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Workstation Vs. Desktop

Workstation Vs. Desktop

The aim of writing this comparison between desktops and workstation computers is to clarify the difference between these terminologies. Keep reading ahead to know all about it.
Omkar Phatak
When buying a computer, there is plenty of choice available, when it comes to features, ranging from the hardware to software. Thanks to new developments in computer hardware and cutting edge software development, now one can choose from notebook computers, desktop computers, workstations, and netbooks.

Workstation Vs. Desktop Computer Comparison

A workstation is also a desktop computer, but with a more advanced set of features. In recent times, with the advances in computer processor manufacturing technology, the difference between high-end and personal computers has rapidly narrowed down.

Basic Differences
While a desktop computer is designed to serve the needs of an average home user, the workstations are designed to handle a greater workload, with multiple user handling capability. The prime difference between the two is in terms of 'scale' and 'power' of usage, as well as specialization in applications.

There is no clear definition of what a workstation is and the term is often used quite generally. The key difference is the level of performance that the two types of machines are designed for.

Difference in Features and Applications
A workstation is designed to deliver workload for highly specialized applications like high level video editing, 3D game development, handling complex calculations for simulations in scientific field, and for handling multiple users. They are fitted with all the latest products in high-end computer hardware.

These computers are usually powered by the fastest and best processors in the market, with high-end video cards, greater RAM capacity, and are equipped with storage technologies based on RAID architecture. They may be server level machines, designed for intensive multitasking.

On the other hand, a desktop computer is equipped for all the generic level tasks, like word processing, gaming, and other such basic applications. The main point to note is that their features are not optimized for any specific purpose. However, a high-end desktop, equipped with top level features is as good as a workstation. High-end desktops are as good as the best workstations.

Cost Comparison
Since high-end workstation computers are designed with the most advanced of computer hardware components, their prices are considerably higher than entry-level desktop computers. The addition of each high-end computing hardware part, adds to the overall cost, pushing it higher and way beyond the price of an average desktop, which is around USD 500.

Manufacturers like Dell offer specialized workstation computers, that are optimized for high performance. As you can see, the line between the two types is quite blurred and hardware upgrade of a desktop computer can convert it into a workstation level PC.

Workstations are high-end computing machines, designed to serve multiple users, while desktops are designed for basic computing tasks. The latter are ideally suited for home users and workplaces with bare minimum computer usage, while the workstation is an inevitable choice, when it comes to high tech software development projects. I hope the difference between the two lines of computers is clear enough now, which should enable you to make a choice.