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June 2018

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Page 31 of 43 30 POST JUNE 2018 WORKSTATIONS technical decision-makers showed a surprising interest in overclocking and running multiple monitors — especially since overclocking can run counter to reliability, the hallmark of a work- station. The business decision-makers' priori- ties were multiple screens, sufficient RAM and certification for their specific software programs. The managers from AEC firms had a high- er-than-average priority for multiple monitors and RAM, while the priorities from manufacturing decision-makers included overclocking and 3D capabilities. Meanwhile, the managers in the US and China placed a higher priority on CPUs and overclocking than the overall average. At JPR, we think overclocking may be a false positive and doubt if overclocking is really under- stood. The most that a CPU or GPU can be over- clocked is about three percent to five percent, but the impact on reliability due to heating is proba- bly 25 percent or higher. Bottom line, the ROI on overclocking is terrible. CPU and AIB: Function of the App It's probably not a surprise to learn that the respondents said the application determines how a processor impacts productivity — that the value of the CPU or AIB in a workstation depends greatly on the workloads and industry. After I/O, memory and AIB rank high with AEC firms due to the large graphics files that are created and constantly updated. The newest-gen- eration of high-end AIBs contain up to 24 gb of high-speed local RAM (GDDR5). The main system can house up to 2 tb of ECC RAM (DDR4). As astounding as those numbers sound, they aren't there for show; high-end users need all the local storage they can get because the 3D models are getting larger every day. The dream of all design- ers is to have the entire model in RAM, so they can move through it as fast as possible. The CPU is ranked at or near the top of the com- ponents for energy/oil and gas, healthcare/biotech, financial services and M&E due to complex compu- tations, rendering and creating 3D digital files. Geographically, China ranks the CPU as the most important component. In North America and Europe, the I/O and memory are most critical. Workstations have a lot of demands on them, and they meet those demands, which is why they are so popular. A workstation has to have a crazy amount of high-speed I/O, inside and out. Outside there are features such as DisplayPort, external SATA and USB-C. Inside, though, it has to have dozens of PCIe lines to support graphics AIBs (a high-end workstation can be equipped with up to four AIBs), high-speed SSD drives, Intel's new high-speed Octane memory, specialized com- munications and special I/O subsystems such as high-speed cameras. I/O is, and always has been, a moving target. The demands for more and fast- er I/O is one of the things that motivates a user to buy a new workstation. Future Trends The respondents to the survey indicated they were most interested in 4k and augmented reality for current workloads, and were testing virtual reality. M&E, manufacturing and construction expressed the most interest in VR, followed by energy/oil and gas, and architecture firms, which stated they are testing VR (from qualitative interviews). Technical decision-makers indicated more interest in VR than average, while business de- cision-makers expressed more interest in cloud CPU and mem is what CAD software uses, GPU is not used as much for CAD — TDM GPU and memory are key as we store a lot of images — BDM It is smarter to spend money on RAM than CPU — BDM The memory drives the speed, an improvement in the CPU does not impact performance as much — TDM The motherboard dictates workstation speed — TDM CPU is not as relevant with images; insu cient RAM can hurt performance — BDM Business and technical decision-maker respondents are confused about which component contributes to great and poor performance.

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