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Invest on a High Performing PC? Or a CADStation?

Can You Game on a Workstation?

Can I Use My Gaming PC as a Workstation?

When you taking the decision to make your workstation, you may have come up with these ideas and asking yourself "Since I'm about to invest a good amount on my workstation, should I build a cool Gaming PC? So I can use my Workstation for two different purposes."

Well... If you are a professional in the field, You may already know about a professional-grade product will always be built for a specific purpose.

When it comes to PCs, this means handling applications that are important to professionals who deal with production, content creation, and more.

Independent Software Vendors (ISVs), like Autodesk, Siemens, and Adobe, are crucial to the design and creation of such hardware.

ISV Cooperation

The manufacturers of professional-grade components work closely with ISVs, to ensure that their products (hardware and software) synergize with the ISV’s application. 

Because of this cooperation, professional components will often be certified by the ISV, ensuring compatibility and excellent performance.

If you ever need ISV support for a hardware component, then whether or not you receive it, will most likely depend on whether the parts you’re using are certified by them or not.


Ok now, Let's jump in and understand the differences between a Gaming PC and a Workstation.

Gaming PCs


Gaming graphics cards are designed for gaming apps. The high-end cards allow fast loading of games. Not specifically designed for executing professional or scientific workloads.

Workstation GPU cards are not designed to allow game graphics engines to directly access the card's hardware anywhere close to their full potential, or the game's requirements, and many games may even refuse to run due to compatibility issues.

There is no requirement for higher RAMs for running a gaming PC. 8GB or a slightly higher random access memory is highly sufficient for a gaming PC nowadays and can offer a smooth run of almost all of the PC games these days.

Work stations require random access memory of 128 GB or higher and ordinary work stations have a lower requirement of random access memory, mainly 32 or 64 GBs. There is another type of RAM used in workstations, called error-correcting code memory.

Developers write their codes on a game in a way that supports 4-6 cores which are easily available in consumer processors.

Most workstations used in the current world require a powerful CPU, mainly which are optimized for doing parallel processing and not for gaming.

Games generally don’t require PCs with a high number of cores which can be seen in a workstation. So, gaming PCs don’t need processors with a higher number of cores as there are no additional advantages and can make the PC highly expensive.

Can you use your CADStation for Gaming?

Playing games on workstation/professional Graphics card is okay, but do underperform as they're not intended to run game graphics.

Workstation cards are not designed to allow game graphics engines to directly access the card's hardware anywhere close to their full potential, or the game's requirements, and many games may even refuse to run due to compatibility issues.

Workstation cards are however designed to allow direct access by programs like Auto CAD or Quattrus for instance.

They do excel at 2D stuff, like taking a huge stack of a few hundred thousand sequenced high res images for a video clip, buffering them and allowing them to be shuttled through very rapidly backward and forward, while spooling in and out, more frames from an external inline buffer for example a quartet of striped SSD drives, without any hitches or data corruption - that's pretty much what Quattrus does, links high speed hard disks RAID arrays, RAM blocks, and display card memory, and converts everything via the display card's special electronics into an output signal compatible with an SDI enabled digital broadcast studio.

The memory is configured differently as well, because workstation cards do a different job. AFAIK the top end Nvidia Quadro cards are (were when I worked in TV broadcasting) available as ECC enabled, meaning the display memory was able to recover lost data by parity checking everything, much like a server's RAM if fitted with ECC memory.

Also, the drivers are usually different between for instance Nvidia Gforce and Quadro, the Quadro drivera are written and then tested quite extensively before release, because the cards are supposed to run reliably for days on end with their intended workload. Whereas gaming cards don't need to prioritize data integrity, they're all about as much speed and throughput as possible, while keeping pace with the latest game releases and their engine requirements.

If you lose a bit of data on someone's design project, or there's a problem with the overlayed captions being broadcast along with the Olympic 100m mens finals, it's a serious problem, particularly when that caption includes the main sponsor's logo.

Likewise if you lose some pixel data on an x-ray and the Radiologist misdiagnoses a pathology on a patient, the malpractice suits are potentially millions of dollars.

But if you lose some texture data on a frame in a game running at 60+ frames a second no one notices.

It's kind of like using a big 4x4 with offroad tyres to run the kids to school in the suburbs, or an Electeic Vehicle like a Honda E or a Fiat 500 E out in the boonies.

Both can do either job with varying degrees of success, but the EV is better in the urban environment and the 4x4 is better for the sticks 😅🇿🇦👍🏼

Jason Nicholas On Quora

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