While workstations have never been more attractive from a pricing perspective, resistance to buying them has always been high in IT organizations that tend to standardize on a particular desktop system.
But this week’s launch of a slew of workstations based on the latest processors from Intel is going to be even harder to resist at price points that start at under $1,400.
New additions to the HP workstation lineup include a new ZBook mobile Ultrabook workstation based on 4th Generation Intel Haswell dual- and quad-core processors and new graphics processor options from NVIDIA and Advanced Micro Devices.
According to Jim Zafarana, vice president and general manager of HP’s Commercial Solutions Business Unit, workstations these days appeal not only to engineers, they are also sought after by companies that need highly durable mobile systems and analysts working with advanced applications.
To serve the needs of users who require a mobile workstation, HP unveiled HP Z420, Z620 and Z820 Workstations based on the new Intel Xeon E5-1600v2 and E5-2600v2 families of Ivy Bridge processors. Those systems come with memory that is 16 percent faster and support for the second-generation of the Intel Thunderbolt controller, which provides bi-directional 10GBps I/O performance via a single port.
The fact is, says Zafarana, when it comes to desktop system,s one size simply does not fit all. With workstation pricing coming down, Zafarana says end users have been forcing the issue with internal IT organizations that would prefer to have to support only one kind of system.
Of course, the line between a desktop and workstation continues to blur as high-end desktops become even more powerful. Zafarana says that as many as a quarter of the desktop PCs currently deployed are running applications that would be better served by a workstation that provides integrated graphics, error correction capabilities and much better I/O performance than a desktop PC.
That’s a significant issue, says Zafarana, because in a lot of instances, high-salary professionals are standing around waiting for an application to render something on an underpowered PC system. As a result, Zafarana says IT organizations need to make sure they understand that the real business value of a workstation goes well beyond the total cost of ownership of the desktop environment.
Ultimately, IT organizations will need to manage the life cycle of a workstation through multiple end user,s because not every end user needs to the same class of workstation. As the cost of acquiring those workstations continues to drop, it will make financial sense to provide more users with a workstation than your average high-end desktop PC.