Let’s face it. Today’s data-intensive business environments are taxing the IT capabilities of companies of all sizes. Still, your customers don’t want to invest in computing systems they don’t need. So how do they know when it’s time to invest in a high-performance workstation to replace the computers that currently sit on their employees’ desks?
To help answer this question, let’s look at the primary differences between high-performance workstations and standard desktop computers:
- Performance. A standard desktop computer has enough power to do standard tasks like email, web surfing, word processing and spreadsheets. But a high-performance workstation has the power and graphic capabilities to handle CAD, animation, data analysis, computer simulation and photorealistic rendering, as well as video and audio creation and editing.
- Expandability. Many desktop systems today come with their GPU (graphics processing unit), hard drive controllers and network interfaces built into the motherboard. There may not be the room or the connections available to add an additional hard drive or a better graphics card. High-performance workstations, on the other hand, are designed from the ground up to make it easy to add or swap hard drives, increase RAM, replace a graphics card or add additional graphics cards to support multiple displays.
- Feature set. High-performance systems typically offer:
- ECC RAM. Error-correcting code memory makes a system more reliable. It fixes memory errors before they can cause crashes, saving downtime.
- Multiple processor cores. More of them means more processing abilities.
- RAID (redundant array of independent disks). RAID uses multiple internal hard drives to store and process data. There are different types of RAID systems. Depending on the type of system, you can get multiple drives processing your data, or you can get mirrored drives, meaning that if one drive fails the other will still function.
- SSD. Solid state drives work differently than conventional hard-disk drives. Since there are no moving parts, there’s less chance of a physical failure. Solid state drives are also faster. The downside is that they’re more expensive and have a smaller storage capacity than “regular” drives.
- Optimized GPU. All computers need to output to a screen. Having a higher-end GPU means the CPU will have to do less work processing the screen output. In some cases, the GPU can actually take over some of the load from the CPU, making everything faster. The downside is that high-end GPUs are expensive.
- Durability. Generally, the internal workings of a workstation are engineered to a higher standard than those of a PC because they need to be pushed a lot harder all day long—performing advanced applications like database analysis and product simulation.
- Cost. You expect to pay more for high-end machines because you get a lot more in terms of features and functionality. But in the case of HP Z Workstations, you pay just slightly more than you would for a PC, but you get a system that’s certified for the software you use all day, every day.
When’s the right time to transition?
How do you help your customers decide whether it’s time to move up to high-performance workstations? Asking them some fundamental questions is an excellent start:
- Are their business needs being met by their current systems?
- Is their current technology giving them the performance they need to make critical decisions in real time?
- Do their systems need to work in a 24/7 environment—or just during standard business hours?
- How business-critical are the applications the systems perform?
- How costly is downtime to their organization?
Migrating to high-performance workstations may be an important next step to help them achieve long-term growth. Check out the Resource Center for additional information.