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newb.
01-03-2007, 03:28 AM
just a quick question, am i correct in saying that a workstation is a desktop computer? from wikipedia i seem to be right. i got confused when looking at alienware's website. they have a list of "workstations" and a list of "desktop computers" :S

thanks in advance

drcspy
01-03-2007, 03:34 AM
a 'workstation' may have different specs to a 'desktop' alothoug look similar it may largely work using files and apps stored on a non local server instead of using it's own installed apps etc

JJJJJ
01-03-2007, 04:17 AM
I've been wondering the same thing myself.
What is the difference between a PC, a workstation, and a server.

And why is a server so much dearer when they seem to be lower spect than a workstation?

winmacguy
01-03-2007, 05:56 AM
My understanding would be that a workstation could be a thin client PC or computer that is designed for fairly high end work (as opposed to gaming) that is able to log into a server whereby the "thin client" only contains the OS and doesn't run any apps. The server such as a rack mounted Dell/Sun/Unix/Linux/Xserver/Windows is designed to host multiple(100+) users at any one time and is maitained by a server admin in a centrally located heavily air cond room (in the case of a large office). The server is also the hub of the network.

pctek
01-03-2007, 07:44 AM
What is the difference between a PC, a workstation, and a server.

And why is a server so much dearer when they seem to be lower spect than a workstation?

PC = home use.
Workstation = business use, for the staff
Server = the thing workstations connect to, or the thing you download your mail from for instance.

Servers generally aren't lower specced than workstations. They normally have huge hard drives to hold all the files and stacks of RAM.

Graphics and so on are normally completely boring though. Then again same with workstations.

CYaBro
01-03-2007, 07:52 AM
My understanding of a 'Workstation' is a high end PC used for CAD / graphic design / desktop publishing etc.
They usually have an Nvidia Quadro graphics card, at least 2GB RAM and a server CPU like AMD Opteron or Intel Xeon.

Murray P
01-03-2007, 11:20 AM
My understanding of a 'Workstation' is a high end PC used for CAD / graphic design / desktop publishing etc.
They usually have an Nvidia Quadro graphics card, at least 2GB RAM and a server CPU like AMD Opteron or Intel Xeon.

That's my understanding too, def not a low spec business type machine or thin client, but quite often on a network to take advantage of other resources for high end graphics, engineering and design work.

Generally you'd expect to see specialised programmes (CAD, number crunching, real time engineering design graphics), heaps of RAM and specialise graphics like Gfx cards. Case in point - nVidia Quadro Workstations. (http://www.nvidia.com/page/workstation.html)

pctek
01-03-2007, 12:19 PM
Yes.
And no.

https://www.cs.auckland.ac.nz/administration/handbook/ugrad/UG.CSCL.html

Stage I Laboratory

The stage I computer laboratory provides 83 workstations for student use; all are Pentium III workstations.

All depends on the companies definition.

Pete O'Neil
01-03-2007, 12:24 PM
It a lot of cases servers are more expensive that an equivalently spec'd desktop because they have a lot of redundancy built in to them. RAID arrays are very common, along with back up power supplies, I've even heard of backup ram.

These are all used in case a piece of hardware in the system fails, the backup hardware will immediately take over and kick in removing any down time that is normally associated with hardware failure.

Also in some cases brand new top of the line hardware isn't used in servers because it doesn't have a history. Nobody knows how it will perform, thus making it too risky. Company's can lose a lot of money if their server even goes down for just a couple of hours.

This is why many manufacturers will wait for hardware to mature before adopting it. This is the very reason it took so long for AMD to get established with its Opterons, and why we're only now seeing SATA being implemented in server environments.

Enigmur
01-03-2007, 01:44 PM
Workstations are probably less high spec than a desktop usually.

But it all matters on what they are used for.

A work station is aimed at work based computers, and a desktop is more aimed at home users.

So if you are looking at pre-built PC's, a workstation is likely to have sufficient rescources for work related things - email, internet browsing, basic accounts ect.

There is obviously a step up for if the workstation is used somewhere like in graphic design, in which case it would have more RAM, a video card, and a faster CPU.

Now desktops are going to be more aimed at consumers. Basically getting all you can for a price. Also may include things like LED fans, and fancy cases. Also all the bells and whistles for playing games and other heavy applications.

You could buy a low end Desktop, and it could be slower than a workstation.

Im sure most of their Desktops will be more aimed at gaming, and programs like photoshop. So will probably include a video card, where a workstation would probably sufficiently work of integrated graphics. Desktops will probably have more RAM, and maybe a bigger hard drive due to PC users storing a lot of files.

Now servers are something totally different. They are more used for 'serving' other PC's, not the end user.
This means that they are doing the work of finding files, running programs, sending emails, loading web sites ect.
They usually have a lot of RAM 4-8GB, Dual processors (or now dual core instead) and a lot of storage, especially if they are used in an environment where a lot of end users will be saving data on them.
They can also be set up with RAID arrays, or backup systems to ensure that data doesn't get lost as easily if a disaster happens. This requires a lot of Hard drives and space.

So in the end, it's quite simple. Workstations are more of a buisiness PC, desktops are more of a home PC - but what is actually in them is up the the store.

Murray P
01-03-2007, 02:58 PM
Seems it does cut either way if you go by this google search (http://www.google.co.nz/search?hl=en&q=define%3A+workstation&btnG=Google+Search&meta=).

We can probably quite safely blame the marketing droids for blurring the distinction between a low end thin client slave and high end work PC. Though they both may be housed in a "workstation" meaning a top with a cable hole, sides and perhaps some drawers.

plod
01-03-2007, 03:50 PM
If it uses an intel xeon it has to be classified as a work station.
The mac pro's are and so are the equivelent dells

winmacguy
01-03-2007, 03:58 PM
Depending on the server setup and software licensing agreements per user there can be a lot of price variation between vendors. Not all server setups are expensive. Also different computer manufactures have hardware that is ideally suited to certain tasks which can be set up for a fairly reasonable price.

winmacguy
01-03-2007, 04:31 PM
Graphics and so on are normally completely boring though. Then again same with workstations.
Graphics might be "boring" but for a lot of designers out there they pay the bills and the mortgage each week.

TGoddard
01-03-2007, 06:36 PM
A workstation is any computer mainly used for business purposes. A desktop is a computer which is used primarily by individual users but is largely immovable. A server is used primarily to provide support services for a network (e.g. web server, email server, file server, database server etc). The lines are blurry.

Servers tend to be the most expensive because they use faster, more reliable or simply uncommon technologies (e.g. high speed SCSI hard drives, error correcting RAM, removable hard drives). They also lack some of the economy of scale of desktop manufacturing.

Metla
01-03-2007, 06:45 PM
Heh, why even try and define a term that has be whored around by marketing "teams"?:badpc::badpc:

Next should we debate the difference between a laptop and a notebook?:lol::lol:

CYaBro
01-03-2007, 08:23 PM
Next should we debate the difference between a laptop and a notebook?:lol::lol:

I wouldn't use one on my lap anymore after seeing what some of them have done lately with the dodgey batteries! :eek: :eek: :eek:

Metla
01-03-2007, 09:35 PM
I just invented the bellybook,

Metla
01-03-2007, 09:39 PM
arrrrrrrgggghhhhhhh...It burns it burns, and I think my belly hair has been snared by the intake fan on my bellybook, oh my god, the pain, the pain.

Metla
01-03-2007, 09:45 PM
Right, I just invented the footstation.....