Difference between workstation and desktop
Workstation vs desktop:
In an age where information technology governs our day to day life, the need of a computer is felt rather severely. For satisfying this need, various instruments such as workstations and desktops have been introduced to help make our lives much easier. However, these two terms are almost always interchangeably used, perhaps due to the fact that in a place such as an office or a work place, both these appliances are used on an everyday basis. However, workstations and desktops possess their own advantages and disadvantages as well as their many uses which set them apart.
A workstation can be described as a microcomputer which is designed in order for technical or scientific applications to be run. It is generally connected to a local area network and is capable of running multi-user operating systems. Workstations are mainly used for industrial-strength computing as their strengths of number-crunching and tremendous speed allows the users to achieve various tasks in a short amount of time. Some brands which dominate the workstation market can be stated as Dell and HP which sell Microsoft Windows/Linux running on Intel Xeon/AMD Opteron. Alternative UNIX based platforms are provided by Apple Inc as well.
A desktop computer can be stated as a personal computer which is intended for regular use at a single location. It is thus referred to as a ‘desktop’ because it is capable of fitting on to a desktop and be easily operated. It can be customized for various specific roles such as gaming, word processing, as a media center and other purposes that the owner of the desktop constantly engages in. Many operating systems can be used on a desktop. Some of the most popularly used ones are Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux.
What is the difference between desktop and workstation?
There are many differences that exist between a desktop and a workstation. For starters, a workstation is ideal for a workplace or an office whereas desktops are used by private individuals. A desktop possesses incredible disk speed which surpasses that of a desktop. Also, the difference between a desktop and a workstation can very well be distinguished by the types and amounts of components that have been installed in it. Usually, a workstation has a bigger and a more extended role to play than that of an ordinary workstation.
Desktops are all about flexibility as it is usually customized according to the whims, fancies and needs of the owner while a workstation tends to be mostly job specific. Desktops also feature a large number of accessories which depend upon the discretion of the owner whereas workstations tend to feature accessories which pertain to the job. On the other hand, a workstation features significant quantities of synchronous dynamic RAM, support for high-end graphics cards, a large number of slots (4 or more) to support network connectivity cards, advanced video cards, several ports such as USB, serial, and parallel with the aim of connecting scanners, monitors, and other peripherals to the workstation. However, most of these features cannot be seen on a desktop. A workstation also features components that are highly priced and therefore, a workstation tends to be much more expensive than a desktop.
Speaking of special features, a workstation requires a mainstream ISV Certification whereas a desktop does not require such a certification. An ISV certification minimizes system downtime and because of the above mentioned factor, no compatibility issue arises and the system will be specially tuned for all sorts of applications. Also, while a workstation possesses professional graphics card and an open GL 3D card, a desktop possesses consumer graphics and no open GL 3D card. An openGL support is deemed as essential for most professional 3D creation, which provides hardware acceleration, optimized driver and certification, all of which are available in the workstation whereas these components are not available in a desktop. A workstation also has an ECC memory which is deemed as much more reliable and is critical for workstation- class data whereas a desktop possesses a non ECC memory. A workstation also has SCSI HDD or RAID which provides fast and reliable storage; improved performance and data security whereas a desktop does not possess such features. Another factor which separates the two machines is that while a workstation possesses an Intel 875P or E7505 chipset which delivers power needed for workstation applications, a desktop only possesses an Intel 865G chipset or below which is much lower in efficiency than that of a workstation.
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