About Duke Energy

Duke Energy is a Fortune 150 company headquartered in Charlotte NC. They are one of America’s largest energy holding companies. The company’s electric utilities serve 8.4 million customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky, and collectively own approximately 54,800 megawatts of energy capacity. Its natural gas utilities serve 1.7 million customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Ohio and Kentucky.

Duke Energy is executing an ambitious clean energy transition to achieve its goals of net-zero methane emissions from its natural gas business by 2030 and net-zero carbon emissions from electricity generation by 2050. The company is investing in major electric grid upgrades and cleaner generation, including expanded energy storage, renewables, natural gas and nuclear.


The Need for Capability – Super Tower of Power (2021)

We first interacted with the metrology team at Duke in early 2021, talking with the metrology director about a new high-capacity LIDAR processing machine. While this was a significant investment, the work being done could only be done on local computers, due to the sensitive nature of the power plants and the inferior network connection. It took nearly 18 months from initial form submission to order placement, due to multiple pandemic delays and IT procurement challenges.

Eventually, Duke purchased Super Tower of Power, a 3D laser scanning workstation with 1TB of RAM, dual Xeon Platinum CPUs, and an RTX A6000 48GB video card. This system is designed for Faro Scene, Geomagic Design X, Syncro4D, Premiere Pro, Photoshop, Inventor, Revit, Recap, 3DS Max, Navisworks, and AutoCAD. The name comes from the director calling his current processing machine the “Tower of Power”.

We integrated a custom water loop for the CPUs, allowing them to run at full speed, quietly, in an office environment. This was eventually upgraded to 2TB of RAM, after Duke realized that the ever-increasing project files were causing the system to run out of memory. Upgrading the system from 1TB RAM to 2TB RAM dropped point cloud registration time from 64 hours to 15-20 hours (it was originally 10 hours with 1TB).

STOP allowed the metrology team to go into the field, take laser scans, load initial data into the system, and then start scan registration nearly at-will. This was, at the time, the most expensive computer in the metrology department.

Build 132 – Super Tower of Power: Laser Scanning Workstation

2x Xeon Platinum 8358 | XE360 Soft Tube Custom Loop | MD72-HB0 | ​8x128GB D​D​R4​-320​​0 ​ECC | 4x Fury Renegade 2TB RAID0 | 4x Fury Renegade 1TB RAID0 | 4x Gold 12TB RAID0 | RTX A6000 48GB | P2 1600W | 1200W | Core W200 | 12x PH-F120T30 | Windows 10 Pro for Workstations | ​2x SSD7103


Virtual Training – DEVR 1 (2022)

About 4 months later, Duke needed a workstation for virtual reality. They were working on a way to use virtual reality to do maintenance training, making things much safer and controlled. Safety is paramount in the nuclear industry, so every little bit helps.

After a little deliberation, Duke purchased DEVR 1 (Duke Energy VR 1). This was designed to be a static spec, only being upgraded as necessary. Keeping specs static meant that various software and drivers didn’t have to be rebuilt.

Build 147 – DEVR 1: VR Workstation

i7-12700K | Dark Rock Pro 4 | ROG STRIX Z690-E GAMING WIFI | ​Fury Beast 2x32GB DDR5-5200 | 980 Pro 500GB | 2x 970 EVO Plus 2TB RAID0 | RTX A4000 16GB | Revolution DF 850W 80+ Gold | 4000D Airflow Black | 3x NFF12 Black PWM | Windows 11 Pro | Quest 2 Advanced 128GB

Customer Testimonial

“What can’t I say here. I’ve worked with Chris on several builds in my role with Duke. The most recent being DEVR and the really big one being SToP (Super Tower of Power). Chris and Team at Top Flight, were not only professional but took the time to spec and re-spec the machine when supply chain issues were in their peak.

While I know enough about computers myself, Having the support and knowledge of Top Flight there to help if something fails (under warranty) who can get the parts to us and ready to fix is awesome. If you’re looking for a quality workstation that will do what YOU want, the way YOU want it, and is specialized to YOUR needs, reach out to Chris and the rest of the Top Flight team.”

Brad, Seneca SC


Expanding Capabilities – Accelerated Design (2023)

About a year after Duke purchased STOP, they decided to break ground on a new office for the metrology team. They needed more processing power as the team was starting to gain more work, so they purchased 2 more machines, called Accelerated Design.

