Part 2: The Ultimate Workstation
Yesterday we went over the construction of a high-end gaming PC. We didn’t go “all out” in terms of coming up with exotic arrays of hard drives, or turn to liquid cooling, but we did select some of the highest performing products on the market. FiringSquad normally only pulls me out of “retirement” for one of these system building articles, but today we’re raising the bar and going with back-to-back system build articles. So for today, we’re looking at the ultimate workstation.
What makes a workstation?
The definition of a workstation is somewhat unclear. If you do work on a desktop, does it become a workstation? If you put a workstation on your desk and play games on it, does it become a desktop? The answer is not clear and it is something that can be debated. One key difference appears to be the way in which customers approach a product and their goals. Workstation buyers typically think in terms of application-execute-units. That is, they’re not as interested in just having a fast computer, but are interested in how many layers of real-time high-definition video processing the CPU can do, the speed at which it processes RAW images, or how long a frame will take to render. Therefore, for our workstation, we need to define our goals.
In this “ultimate” workstation build, I want to build a system that can do the following three tasks very well:
1) Manipulate complex 3D models with high precision and high-interactivity
2) Edit and process digital photographs produced from high-end D-SLRs and digital medium format backs
3) Handle video compositing and high-definition transcoding with aplomb.
So with those goals in mind, let’s start our ultimate workstation build. As always, we start with the platform.