MANUFACTURER: Cerise Computers
PRODUCT: Cerise Circular Computer
PRICE: Starting at $2,899.00
- Unique circular tower that takes heat from the bottom and blows it out the top
- Can take any GeForce graphics card, a GTX 1080 or any Quadro card up to an M4000
- Cable management features designed and built into the case
Since Apple hasn’t come forward with an updated Mac Pro, there are a lot of MacOS-based professionals looking to jump ship to a Window’s-based solution. With several options, you can either look at name brand manufacturers like HP, Dell or Lenovo; possibly build a system yourself or find a company like Cerise Computers that custom builds solutions that meet your multimedia needs.
I personally like to build my own systems if I have the time, but I know not everyone has the time, nor the patience. In addition, building a high-functioning, workstation-worthy system can get tricky if you aren’t comfortable with handling CPUs or going into the motherboards BIOS. This is where Cerise Computers comes in. Cerise Computers builds custom computer systems by hand, then rigorously tests them before shipping them to its customers.
I recently received the latest Cerise Circular Computer, which took only about 10 seconds to boot up — real fast! The system I was sent to test was the latest in their line of custom builds, a unique circular tower that takes heat from the bottom and blows it out the top with the use of a 140mm fan. The system is strikingly reminiscent of a recent MacOS-based computer, but much bigger, allowing you to upgrade/fix components as well as use components like the Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1070 series graphics card or even an Nvidia Quadro M4000. The case measures about 12-inches in diameter by 15-inches tall. The case has a way better cable management strategy than its similarly designed MacOS-based system. You can run cables down the side of the case and out the bottom. It can get a little tight when plugging in dongles and USB cables through the top, but it’s really not a problem.
A LOOK UNDER THE HOOD
Under the circular hood lies the great power that I need to process all the 4K and higher video that I’m editing and color correcting (see sidebar specs for the system I reviewed). In total, this system custom-built from Cerise will cost you $3,500, including shipping. It’s a prosumer level system knocking on the professional level workstation’s door. The latest Nvidia GTX 1070 graphics cards are getting a lot of love in the multimedia community, so I was really excited to finally test one out. With 1920 CUDA cores, it rivals the speed and memory bandwidth of the Nvidia Quadro M5000. The Quadro M5000 edges the 1070 with 2048 CUDA cores but really doesn’t beat it in much else. Oh yeah, and the M5000 costs a little under $1,750 where the GTX 1070 costs under $400, depending on the version. Keep in mind, there are certain professional features that the Quadro line of graphics cards maintains, such as Error Correction Coding, but if you aren’t running your system 24 hours a day, you will probably do well with the GTX 1070 series or similar of graphics card.
I was curious to find out what the cost of this system would look like if I were to build it myself, so I went to the infamous PCPartPicker.com and tried to recreate the same build (you can check it out here: www.pcpartpicker.com/list/hwVjqk
). Keep in mind that I did a quick system build and didn’t verify that all of these prices and parts are available from the individual resellers, nor if they are compatible, but it gives you a decent ballpark price. The system came in at just over $2,100. So what does this tell me about the Cerise system? Well, for one, the custom build case and additional fans will add a few hundred dollars at the least, so let us say $2,400 at this point. If you aren’t ready to build your own system, love the idea that one company is handling your warranties for each part, and need lifetime tech support, then the difference of $1,100 is not that much. I would figure building the system alone is worth about $300, shipping another $100 and tech support is invaluable. It really comes down to your own comfort level and need for immediate support as to whether it would be worth it to you.
PUT IT TO THE TEST
Let’s put the Cerise Workstation through its paces. I tested the drive speed with AJA’s System Test utility. I set the test file resolution at 3840 x 2160, 4GB file size and ProRes HQ codec. The boot drive/application drive ran at 435MB/sec. write and 489MB/sec read. Not the fastest, but the real speed needs to come from your media drive which, in this system, is a sweet Samsung 950 Pro M.2 at a size of 512GB. This monster ran at a beautiful 1487MB/sec. write and 2243MB/sec. read speeds — this is what you want. Put a couple of those SSDs into a RAID 0 configuration and you will be blasting through 6K Red footage in Blackmagic Design DaVinci Resolve. I also ran Maxon’s Cinebench R15 benchmark suite, which taxes the CPU and OpenGL resources. The OpenGL test ran at 108.83fps which topped the chart when compared to similar systems, thanks to the Gigabyte GTX 1070. The CPU test gave a score of 1083 cb, which you can compare to other systems online but in the end, ranked fourth. Not the best result, but respectable in my opinion, considering it isn’t Xeon level.
If you put in a second processor or Xeon it would probably go to the top of the list. My last test was with a 4K Red R3D test file (you can download from www. red.com/sample-r3d-files). It has a resolution of 4096 x 2304 and a frame rate of 23.976. I wanted to see how fast the Cerise Computer system could export an H.264 (.mp4) with the same resolution and aspect ratio — I did limit the data rate to 50Mb/sec. Without any color correction or resizing it took 15 minutes and 15 seconds to export a five-minute sequence from Adobe Premiere Pro CC 2017. When I added a simple Lumetri color correction effect on top of the same R3D file, it took 15 minutes. Keep in mind that the GPU really doesn’t kick in until you add a GPU-accelerated effect such as Lumetri color correction or a resize effect. But this is a great result, as it really means this system has been tested and configured to work well with apps like Adobe Premiere Pro.
I did the same tests inside of Resolve and the same file without any color correction took seven minutes and 30 seconds. I then added a color correction like the one I applied in Premiere, it took about eight minutes to export. Appropriately, when I added color correction in both Premiere and Resolve I could hear the GPU and system fans kick in, surprisingly quiet for how big they are. I didn’t really expect a disparity like this between Premiere and Resolve exports but there could have been some details that didn’t line up like differing data rates. Either way, the Cerise system with the GTX 1070 GPU transcoded the R3D files with and without color correction quickly.
In the end, I love the ability to build my own workstation-level system but don’t love dealing with the manufacturers and their warranties. Therefore, this is the market where Cerise Computers can capitalize. I love the ability to ditch some of the extreme higher end enterprise class products like an Nvidia Quadro series graphics card and instead grab a Gigabyte GTX 1070 GPU at a fraction of the cost but with about the same speed. If you want a high-class computer system that boasts a beautiful exterior along with lifetime technical support at a reasonable price, check out the Cerise Circular Computer.
CASE: Custom Cerise Circular Case
POWER SUPPLY: Silverstone SFX Series 500W
MOTHERBOARD: ASRock X99E-ITX/ac LGA 2011-v3 w/USB 3.1
PROCESSOR: Intel i7-6800K Broadwell-E 6 Core 3.4GHz
CPU COOLER: Dynatron R24
MEMORY: 2x Crucial 16GB DDR4 2133MHz
PRIMARY BOOT/OS DRIVE: Intel 540s 480GB SATA III SSD
SECONDARY MEDIA STORAGE: Samsung 950 Pro M.2 512GB
VIDEO CARD: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1070 Mini ITX 8GB
OS: Windows 10 Pro 64-bit
WARRANTY: One-year & lifetime tech support
Brady Betzel is an online editor with Margarita Mix Hollywood in Hollywood, CA. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.