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Workstation Computers 101

Techies often search for top-of-the-line products. Of course, high-end, high-powered computers are always an in-demand product. Workstation computers are at the top of their class when it comes to system power and potential. Not familiar with workstation computers? No need to fear, Digital Storm is here!

Advantages of Workstations

Workstations offer users a number of advantages over traditional PCs. The power that these systems offer is unmatched by many home PCs, but that isn’t the only reason to consider a workstation. Here are just a few reasons why many professionals choose workstations over traditional PCs:

  • Processing PowerThis is perhaps the greatest advantage workstations hold over traditional PCs. Given the higher computational demand from the sectors that utilize workstations, these powerhouses can take advantage of high-powered processors, such as the Intel Xeon or AMD Operton—processors you won’t find in your everyday PC.

These high-end processors usually take advantage of multi-core processing, but on a much higher level than traditional PCs. It isn’t uncommon to see a workstation that uses two dual core processors, which helps increase productivity and enhance the user’s multitasking abilities.

  • Higher PerformanceWith higher processing power also comes higher performance. One key performance advantage that workstations hold over PCs comes from their hard drives. Whereas we’re used to 5400 or 7200rpm HDDs in (most) of our computers, it’s not uncommon for a workstation to have 10,000 or 15,000rpm HDDs. This results in shorter loading times and increased performance.
  • Expandable I/O SubsystemsWorkstations offer users the ability to expand beyond the capability of a typical PC. Many workstations are capable of supporting a large number of connected devices, and often contain high-bandwidth buses for maximum data transfer rates. Workstations tend to also have a higher number of PCI slots, allowing for high-performance video cards that can be used in non-linear video editing.
  • System ReliabilityThis is another huge advantage of workstations. While everyday PCs are reliable pieces of technology, workstations generally are equipped with highly reliable, top-of-the-line technology. Workstations typically contain what is called error checking and correcting memory, which, as its name implies, checks memory for errors and corrects it on the fly. Workstations also are typically equipped with much larger power supplies, ensuring they won’t be bottlenecked due to a low power supply to the high-powered peripherals connected.

Who Uses Workstations?

So, now that we have the basics of workstations down—who actually uses these things? Workstations are used in a number of environments due to their increased power vs. that of traditional PCs. Below is a list of a few of the more prominent fields that take advantage of the power that workstations offer.

  • Video EditingSerious video editing require serious computational power. Anyone who has used any video editing programs, such as Adobe Premier or Adobe After Effects, knows that editing and rendering HD video clips drain the life out of a system’s resources. Video editors choose workstations for their unmatched processing power, high memory, and high-end video cards.
  • EngineeringEngineers using CAD/CAM systems couldn’t live without the unmatched power of a workstation computer. Much like video editing, these programs are notorious system hogs. New advances in workstation technology have given engineers the ability to do far more than any traditional desktop PC. Workstations allow engineers to design more without sacrificing system performance.
  • Graphic Design/AnimationGraphic designers and animators take advantage of a number of programs that require serious system performance. Programs like 3D Max, ZBrush, Photoshop, etc., require high-end graphics cards, a large reservoir of system memory, and a powerful processor. To get the most out of these programs, graphic designers and animators need computers that exceed the power of typical consumer PCs, and workstations offer them just that.

  • SchoolsWhether it’s high school or college, educational facilities require immensely powerful computers. Why? Because most colleges—and now, many high schools—offer courses that cover all of the aforementioned fields. This means they require computers that are capable of handling many of the programs these fields/professions use. This makes workstations a no-brainer for many colleges with a focus in engineering, video/photo editing, music editing, graphic design, etc.
  • Government - Handling sensitive information at the state, federal, and international level often requires a computer with features that are conducive to maintaining high levels of security, as well as performance.

Is a Workstation for You?

If you’re serious about video editing, graphic design, engineering, or you’re just the market for a computer that will outperform any run-of-the-mill PC, consider a workstation as your next major upgrade. You’ll definitely dig the performance boost.

Be sure to check out Digital Storm’s selection of custom workstation computers.
This was just a brief introduction to some of the abilities and uses of workstation computers. Do you have anything to add to the conversation? Are you a workstation user? Let us know what you think in the comments below!

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