This dual processor workstation boasts the industry’s most expandable chassis, meaning there’s plenty of room for it to grow. Its Leon processors provide support for up to 24 cores, with the latest graphics, meaning it should be able to handle even the most demanding projects.
This seriously heavy-duty piece of kit from Media Workstations is aimed at media-types working in extremely demanding computing environments. Its dual Intel Leon E5 v3 processors support up to a whopping 36 cores, and it offers space for up to 10 solid state drives.
The makers of this behemoth, Puget Systems, have managed to squeeze four Intel Leon E5-4650 processors inside the chassis, and have done it while keeping the workstation “whisper quiet”, they say. HP’s latest range of workstations was released only in September, and target graphic design, architecture, finance and other compute-heavy industries.
Workstations are the sharpest tools in the desktop world, purpose-built for everything from professional photo and video editing to scientific analysis, computer-aided design (CAD), and Hollywood-level computer-generated imagery and 3D rendering. Anyone using extra-tough software (decidedly not something as simple as Microsoft Office) or looking for a highly reliable PC for intensive tasks should consider a workstation over a traditional desktop.
Before you go workstation shopping, you should know they can be some of the most confusing computers to purchase because of their sheer configurability and a knack for offering options you've probably never heard of. Processors with higher core and thread counts are better for multitasking and especially long-running tasks like video encoding, though one with fewer cores and a higher clock speed or operating frequency (measured in gigahertz or GHz) may be more responsive for general use.
Today's true workstation -CPU families are the Intel Leon and AMD Ry zen Thread ripper lines. The chips' weak point is that they're harder to find in workstations from major vendors such as Dell, HP, and Lenovo, where Intel remains by far the dominant choice.
We tested Thread ripper Pro in the first Lenovo model, the ThinkStation 620 in our pick list above, and found it quite impressive. Truth be told, workstation CPUs are based on the same essential technologies as their civilian desktop counterparts.
This type of RAM automatically corrects the tiny amount of data corruption that occurs in standard or non-ECC memory. This corruption is inconsequential for everyday use, but it's unacceptable in scientific, architectural, and financial fields where every decimal place matters.
That may sound like a lot compared to your laptop's 8 GB or 16 GB, but it's pocket change when you consider that some workstations can support 2 TB (2,048 GB) of memory or more. Simply put, workstation CPUs are a necessity when extraordinary amounts of memory are required.
Its expensive territory that you'd probably visit only if you need an extreme number of cores (more than can fit on a single CPU) and don't want to invest in a second computer. Ever-increasing CPU core counts have mitigated, but not eliminated, the need for what's known as symmetric multiprocessing (SVP) scenarios.
The use of a GPU can vary from simple photo editing to complex CGI and parallel processing. Most major workstation vendors will advertise ISV certification for specific apps such as Autodesk's AutoCAD and Maya or Assault Systems' SolidWorks.
The ISV certification guarantees that the workstation is optimized and will work properly for a given program. However, if you're in a line of work where guarantees are required, and you want an ironclad, up-front promise that the system is built for running a given application “just so,” then your shopping list will be limited to ISV-certified workstations.
An up-and-coming concept in the workstation world is a more generic GPU driver that is built around maximizing compatibility with creative apps. The driver doesn't offer guaranteed compatibility like an ISV certification, but it's tested against creative software from popular vendors.
A low-end GPU is usually more than enough for photo editing, though video editors might want to step up to a midrange model with 6 GB or more of display memory for 4K (or higher) source footage. If you're working with complex 3D models in product design, engineering, or other simulations, you'll generally want to invest in as powerful a GPU as possible, with 8 GB or even 16 GB of onboard memory.
Adding a second graphics card to your workstation won't have much (if any) effect on performance if your application in question doesn't support multi-GPU environments, so it's important to verify your favorite apps first. The U.2 format offers higher capacities than M.2 drives since it provides more real estate for housing memory chips.
The latter stands for Serial Attached SCSI, another kind of storage interface typically found only in high-end workstations and servers. A SAS drive is typically used in data center or enterprise scenarios where maximum uptime and reliability are required.
These take the form of externally accessible 2.5-inch or 3.5-inch bays whose drives can be pulled out of the workstation and swapped while the system is running. For bulk storage where speed and response time isn't critical, 3.5-inch SATA hard drives offer the most gigabytes per dollar.
It's also worth paying the premium for solid-state storage for general purposes if your workflow involves reading and writing large amounts of data, as with 4K and 8K video editing. If being able to detach your storage quickly or take it with you is important, Intel-based workstations typically offer the option for add-in cards with one or more Thunderbolt 3 ports.
It pays to invest in a workstation that's more powerful than your current workload demands, so it will support your workflow in the long term. By contrast, mini desktops and all-in-one designs (with the workstation in the base or back of a monitor) can greatly limit your upgrade options down the line and tend not to be the most cost-effective investments.
The main concern with a GPU upgrade is whether the workstation's power supply can handle it. Nearly all workstations will have the types of ports you'd find on a normal desktop, including USB, video-out connectors, network connections, and audio jacks.
