The best professional workstations for any budget

When we told manufacturers that the top price for this roundup was going to be £8,000 inc VAT, only PC Specialist and Scan decided to take full advantage. However, in the case of the 3XS GWP-ME Q164T, Scan has opted for a more balanced all-round specification, and crucially opted for the AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3970X.

This 32-core monster is truly cementing AMD’s resurgence. Scan partners it with a 128GB of 3,600MHz memory in four 32GB DIMMs, taking full advantage of the Threadripper’s 3,200MHz quad-channel memory controller, whilst leaving four DIMM slots free for upgrade.

Although RAM is expensive, the main area where Scan has spent its eight grand budget is in the graphics department. This is the only workstation on this list to opt for Nvidia’s hugely pricey Quadro RTX 6000. It’s a beast of a card, with 4,608 CUDA cores – twice as many as the RTX 4000 – and 24GB of GDDR6 RAM, which is three times as much memory. This runs on a 384-bit bus, so offers a whopping 672GB/sec of bandwidth.

No expense is spared for storage, either, with a PCI Express 4 NVMe M.2 SSD for the main drive in the shape of a 2TB Corsair MP600, delivering blistering sustained reading of 4,829MB/sec and writing of 4,266MB/sec. The secondary drive is an SSD as well, but in this case a SATA-connected 4TB Samsung 860 Evo; as a result, its sustained reading and writing rates are a more pedestrian 549MB/sec and 485MB/sec respectively, but this is still twice as fast as any conventional hard disk.

The Q164T achieved a stunning 702 overall in our benchmarks. True, the Scan was outclassed by Armari in rendering, achieving 17,180 in Cinebench R20 and taking 359 seconds to complete the Blender Gooseberry frame on CPU. It was also a little behind Armari and Chillblast with the Adobe Media Encoder CC 2020 4K video encode. However, with 9,856 in LuxMark 3.1 and the fastest single-graphics card render time in Blender Gooseberry, this is a superb system for GPU compute activities. Naturally, with the RTX 6000 on hand, this is also the fastest system by a country mile for 3D modelling viewsets. The SPECviewperf 13 results show that this system will handle the largest 3D designs or scientific visualisations with ease.

This is a beast of a workstation, making its exc VAT price of £6,666.66 numerologically correct, and also what you’d expect to pay for this much workstation ability.

Scan 3XS GWP-ME Q164T specification

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Processor3.7GHz AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3970X
MotherboardAsus Rog Zenith II Extreme
Expansion slots8 x RAM slots (4 free), 4 x PCIe x16 (3 free), 4 x M.2 (3 free), 8 x SATA 600 (7 free)
RAM128GB DDR4, 3,600MHz
GPUPNY Quadro RTX 6000, 24GB GDDR6
Outputs4 x DisplayPort 1.4, USB-C VirtualLink
SSDCorsair MP600 2TB NVMe M.2 PCI Express 4.0
Secondary drivesSamsung 860 Evo 4TB SATA, N/A N/A
Optical drivesN/A
Dimensions (WDH)Fractal Design Define R6 USB-C (233 x 543 x 465mm)
PSU make and model (power output)Corsair RMX850 80PLUS Gold (850W)
CPU coolerCooler Master MasterLiquid ML360 watercooler (360mm)
Rear ports10 Gigabit Ethernet, Gigabit Ethernet, 5 x 3.5mm audio jack, optical S/PDIF, 4 x USB 3.2 Gen 1, 6 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 (Type-A), 2 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 (Type-C), Wi-Fi 6 aerial header
Front/top ports3.5mm audio jack, 3.5mm microphone jack, 2 x USB 3, 2 x USB 2, USB 3.2 Gen 2 (Type-C)
Operating systemWindows 10 Pro 64-bit
Warranty (parts & labour unless stated)3yr (1yr on-site, 2yr RTB)
James Morris

Dr James Morris has worked as a technology journalist for over 25 years, including spending nine years on the staff of market-leading computer magazine PC Pro, the last five of which were as the publication’s editor. He specialises in enterprise-grade software and hardware, with a particular focus on content creation. He launched a pioneering video channel for in 2006 and ran the video reviews channel for for four years. He also runs a successful online digital content and commercial video production company, t-zero communications Ltd.

Dr Morris is a prolific technology writer and contributes commercial content for major IT brands including AMD, BlackBerry, Dell, Cognizant, HP, and IBM. He published a book on artificial intelligence, Can Computers Create Art? in 2009. He is also an academic, and is currently Pathway Director of the MA, Interactive Journalism at City, University of London.

Previously, he was course leader for the BA in Web Media Production at Ravensbourne University. He has a PhD in Philosophy, Art and Social Thought from the European Graduate School in Switzerland, a Master's in Media Arts from the New School in New York, USA, and a Bachelor's in Social Anthropology from the London School of Economics.

Dr. Morris can be found on Twitter at @Cyberwest, or emailed at