How to Choose the Right Workstation
If you are in the market for a new PC workstation, it can feel a bit overwhelming. It is not just that there are a lot of choices. It is also that there are multiple components, each with their own set of options. The total number of possible configurations starts to grow exponentially. Most business owners are just looking for the best investment for their business. So, where do you start? Let’s look at some of the different components and what to look for to get the best workstation for your business.
Performance vs. Price
When purchasing a PC workstation, you will need to weigh the level of performance vs. the cost of the machine. At some level, you want to get the most powerful computer you can, but there are limits. Yes, you can purchase a $30,000 workstation. But, unless you are doing professional 8K video production or virtual reality, you probably won’t benefit from all that extra power. The best solution is one that has plenty of power to run your applications as efficiently as possible now, and for the life of the machine.
The processor or CPU (Central Processing Unit) is the foundation of your workstation experience. As processors have become more complex, the related terminology has become more confusing. Each processor description consists of several words and numbers. Most options include the manufacturer, model, CPU frequency (speed), and the number of cores. The most important parts of that, in terms of performance, are the CPU frequency (speed) and the number of cores.
The frequency or speed of a processor is simply how fast the CPU operates. So, for the most part, faster is better. Cores are processors within the processor. While the frequency shows the speed at which the processor can handle tasks, the number of cores show how many tasks the processor can handle at once. In terms of performance vs. price, both increased frequency and a larger number of cores can improve the performance of your workstation. As far as the trade-off of speed vs. the number of cores, it will depend on your machine’s primary use.
The GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) is a special chip that creates the image you see on your screen. In basic-level workstations, the GPU may be of the system’s main motherboard near the CPU. On more advanced systems, especially those designed for video-intensive tasks like high-resolution video and 3D rendering, the GPU may be part of a stand-alone graphics card. As with the processor, the GPU you need will depend on the main use of the computer.
RAM or Random Access Memory is where the workstation temporarily stores data related to the programs you are currently running. This is the memory that, unlike disk storage, is erased when you shut down or reboot your computer. How much RAM you need really depends upon how you will be using the machine. Some more advanced software requires more memory. Multi-tasking is also very RAM intensive. So, if the computer will often need to run multiple programs at once, increasing RAM will improve performance.
The final piece of the configuration puzzle is storage. There are two things to consider regarding storage, the amount and the type. There are two types of storage now available, HDD and SSD. HDD is an acronym for hard disk drive and is the more traditional, mechanical disk storage unit. SSD stands for solid state drive and is based on a non-mechanical flash-based memory. Currently, the older HDD technology is far less expensive than the newer SSD. However, the new SSD drives have much faster access times significantly improving the overall performance of a PC workstation.
Choosing the Right Options
As you can see, there is a lot to think about when purchasing a PC workstation. This post lays out some of the critical things to consider, but if you need some guidance in sorting through all of the options and configuration, NerdIT is here to help. NerdIT doesn’t just sell computers, we help Buffalo businesses create innovative solutions and make informed choices to improve workflow and customer experiences. Don’t go it alone, let us help you make the right choices for your business.