A workstation is a high-performance computing device that has been purpose built for demanding professional workflows. It is not a single form factor in the same way that a desktop or notebook is – it can take almost any form factor. If mobility and agility are the most important factors for the device you need, you might choose a notebook, but if you need performance tuned to a specific workflow, a workstation will always be the best option. Workstations are designed for professional workflows and are more powerful than a general PC. For example, a data scientist, visual effects professional, engineer or software developer all have different needs in terms of data processing, performance, operating systems, keyboard shortcuts, storage, display and connectivity. They are built for managing those high intensity but diverse workflows. The technology that makes that possible is not always immediately obvious when looking at devices. Some vendors use copper and other software in their products to completely redesign the efficiency of the thermals in mobile workstations. That includes giving users complete control over the type of performance and acoustics for specific workflows, with artificial intelligence often called in to intelligently manage behavior based on the type of work being done. The best workstations can handle any application you throw at it, and they are useful tools for designers, engineers, financial analysts and researchers running more demanding applications, like rendering complex graphics, financial analysis and computations and digital content creation
What To Consider When Shopping For The Best Workstation
You surely want the best workstation that you or your company can afford. Some of the things you’ll be looking for is a workstation that:
- Helps you design efficiently.
- Has a powerful processor to run the software you use.
- Has enough memory and storage to manage the large files you produce.
- Comes with a large display so you can better view your designs.
To do this, you must consider details like the:
- GPU: As opposed to a CPU (central processing unit) which people call the “brain” of a computer. A GPU (graphics processing unit) enhances the “brain.” This is a single-chip processor that manages and boosts the performance of video and graphics. It renders the graphics to the monitor.
- Processor: A processor is an electronic circuit that performs arithmetical, logical, input/output (I/O) and other basic instructions that are passed on to the operating system (OS) that runs the computer.
- Memory: Cache memory provides high-speed data access to a processor. It also stores frequently used applications, data and computer programs. It’s embedded in the processor (or Random Access Memory-RAM) and is the fastest type of memory in a computer.
- Hard Drive: The is the main, and usually the largest, data storage device in a computer.
- Monitor: This is the electronic computer display that includes a screen, circuitry and case. Older monitors used cathode ray tubes (CRT). This made them large and heavy. Today, we use LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) flat-screen monitors because they’re more energy efficient and much lighter.
What Brand Of Workstation Should You Choose?
Apple iMac Pro
The Apple iMac Pro is a great machine, but like the Surface Studio from Microsoft, some believe it’s overpriced. However, with the quality of the internal components it provides, you may decide that the price is worth paying.
- It comes with a 2.3GHz 18-core Xeon W processor, 128GB of RAM, and a 4TB Solid State Drive.
- It also boasts a Radeon Pro Vega 64 GPU.
- The 27-inch LED-backlight Retina 5k display has incredibly vibrant colors. It also displays a maximum brightness of 500 nits as well as the wide P3 color gamut.
- The one-piece, sleek design and visually striking monitor helps to keep your desk free of clutter. The ports for peripherals are all in the back of the iMac Pro.
- With an SD card port, 4 USB 3 ports, a 10Gb ethernet port, and 4 Thunderbolt 3/USB-C you’ll have more than enough to connect just about anything.
Some graphic designers prefer to go with the Apple iMac with 4K Retina Display. As a matter of fact, many graphic designers won’t use anything other than a Mac. This is due to the quality that Apple has been building into their products for so many years. Graphic designers have been Apple’s biggest fans since they first started making computers.
- The CPU is made by Intel and includes their Intel Core i5 processor. It will run at 3Ghz, but if you need more, you can get an iMac with 3.5Ghz. (Gigahertz is the number of cycles per second.)
- The GPU is a dedicated AMD GPU Radeon Pro 500 that comes with 2GB of video memory. It’s twice as fast as the previous model.
- The 8GB of RAM will give you enough memory to handle most any graphic design project.
- It doesn’t come with a Solid State Drive (SSD), but the Fusion Drive has 1TB of room that should hold quite a lot.
- You’ll have two USB-C ports, four USB ports, and an SDXC card slot for your peripherals.
- The iMac has a 21.5-inch monitor with Retina display that’s what every designer wants today. It can produce up to one billion colors with a brightness of 500 nits. Your images will look crisper and better than ever.
HP Envy 34” Curved All-in-One
Hewlett Packard all-in-one Envy 34 is a quality workstation for your graphic design needs.
- It comes with an Intel 7th-gen core processor, a combination of a 256GB solid-state drive (SSD) and a 1TB SATA hard drive that provides the right balance of speed and capacity.
- The GPU is an AMD Radeon RX 460 with more than enough power to provide the pristine clarity you want for your graphic design projects.
- The Envy 34 has a minimalist design, so it won’t take up a lot of room on your desk.
- The ports for peripherals are located in the base of the computer. It has four USB 3.0 ports, a Thunderbolt 3 port, HDMI-Out and HDMI-In ports, a 10/100/1000 Base-T Network port, along with HP’s 3-in-1 Media Card Reader.
Dell XPS 8930 Tower
This is a computer tower without a monitor attached. If you like selecting your own high-end monitor, this can be a good choice for you. But, if you want an all-in-one desktop computer, then this option won’t work for you.
- The XPS 8930 Tower comes with an Intel Core i7-8700 processor.
- With its 256GB solid-state drive (SSD) plus a 2TB 7200 RPM SATA Hard Drive, you’ll have all the boot memory and storage that you need.
- And it has a GPU with a Nvidia GeForce 1060 that comes with 6GB of graphics double-data-rate type five synchronous random-access memory (GDDR5).
- The XPS 8930 graphics card provides colorful projects for the monitor that you select to use with the Tower.