These were purchased fairly early in the life of the RTX 6000 ADA, so we were able to source 2 GPUs at greatly reduced cost through our channel partners.

Build 194 – Accelerated Design: Laser Scanning Workstation

i9-13900K | Celsius S36 | ProArt Z790-CREATOR WIFI | ​Fury Beast 4x32GB DDR5-5200 | 2x KC3000 2TB | RTX 6000 ADA 48GB | Straight Power 11 1200W | Pure Base 500DX Black | 6x PH-F120T30 | Windows 11 Pro


True Capability – The Zords (2023)

The metrology director and I had been discussing building a set of smaller-scale STOPs for a while, this was shelved in early 2023. At some point in 2023 however, we started again about going the OTHER direction. Duke was embarking on a very large undertaking, and needed a LOT more compute and storage. Effectively, multiple systems of the same class as STOP, plus a system with enough storage to hold the final work for a while.

Over ~3 months, we deliberated over designs that would become Tryscannosaurus Rex, Mascanodon, Triscanotops, Saber Tooth Scanner, Pterodascanyl, and Dragonscanzord.

These builds was designed for processing large reality capture files in Faro Scene and rendering animations and massive model assemblies in Autodesk products.

Build 223 – Tryscannosaurus Rex: Laser Scanning Workstation

2x Xeon Max 9462 | 2x XE360 Soft Tube Custom Loop | SP2C741D16X-2T | ​16x64GB D​D​R5​-480​​0 ​ECC | KC3000 4TB | 7x KC3000 4TB RAID0 | 5x Ultrastar DC HC520 12TB RAID5 | 2x RTX 4000 ADA 20GB SFF | HX1500i 2022 1500W | Core W200 | 12x PH-F120T30 | Windows 11 Pro for Workstations | ​SupremeRAI​D SR-1010 | 2x ​Rocket​ 1504

Build 224 – Mascanodon: Laser Scanning Workstation

Xeon W9-3495X | Liqtech II TR4/Xeon 360 | X13SWA-​TF | ​16x64GB D​D​R5​-480​​0 ​ECC | 4x KC3000 4TB RAID0 | 4x Rocket 4 Plus 8TB RAID0 | RTX 6000 ADA 48GB | Dark Power Pro 13 1600W | Enthoo Pro 2 Black | 10x PH-F120T30 | Windows 11 Pro for Workstations | Rocket 1504

Build 225 – Triscanatops: Laser Scanning Workstation

Xeon W9-3495X | XE480 Soft Tube Custom Loop | Pro WS W790E-SAGE SE | ​8x128GB D​D​R5​-480​​0 ​ECC | KC3000 4TB | 3x KC3000 4TB RAID0 | 3x KC3000 4TB RAID0 | 2x RTX 6000 ADA 48GB | 2x Dark Power Pro 13 1600W | Enthoo Pro 2 Black | 8x PH-F120T30 | Windows 11 Pro for Workstations | ​Rocket​ 1504

Build 226 – Saber Tooth Scanner: Laser Scanning Workstation

Xeon W9-3475X | Liqtech II TR4/Xeon 360 | Pro WS W790E-SAGE SE | ​8x64GB D​D​R5​-480​​0 ​ECC | KC3000 4TB | 2x KC3000 4TB RAID0 | 4x DC500M 4TB RAID0 | 2x RTX 6000 ADA 48GB | Dark Power Pro 13 1600W | Enthoo Pro 2 Black | 10x PH-F120T30 | Windows 11 Pro for Workstations

Build 227 – Pterodascanyl: Laser Scanning Workstation

Xeon W7-3455 | Liqtech II TR4/Xeon 360 | Pro WS W790E-SAGE SE | ​8x64GB D​D​R5​-480​​0 ​ECC | KC3000 4TB | 3x KC3000 2TB RAID0 | 3x KC3000 4TB RAID0 | 3x Ultrastar DC HC520 12TB RAID5 | 2x RTX 6000 ADA 48GB | Dark Power Pro 13 1600W | Enthoo Pro 2 Black | 10x PH-F120T30 | Windows 11 Pro for Workstations | Rocket 1504

Build 228 – Dragonscanzord: Network Attached Storage

Xeon W5-3435X | Liqtech II TR4/Xeon 360 | Pro WS W790E-SAGE SE | ​​4x32GB D​D​R5​-480​​0 ​ECC | 2x KC3000 2TB | 4x DC500M 4TB RAID0 | 10x Ultrastar DC HC550 16TB RAID6 | RTX A2000 12GB | Dark Power Pro 13 1600W | Meshify 2 XL Black | 8x PH-F120T30 | Windows 11 Pro for Workstations | 2x RocketR​AID 840C


More Virtual Training – DEVR 2

About a month later, Duke needed another VR workstation. As we’d established a design for this need, they purchased DEVR 2.

