You likely have encountered the word “workstation” when shopping for a computer. Like most things in the computer world, the definition of a workstation is confusing, but there are some guidelines in place. Below, we will look at what a workstation is and whether you can game on them.
What is a Workstation?
A workstation is a computer intended to be used in professional settings. Workstations are built to handle computationally intensive and expensive tasks. A regular computer can be a workstation if used with the professional software intended to be used with workstations, but it will struggle with some tasks.
If you are looking for a computer that is more powerful than an average computer, you need a workstation.
A workstation is defined by its hardware and software. It will typically have more RAM than an average computer and this will be ECC memory to avoid errors. It will also have a more powerful CPU and graphics cards.
There are also hardware optimisations and selection decisions that help ensure no component bottlenecks the rest, so that the system is both balanced and incredibly powerful.
Hardware manufacturers also ensure workstation components are very resilient for prolonged use. These machines sit doing intensive tasks all the time and their hardware has to handle this level of stress for sustained periods and for years.
Gaming on a Workstation
You can game on a workstation; it is just a computer after all! You can even purchase a Lenovo gaming workstation for gaming and professional use. However, there is a massive catch. The graphics cards that are developed for workstation applications do not perform very well in gaming scenarios. If you look at the GeForce and Quadro cards from Nvidia, you will see that the GeForce cards meant for gaming and normal use beat most Quadro cards in gaming.
However, Quadro cards beat these consumer cards by huge margins when it comes to professional applications.
The Issue of Value
Your Quadro or other professional graphics card can run all the games that a consumer-grade graphics card will, but the issue of value comes up. These professional cards are typically very expensive, with some Quadro cards going for thousands of dollars. Granted, you will find some cheaper Quadro cards, but these perform even worse in gaming.
Given that these cards are very expensive and perform slightly worse in gaming, you can see they do not provide enough value to gamers.
If you have a computer that performs as a workstation first and a gaming computer second, these graphics cards are great value. However, there are almost no other scenarios they make sense to add to a computer.
Get the Right Computer
It is always best to buy a computer that is built for what you need. If you need a professional machine, get a workstation. For everything else, get a normal desktop. If you need a portable computer, get a laptop.
You can game on a workstation, but the experience will not be worth it. This is especially after you factor in the price of the hardware and how badly most professional graphics cards perform in gaming scenarios.