We throw the word workstation around fairly regularly because, when you’re talking about high-end hardware, it’s easy to think of the PC sitting on your desk as a true brute. But there’s a more traditional definition that puts technology used for engineering, graphics/audio/video production, and medical tasks on a higher level than standard desktop hardware.
Value-oriented enthusiasts will look at Xeon 3000-series CPUs and Quadro FX graphics cards and astutely note that the technology at the heart of both “workstation-class” offerings comes from the desktop market. They’re right, too. Intel knows this, and prices its 1P Xeons at comparable levels to its Core 2 Quad lineup. Nvidia knows this too, but justifies the higher cost of its professional graphics cards with driver packages developed specifically for those boards. They include optimizations for professional applications and certifications guaranteeing interoperability with the most prolific software titles in that space. After all, when it comes to modeling an aircraft in CAD, there’s no room for “oops, that’s not what I saw on my screen.”
And so, while you might think you’ve already built yourself the ultimate Core i7-based gaming workstation, the folks at Supermicro would likely disagree, unless your rig centers on its SuperWorkstation 5046A-XB platform.
First seen at this year’s CES, the SuperWorkstation includes everything you’d expect from a conventional barebones package: a massive (yet svelte) steel chassis, one of Supermicro’s own motherboards, and a Supermicro-branded power supply. There’s more to the setup than just these three components, though. So, if your needs extend out and around the high-end overclocking or slimmed-down value segments that X58-based boards seem to be getting grouped into, this pure business build will likely give you something to get excited about.
Check prices for Supermicro's 5046A-XB