When I was a kid and heavily into comic book superheroes, or when my kids were kids and heavily into them too, I never liked the battle royale plotlines of one favorite superhero pitted against another. Batman vs. Superman? No. They’re allies, Justice League colleagues who should be crushing the Joker and Lex Luthor respectively, not each other. 

Now that you know where my feelings lie, it will be easier to understand why I began this APEXX E3 vs. APEXX S3 blog with a slight bit of trepidation. Both are excellent BOXX workstations with similar and distinct capabilities purpose-built for professional 3D, CAD, and motion media. That said, our performance specialists (you call them sales people, we call them performance specialists) would appreciate a detailed comparison, since they are on the front lines, eagerly listening to potential customers, and then explaining the differences in these workstations when your interest in both leads to the inevitable question, “What’s the difference?” To answer that, let’s start with the similarities.



Both workstations use the same compact chassis designed and manufactured in central Texas and both offer a standard 3-year warranty with zero repair or replacement costs as covered under warranty. Good start.

Both are liquid cooled, which enhances system performance by keeping the CPU cool—even under the most demanding tasks. Have you heard of thermal throttling? This is when the CPU slows down to avoid overheating due to warming under a heavy workload. Air cool only workstations may be further subject to this problem.

In addition to liquid cooling, E3 and S3 are also engineered specifically for air cooling (heat is diffused and exhausted) to provide maximum reliability and performance. Worthy of note, lower cost, commodity PCs are typically not engineered in such a fashion, so they disperse concentrated heat over the motherboard and other components, i.e., thermal throttling just waiting to happen.

Back to the similarities. Both E3 and S3 feature 2.5 Gigabit LAN (up to 2500 Mb/s) for fast networking. Both have a 6Gb/s Serial ATA 3.0 port enabling faster read/write for your hard drives. Both workstations have M.2 slots providing faster performance, but APEXX E3 has three, while S3 provides four. Both feature USB Type A ports to accommodate more peripherals, but S3 wins again with 12 to E3’s nine. Lastly, both machines offer up to 128GB of memory and are available with 13th Gen Intel® Core™ i7or i9 processors (up to 24 cores).

Now here’s where it gets interesting. E3 tops out at 5.8GHz, while S3 is performance tuned (overclocked) to 6.0GHz. In short, APEXX S3 is faster. It can also support up to two NVIDIA® RTX™ GPUs while E3 maxes out at one. That’s a key differentiator.


More Differences = S3 Advantages

More advantages for APEXX S3 over E3: dual channel DDR5 providing faster memory, PCIe Gen 5 delivering higher bandwidth for peripherals, and Thunderbolt™ 4/USB4 Type-C Ports enabling faster data throughput or powering external storage/GPUs. That last one is another key differentiator.

As they say in infomercials, “Wait, there’s more.” APEXX S3 also features a 1 Gigabit LAN, Wi-Fi (specifically 802.11ax Wi-Fi 6E Module), Bluetooth 5.3 + High speed class II, a front USB 3.3 Gen 2 port, and Optical S/PDIF Out*.

I know what you’re thinking. E3 is Batman and S3 is Superman. That’s fair. APEXX S3 is our best-selling workstation for good reason. It’s the industry leader with zero compromises on performance, quality, and reliability, while performance tuning locks in that 6.0GHz frequency on up to 2 cores (at Max Turbo) to eliminate thermal throttling. In other words, Superman.

But just like you wouldn’t dismiss Batman as a legit superhero, APEXX E3 has much to recommend it—especially an entry level price tag. Yes, some component selections are not available (like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth), but that helps reduce cost while maintaining the quality and performance that defines a BOXX workstation.

Only you can make the final decision regarding what’s best for your applications, workflow, and budget. If you’re still on the fence after reading this, I strongly encourage you to consult with a BOXX performance specialist via chat or at 877.877.BOXX. They won’t try to upsell you, but will help you make the right call.

*Sony/Philips Digital Interface. An optical audio cable format that allows the transfer of digital audio signals from device to device without needing to convert to an analog signal first.

Graph E3 vs S3

Both APEXX E3 and APEXX S3 are built with the highest quality components including motherboard, power supply, liquid cooler, radiator, cooling fans, enterprise-class drives / SSDs, and more.