Computer Graphics World

Edition 1 2018

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34 cgw | e d i t i o n 1 , 2 0 1 8 New insights on what end users think about, and how they use, workstations BY JON PEDDIE ot every user sees workstations the same way. That is the conclusion of an Intel-commissioned blind survey con- ducted by a third-party research firm to gain new workstation insights. The survey elicited more than 2,500 responses from end users, IT decision-makers (ITDMs), and managers at major organizations across the top workstation verticals. The research firm performed qualitative interviews with 34 major companies representing key worksta- tion segments: architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC); manufacturing; media and entertainment (M&E); health care; oil and gas; and financial services. Quantitative responses were received from 1,482 ITDMs and 1,046 business deci- sion-makers (BDMs) – 2,528 in total. An impressive sampling, indeed. Geographically, the responses broke down into 1,222 from North America, 695 from Europe, and 611 from Asia – a well-distribut- ed geographic sampling. The usage across key verticals and workloads of the most frequently used applications were fairly evenly distributed – about 300 in each cat- egory – and twice that for manufacturing, resulting in a good distribution representing the industry as a whole. Below we dig into key insights from the research. What Is a Workstation? The term "workstation" is commonly used in the industry, and most of the business deci- sion-makers also use the term "high-perfor- mance computers," which to them means a machine that can run multiple programs on multiple monitors. The technical decision-makers tend to describe a workstation more in terms of solving their needs, pointing out that a workstation should have hyper-threading, multi-core, and an abundance of memory. Or in terms of specifics: Animators need dual- socket Intel Xeon processors operat- ing at 3.5 ghz or higher, an Nvidia top-end add-in board (AIB), an SSD, and as much memory as you can afford – at least 128gb. The Value of Application Certification One of the distinguishing features of a workstation is the assurance that it will run the most frequently-used apps as they are designed, commonly referred to as "applica- tion certification." During the development process, workstation suppliers work closely with independent soware vendors (ISVs) to ensure that the application's special features and functionality are fully support- ed. ISVs such as Autodesk, Bentley, Siemens, PTC, and others work with the AIB suppliers n

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