Build 232 – DEVR 2: VR Workstation

i7-13700K | Lumen S36 V2 | ProArt Z790 CREATOR WIFI | Fury Renegade 2x32GB DDR5-5200 | KC3000 500GB | 2x KC3000 2TB RAID0 | GeForce RTX 4080 16GB GAMING X TRIO | Straight Power 12 1200W | 5000D Airflow Black | 6x PH-F120T30 | Windows 11 Pro | Quest 2 Advanced 128GB


The Team Grows! – Alpha 1

About a month later, the metrology team hired new employees and needed to provide each technician with a capable computer. The metrology director was a firm believer in empowering their employees, so Duke purchased 5 machines and established a new static spec. This order was Alpha 1.

These builds were designed for Inventor, Revit, Navisworks, Adobe, and Faro.

Build 238 – Alpha 1: Laser Scanning Workstation

Xeon W7-2475X | Li​qTech II 3​60 TR4/Xeo​n | Pro W​S W790-ACE | F​ury Renega​de Pro XMP​ 8x32GB DD​R5-4800 ECC | 2x Fury Renegade 4TB | GeForce RTX 4090 24GB SUPRIM LIQUID X | Straight Power 12 1200W | 4000D Airflow Black | 6x PH-F120T30 | Windows 11 Pro for Workstation


Engineering Needs Help – MEAN CAD 1

Later in 2023, the engineering team needed workstations for various needs. We established yet another static spec (having these presets made it easier to work with Duke), and Duke purchased 6 machines called MEAN CAD 1.

These builds were designed for Inventor, Revit, Navisworks, Adobe, and Faro.

Build 252 – MEAN CAD 1: CAD Workstation

i9-14900K | iCUE H170i ELITE CAPELLIX | ProArt Z790 CREATOR WIFI | Fury Renegade 4x48GB DDR5-6000 | Fury Renegade 2TB | 4x DC600M 4TB RAID0 | RTX 5000 ADA 32GB | Straight Power 12 1200W | Shadow Base 800 Black | 6x NFA14 industrialPPC-3000 PWM | Windows 11 Pro


Even More Virtual Training – DEVR 3

At the same time as MEAN CAD, Duke needed 6 more VR workstations. As we’d established a design for this need, they purchased DEVR 3.

Build 251 – DEVR 3: VR Workstation

i7-14700K | iCUE H170i ELITE CAPELLIX | ProArt Z790 CREATOR WIFI | Fury Renegade 2x32GB DDR5-5600 | Fury Renegade 1TB | 2x DC600M 4TB RAID0 | GeForce RTX 4080 16GB GAMING X TRIO | Straight Power 12 1200W | Shadow Base 800 Black | 6x NFA14 industrialPPC-3000 PWM | Windows 11 Pro | Quest 2 Advanced 128GB


Through working with Duke, we gained a great deal of experience in LIDAR processing and laser scanning. We learned how important it is to have enough memory, and how certain platforms are MUCH faster than others.

Being a Fortune 150 company, Duke was able to get early-access hardware and software that we would have struggled to get. Being a nimble small business, we were able to offer the bespoke hardware that Duke desired so greatly. Having an incredibly tight relationship with the metrology director made it all possible.


About Top Flight Computers

Top Flight Computers is based in North Carolina and designs custom built computers, focusing on bespoke desktop workstationsrack workstationsrack servers, and gaming PCs.

We focus on the Raleigh/Cary/Apex/Durham area, offer free delivery within 20 miles of our shop in Cary NC, can deliver within 3 hours of our shop, and ship nationwide.

We work with local NC partners for other tech services, such as computer repair and managed IT. Call us at 919-500-5002 or email us at sales@topflightpc.com to inquire about a build!

Check out our past builds and live streams on our YouTube channel!