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workstation
Last modified: Thursday, March 13, 2003 

(1) A type of computer used for engineering applications (CAD/CAM), desktop publishing, software development, and other types of applications that require a moderate amount of computing power and relatively high quality graphics capabilities.

Workstations generally come with a large, high-resolution graphics screen, at least 64 MB (megabytes) of RAM, built-in network support, and a graphical user interface. Most workstations also have a mass storage device such as a disk drive, but a special type of workstation, called a diskless workstation, comes without a disk drive. The most common operating systems for workstations are UNIX and Windows NT.

In terms of computing power, workstations lie between personal computers and minicomputers, although the line is fuzzy on both ends. High-end personal computers are equivalent to low-end workstations. And high-end workstations are equivalent to minicomputers.

Like personal computers, most workstations are single-user computers. However, workstations are typically linked together to form a local-area network, although they can also be used as stand-alone systems.

(2) In networking, workstation refers to any computer connected to a local-area network. It could be a workstation or a personal computer.

Workstation also is spelled work station or work-station.

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related categories

Workstations

related terms

CAD/CAM

computer

DEC

desktop publishing

diskless workstation

graphics

JavaStation

local-area network

microcomputer

minicomputer

network computer

personal computer

SGI

SPARC

Sun Microsystems

UNIX


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