The main system used by employees is perhaps one of the most important hardware decision a company can make. It directly impacts their productivity and that of the company.

People who are not aware of the differences between desktop and workstation may mistake one for another. Although there is some resemblance between the two, what makes the workstation unique is what lies inside. The absence of the right tools for business activities will negatively affect an organisation. Business managers should be cognisant of this fact and strive to get it right.

Research proves that 85% of employees are most likely to stick with an organisation that provides the right technology to effectively carry out their roles. As such, business managers are saddled with the responsibility of choosing the technologies that are most suitable for business activities.

How do you decide between workstation vs desktop? It depends on the type of work that is done. If a lot of power, processing, speed, and storage is needed, then workstations are best to use over desktops.

What is a workstation?

A workstation is a high-performance computer that can handle heavy workloads. A basic workstation can resemble a desktop PC with a tower, a mouse, and a keyboard. But it’s what’s inside that makes all the difference.

Workstations have a large central processing unit (CPU) and more storage space than a desktop. It’s designed for things like multi-tasking and running memory-intensive programs – like video editing, 3D engineering software, design applications, and others.

This with heavy, technical workflows, like rendering visual effects and CAD will be more productive with a workstation because it has the power that they need to work without program freezes or crashes. Those doing video or image editing, will also benefit because they won’t be wasting hours just waiting for a project to render and export.

Workstation features

There are a lot of options when it comes to choosing the right workstation. Often, specific jobs and specific software, like Autodesk AutoCAD, will have minimum component requirements that can help you find the right machine. Here are five features that make workstations stand out from the crowd:

  • ECC RAM: Error-correcting code (ECC) memory is an extra chip added to random access memory (RAM) that repeatedly scans data to detect and repair any data damaged in transmission.
  • Multiple Processor Cores: An entry-level workstation often has a CPU with eight cores, while high-end workstations have anywhere from 28 to 64 cores.
  • RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks): RAID combines multiple internal hard drives in a single array to store and process data and to save information in the event of a crash.
  • SSD (Solid State Drive): SSDs are faster than hard-disk drives (HDD) for read/write and boot speeds. There are no moving parts in SSDs, so there’s less chance of mechanical failure.
  • Optimised GPU: Workstation graphics processing units (GPUs) are designed for rendering 3D visuals.

Laptop vs. Desktop vs. Workstation

How much computing power do you need? If you’re a writer who uses the Internet and word-processing software, you’ll most likely choose a laptop or a desktop for work. But if you’re the video editor for a marketing company, you’ll need a workstation.

Here are some of the primary differences between laptops, desktops, and workstations:

  • Cost: Workstations are high-end machines. They are specifically built to execute high-performance functions. As such, they are more expensive than desktops. Desktop, on the other hand, are more affordable.
  • Performance: Desktops are capable of executing basic tasks such as internet activities, emailing and word processing. Some higher-end versions of the desktop are suitable for visual content creation and even architectural projects. However, this would take a longer time to run this sophisticated software. The workstation possesses 64 CPUs against the 16 CPUs of the desktop. So, workstations can run various software with ease because they were specifically built for it.
  • Operating system: Desktop users can run multiple programs at once while using the desktop computer. For instance, it is easy to check your mail, make use of Microsoft office and play audio files simultaneously. This is because the desktop has a single-user multitasking operating system. The operating system used for workstations is a multiple user system. This encourages multiple persons to connect to the operating system from different terminals.
  • Durability: Workstations are more durable than desktops. Its internal components are built for endurance and designed to a superior standard. Workstations can run even when humans are not physically present. However, this is not the same for desktops.
  • Storage: Considering the internal components of the workstation and the files it handles, it possesses a bigger storage capacity than a desktop.

Workstation or desktop for business operations

The decision between making use of a workstation or desktop for business operations boils down to user needs. While the human resources team may require a desktop, professionals such as animators, data scientists and architects require a computer with superior capabilities like the workstation.

If the company requires computers that have high speed and good storage, workstations are best. Interestingly, workstations can function for both business and personal activities. So, workstations will not only help your business in the long run, but they will also perform all personal-related functions.

The initial investment for the workstation is more than for desktops or laptops but considering its capabilities, it is a worthy investment for productive business operations.

Netcare is an Autodesk partner that offers relevant support for organisations that require a workstation or desktop for their work operations.

Need help making the right decision for your organisation?
Call us at (02) 9114 9920 or contact us to get it right.

Original article idea from Redshift by Autodesk.