9.28" x 19.1"
Processors 2 x AMD Opteron 246 2.0GHz
Motherboard Tyan Thunder K8W
Memory 8 x 512MB ATP PC2700 registered ECC DDR SDRAM (4GB total)
Storage 2 x 120GB Seagate Barracuda V SATA striped in RAID 1 array via integrated Sil3114 Serial ATA RAID controller
Optical Sony 52x CDROM drive
PCI slots 2 64-bit 133/100MHz PCI-X slots
2 64-bit 100/66MHz PCI-X slots
1 32-bit 33MHz PCI slot
AGP slots 1 8X AGP Pro
Graphics card PNY Quadro 980 XGL 128MB
Networking Broadcom Gigabit Ethernet
Audio AC'97 audio with Analog Devices AD1981B codec
Analog front output, and mic and line input channels
Digital S/PDIF output port (RCA)
Firewire Texas Instruments IEEE1394a Firewire controller
One rear Firewire port
USB Three rear USB 1.1 ports
Power supply NMB 450W power supply

There's definitely no mistaking this beast for an ordinary desktop PC. Appro will spec the Scorpion with your choice of graphics cards, hard drives, memory configurations, and Opteron 2xx processors.

Behold the mighty beast