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Workstations: Which Tier and/or which upgrades do you need for your workload?
02-24-2012, 04:12 PM, (This post was last modified: 02-24-2012, 06:29 PM by MathieuB.)
Workstations: Which Tier and/or which upgrades do you need for your workload?
Wondering which Tier and/or which upgrades do you need for your workstation, for your workload? This post is for you.

The following applications will have no trouble running on Tier 1 or 2 of the Entry-Level Workstations:

- Microsoft Office
- Microsoft Project and Office Pro
- Camtasia
- Sound Forge: Dedicated sound card recommended.
- Visual Studio / Rhino3D: Consider a RAID 10 array, an hybrid HDD/SSD or a SSD if you work with large files that read/write a lot to the disk. A basic video card (see Tier 2) will help speed up the UI and free the CPU from some tasks.
- Sage Timberline Office: Go with Windows 7 Professional or Ultimate; apparently the Home Premium edition will give you problems with networking.
- CorelDRAW Premium Suite X5: A basic video card (see Tier 2) is recommended for video editing.
- Bitcoin, GPGPU, F@H, SETI, GPUGRID, BOINC, etc.: These programs will run best on a powerful GPU, so get the most powerful video card that you can afford.

The following applications require upgrades:

The following apps will greatly benefit from additional CPU processing power, so I recommend upgrading the CPU to the Intel Core i7-2600 or simply go with Tier 3 or 4 of the Mainstream Workstations.

For even higher performance, consider the upcoming the High-End Workstations with two CPUs.

- Pinnacle Studio 12 and Sony Vegas 9/Pro: A dedicated video card is a must.
- Cinema 4D: A dedicated video card is a must and this is an application which scales very well when you add performance to your PC, meaning that the better that are your parts, the faster that your renderings will be completed.

I'd go with a Geforce GTX 560 1GB (Consumer video card) or a Quadro 2000 (Professional video card) as a baseline for great performance at a good price. I also recommend upgrading the CPU to a Core i7-2600 for improved performance. However, keep in mind that performance will benefit even more by going with a Mainstream Workstation.
- Nvidia CUDA: This requires a Nvidia video card.
- Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire 5.0 and Autocad programs: For Autocad programs, you'll want a professional level video card, such as AMD Firepro or Nvidia Quadro.

Running two or more applications simultaneously?

For two or more applications running simultaneously, you'll want to upgrade to Tier 3-4 for better performance.

However, keep in mind that if do work on both applications at the same time (i.e. you let one app do its work in the background while you work on another app), this will most likely cause slowdowns, even with the i7-2600.

If your budget allows it, I recommend going with a Mainstream Workstation or better yet, a High-End Workstation to handle several applications at once for optimal performance.

Adobe Applications:
Creative Suite 5 Master Collection, Photoshop, Premiere Pro, After Effects, Lightroom, Illustator, Indesign, Bridge, Bibble, Flash, Dreamweaver, etc.

There are a lot of people out there who use those applications, in various ways. If anything, you're the one who's using your workstation and who knows the best how demanding (or not) your work is.

For example, working with very large images (High-MP RAW, 16-bit, Hundred of MBs or several GBs each) is obviously much more demanding than working with smaller pictures (10-15MBs each from an entry-level DSLR for example). I say pictures here, but this also applies in the same way to video, 3D, audio, designing, modeling, etc.

An Mainstream Workstation, with Tier 3 or 4 hardware, will handle one or two Adobe applications at once, will be capable on handling a moderate amount of work with a lot of small files, a moderate amount of medium files and some large files, how many depending on the files size and what exactly you do with them, at an acceptable level of performance.

For example, with Photoshop, expect Tier 2 to be capable of handling up to sixty small (10-15MB + Editing) files or 10-15 (50-75MB + Editing) medium files at once or so before your PC will start slowing down. Upgrading to a Mainstream Workstation will help you handle even more files.

Several Adobe apps (i.e Premiere Pro CS5, After Effects and Photoshop) support Nvidia CUDA hardware acceleration; consider a Nvidia Geforce or Quadro Video Card to improve performance.

If you're starting out as a semi-pro photographer and an entry-level DSLR, these Workstations will suit your needs, at a low-cost. However, if you're a pro photographer who works with a high-MP camera, with RAW, HDR, 16-bit pictures and the like, I invite you to look into the upcoming Mainstream Workstations instead. Once again, I'm using pictures/photographers as an example, but this applies to other professionals using Adobe applications too.

Do you need clarifications or are you using other programs?

Are you using another program that you'd like to know if it would run well on an Entry-level Workstations or would require upgrades or a more powerful Workstation? Do you need clarifications regarding what hardware would be best for your needs?

Simply post a forum thread in the Computer Building -> Questions forums, mention your typical workload and what kind of workload you'd like to be capable of handling now and in the future and we'll help you figure it out.
Laptop: MSI GS30 Shadow-045 Dimensions: 12.6" x 8.9" x 0.8" 2.65lbs CPU: Intel Core i7-4870HQ Quad-Core + Hyper-Threading OC 2.5-3.9GHz RAM: 16GB DDR3 1600MHz Video Card: Intel Iris Pro 5200 Storage: 2x128GB SDD RAID0 Audio: ASUS Xonar U3 USB Sound Card + Audio-Technica ATH-M50 headphones Screen: 13.3" - 1920 x 1080 IPS + 27" Dell P2715Q IPS 3840 x 2160 Keyboard: Filco Majestouch MX Cherry Blue Mouse: Logitech MX518
09-12-2013, 05:17 PM,
RE: Workstations: Which Tier and/or which upgrades do you need for your workload?
What do you mean by "upcoming mainstream workstations"?

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