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Workstations: Are They Worth More Than PCs?

Workstations: Are They Worth More Than PCs?

The workstation is a personal computer used in businesses that is connected to a series of other systems to form a local area network. It is used by operations that require higher end applications with more speed and random access memory.

Workstations originally ran mainly on the UNIX operating system. IBM, Hewlett-Packard, and Sun Microsystems were some of the early pioneers of the workstation. The first Sun-1 workstation computers began shipping in May 1982. Sun stands for Stanford University Network, where the computer was designed.

Your office may question whether acquiring a workstation is worth the added expense over a personal computer. But you might remember, “You get what you pay for when you’re undertaking bigger jobs. The workstation offers many advantages to paying the higher cost.

First, the workstation offers a larger hard drive for those major tasks. Solid State Drives deliver information faster, and are more reliable. And the higher quality of a workstation’s Graphics Processing Unit takes a lot of the pressure from your Central Processing Unit.

Not only that, workstations can be configured to provide about twice the memory of your standard personal computer. Addition of error correcting code fixes memory mistakes and prevents viruses. Also, along with the better performance and higher quality graphics of a workstation, it can be used in medical research and engineering.

So what kind of workstation can you get? Dell calls its Precision T7610 the most powerful one in the world. The T7610 can hold two Intel Xeon Processor E5-2600 v2 with up to 24 cores for each, with 512GB of 1866MHz ECC memory.

But the Dell Precision may be considered bulky. For a smaller workstation model, you might consider the Apple Mac Pro 2013. PCMag notes that the Pro has a compact design, with a 10-inch tall cylinder. It features an Intel Xeon E5 processor, and supports 6 Thunderbolt 2 ports.

The Fujitsu Celsius W530 workstation is also a model that won’t take up too much of your office space. It is used for entry-level 3D,CAD DCC or Media and Entertainment applications, and operates on Windows 8.1 Pro, or Windows 7 Professional 64 or 32-bit. But the Celsius only has one socket that accommodates either a Xeon E-3-1200 v3 or Intel Core i7 processor.

We mentioned Hewlett Packard as one of the earliest developers of the workstation. Well, they’re still around after 30-plus years. If you want a mobile workstation for your business, you could try the HP ZBook 15.

The ZBook allows you to choose between Intel Core or Linux processors, and has a high-performance Thunderbolt 2 port. For higher quality graphics it offers NVIDIA Quadro and AMD FirePro, and large GPU memory.

Selecting a workstation over a personal computer often comes down to expense. Workstation costs run considerably higher than those of PCs, in most cases. IT support and added service agreements might come into play as well.

Your choice of whether or not to purchase a workstation is likely to depend upon the nature of your business. But if you need more power and higher performance than the standard PC can provide, you might want to pay the price.