A workstation It is a category of computer by itself, they usually use components from the world of servers, but adapted to the use of a personal computer. Which means that they use much more powerful processors than Intel Core and AMD Ryzen, specifically the Xeon W and THREADRIPPER of each of these brands. As well as own motherboards. Is it worth buying one to use at home? What are the applications where these types of systems are most used?
The workstation concept has been diluted over time, this is due to the fact that a good part of the capacities that differentiated them from a personal computer to use have been integrated into the PCs that are commonly used, which has meant that it is no longer You need to buy one of these monsters to perform certain tasks. However, in certain professional sectors, this type of high-caliber PC continues to be used.
In which professions is a workstation recommended?
We have to clarify, first of all, that today we can do anything with a PC to use; however, there are industries where everyday work applications make use of features available in processors designed for workstations. For example, it may be that they make use of some type of special instruction set or an unprecedented execution unit that is only found in that type of CPU and whose use ends up significantly accelerating performance.
Another of the unique capabilities of workstations is their memory configuration, they usually use 4 and even in some models up to 8 memory channels, compared to 2 for a conventional PC. Therefore, in applications that require handling a large amount of simultaneous information, it is very important.
Professional 3D design and rendering
Having a good graphics card is essential for this, but some professional applications make use of workstation CPUs in pairs with system graphics cards to run certain effects and complex algorithms. For example, scenes with ray tracing complex enough for a single frame make the RTX 4090 fall at the level of the poorest integrated. In the same category we could add computer-aided design and, therefore, CAD/CAM applications.
Video and music editing
Although graphics cards have their own hardware video codecs, they do not support all codecs and not all bitrates. That’s why many professional video editors use the dozens of cores in a workstation’s processors in order to encode video as quickly as possible. What’s more, gaming graphics cards are often limited to handling two video files at the same time.
Here we are not talking about editing the vacation video, but about people who make a living from audiovisuals and need to handle high-quality music and video tracks and, therefore, large ones. Enough so that even the most powerful PC ends up running on pedals.
A workstation is common in the scientific world.
We refer to those used in research, whether for health, engineering or other applications that require scientific research. The reason is none other than large volumes of data that need to be processed at high speed and where the ability to process them with the highest possible precision and without losses is important. Here precision cuts are not allowed as long as the final results do not deviate from reality and end up being wrong.
In general, it can be said that as soon as the volume of data becomes untenable to handle for a common computer. The usual thing for us, on a day-to-day basis, is not to encounter such situations, hence we end up with the wrong conclusion that a workstation is not necessary.