There's no such thing as a cheap macOS-based workstation, so you'll be looking at a Windows or Linux machine if you're spending less than the $5,000 starting price for Apple's sole standalone workstation model, the 2019 Mac Pro or the equally pricey iMac Pro (which starts at the same price). While Windows and macOS dominate mainstream desktops, it's common for workstation vendors to offer Linux installs or support.
Unlike macOS and Windows, most Linux distros won't require you to pay for an operating system license, and many powerful software tools are available, often at reduced or no cost. It's naturally more expensive, so save your cash with a regular Windows 10 Pro license unless you need them.
Windows and Linux workstations offer the widest latitude when it comes to choosing hardware. Also be mindful of any special hardware you need for your workflow, such as video-capture cards that may not be usable under certain operating systems.
Apple's Boot Camp software can be used to run Windows on a Mac, but there's no official way to do things the other way around. Business and enterprise workstation buyers should be conscious of their needs for remote-management support and general device security.
Intel tends to be the strongest on this front with its pro platform, which is readily available on its Core and Leon CPUs. This practice will vary with smaller vendors that may not offer separate support for consumer and business PCs.
Regardless of the vendor, new workstations will come with a limited warranty that covers hardware defects for at least a year. Adding accidental damage coverage should be done at discretion; it might be a negligible expense next to the cost of a tricked-out workstation.
The latter is almost always worthwhile, not only to minimize downtime but to save your workstation from the rigors of shipping if repairs are needed. All told, the total cost of any extended warranties and coverage generally shouldn't exceed 20 percent of the computer's price.
This is rarely a problem when buying an expensive workstation, as even top-tier warranty coverage shouldn't run more than a few hundred dollars. This ensures you can get a system configured to your specifications, with a clear line of communication for sales and after-sales support.
Start by choosing a software platform (macOS, Linux, or Windows) and then find a suitable model. You can also pinch pennies by going with a gaming-grade GeForce GTX or RTX GPU and using an Nvidia Studio driver, though there's no replacement for a professional GPU when it comes to compatibility and stability with creative apps, especially if you'll leave your workstation running around the clock crunching data or media.
While all programs can run on the Dalton Workstations, some that are equipped to only use a specific number of cores will not benefit from the dual processor. Dalton Workstations greatly benefit the user who runs multiple programs simultaneously.
For example, you are working in Premiere Pro, After Effects, and Photoshop and want to be able to easily hop between programs. With the DualXeonWorkstation, the total workload will be spread out over all the available cores, which makes each program run smoothly without any lag.
They also support high scale work, such as in simulation practices and engineering projects. They also have more cores per CPU than the typical computer, which makes them run faster and more smoothly than many other systems.
These builds are designed to help give you an idea of what kind of PC hardware you’ll need for building a great workhouse for powering you through intense applications such as photo editing, video editing, 3D modeling and more! Big box companies often markup their machines by thousands of dollars and get away with it because businesses and professionals are willing to pay for the extra cost.
However, if you’re willing to spend a couple of hours on a weekend building your own brand-new workstation, you can easily save thousands of dollars! Below you’ll find a list of what we think are the best, most recommended purpose built workstation PC computer builds out there sorted by budget.
Alright, so you’ve got a couple more bucks to spend, and you want to build a higher performance workstation. This setup is great for those who enjoy creating as a hobby and need something with upgrade potential that will last a couple of years or more.
Companies like these want $5,000+ for a PC that would suit your needs, and unfortunately while you’d be happy to blow $2,000, you’re not ready to drop $5,000. Those looking an entry level or mid range workstation will find that the graphics card is optional.
That said, those of you who purchase systems that don’t include integrated video or are looking to do some heavy video editing with applications that support workstation graphics such as Adobe Premiere or Sony Vegas along with those of you who work with 3D graphics or 3D modeling applications such as 3DS Max, Maya, POV Ray, etc., you may benefit from purchasing a workstation class graphics card. While it’s unfortunate that you have to pay 3x-4x more than a gaming graphics card, companies like Nvidia and AMD conveniently leave out 3D modeling optimized code in the drivers, so you pretty much have no choice but to purchase these workstation class graphics cards.
Similarly, many professional video editing applications will not recognize non- workstation grade graphics cards, which means if you want GPU acceleration on your videos, you’ll have to shell out the extra for a workstation class graphics card. We recently removed Intel this time around due to their current global shortage of CPUs.
To mitigate this issue, AMD has included more cores within each CPU to process data. Luckily some examples of applications that benefit greatly from multi-core processors include any sort of video editing and heavy multitasking.
The other major thing to consider when it comes to the Intel vs AMD debate is the potential for platform issues. Watch out for an even more stable platform as AMD continues to iron out bugs with every update.
Currently, all Intel’s higher end CPUs most appropriate for workstation use are out of stock. We’ll monitor inventory appropriately and reconsider adding Intel-based systems once their supply shortage is fixed.