Workstations have a multitude of uses, such as 3D mechanical design, engineering simulation and testing, animation, graphics manipulation, and mathematical plots. For each one of these applications, a different set of requirements may be needed. This is exactly why it is important to know the exact function you need a workstation to perform and check the resource requirements before you head out to buy the system. Otherwise, you may find yourself frustrated at your system’s obvious poor performance.
A basic, typical workstation computer can easily be used in an office setting. These systems do have a top of the line processer, larger screens, and an increased capacity for memory, but are not geared toward intensive computing applications. These systems are optimized for fast paced business environments and enable users, through advanced available resources, to perform multiple functions at the same time. In most cases these computers are also equipped to join larger business workgroups or networks, and come with built in back end utilities to help engineers maintain these systems. These workstations would be considered a low-end or smaller format workstation and are a close kin to the personal computers of today’s market both in ability and appearance, as well as price.
For more specialized applications, such as the aforementioned 3-d structural design, a more high-end, or large format workstation would be required. Attempting to run full application suites such as AutoCAD or Adobe Creative Suite on a normal computer would cause a complete freeze due to a drain on system resources. These high end systems are usually equipped with a strong graphics card, large format visual displays, special pointing devises, and other such gear. They are capable of handling numerous commands and calls to resources at the same time. For example, high-end mathematical models could process trillions of computations at the exact same nanosecond. The capabilities of these systems also not only includes the specialized intended application, but also their normal duties as well. An end user could check their email, construct a report, and compile a huge program all at the same time with one of these workstations. This is why they’re becoming such a staple in today’s mainstream business world.
The decision on whether you need a low or high-end workstation is influenced by a number of factors, such as intended tasks, company size, and most importantly the budget. If the network is fairly complex and the budget allows, a medium sized workstation would probably be a sound investment. Nonetheless, that would be a call for each individual company to make. The beauty of the workstation set up is that there is no solution they can’t provide, and no configuration requirements they can’t reach. With knowledgeable vendors and consultants, it is fairly easy to express your needs and find the solution that’s right for you.