Creative professional? Here's why you should consider a dedicated workstation

Lenovo P620 Workstation
(Image credit: Lenovo)

It’s an exciting time to be a creative professional. Seven of the top ten production budgets in history were spent on films released since 2015 – with larger budgets creating new possibilities for studios and creatives to invest in cutting edge technology that broadens their storytelling capabilities. 

The rapid rate of technological innovation in creative industries like film, tv and games production can be both exciting and daunting. To remain both relevant and competitive in a rapidly evolving industry, production houses often face with the difficult task in weighing up the level of investment and areas of technology to produce their best work. 

So what are your options when it comes to computer hardware for creatives, and what difference could a Workstation make to a studio that might otherwise invest in a high-end computer to do the hard work?

The workhorse of modern computing

Today, getting started in editing and production has never been easier. We have cameras in just about every mobile phone and editing software for beginners is easy to obtain and simple to use. Many of us have built our foundations on consumer devices. Whether it’s a personal laptop or a high-end gaming PC, it’s easy to assume that what got you started would continue to suffice in the long term… it was fine then, so why change now?

As Lenovo Workstation Business Development Manager Joachim Seilo so eloquently put it, if you are buying a high-end consumer computer for a workstation task: “It’s like you bought a sports car when what you needed was an 18-wheeler freight train.”

A workstation is a high-performance computer that is specially designed from the ground up to complete specific tasks. They come fully equipped with the right components that allows them to reach higher levels of performance than your standard PC and maintain them for longer periods of time. 

A typical high-end computer might be expected to manage heavy workloads in a series of peaks and troughs over an eight-hour period – imagine the periods of effort as work is completed during a typical day of editing. Whereas workstations are built, tried, and tested to handle heavier workloads and maintain a high level of performance for much larger periods of time – an important point when considering much more complex renders and multi-day tasks are required.

The kind of power users that require workstations include architects, engineers, scientists, geophysicists, graphic artists and especially visual effects and animation teams. These highly specialised professions commonly work around complex 3D rendering software – demanding a great deal of compute power. 

The impacts of not having the right device for a task could look like a failed export or render, a bug or error in the final exported project, or the productivity value with a task taking far too long to complete. 

Built for purpose and tested for performance

Lenovo P620 Workstation

(Image credit: Lenovo)

Part of the benefit of choosing a workstation is the high degree of customisation and configurability. Workstation specialists, like Joachim Seilo, specialise in taking the time to understand a customer’s needs before recommending the right configuration for the job.

Workstations often come with a higher level of assurance that they will be capable of running your chosen software. When it comes to Lenovo workstations, the devices are performance-tuned and certified by Independent Software Vendors (ISVs). ISV-certification means customers can verify that their most crucial applications will run reliably on their chosen hardware, providing optimal performance and a high-quality user experience.

In a professional environment, when reputation, employee, customer satisfaction and budgets are on the line, confidence in a device’s capability to complete the task at hand is critical.

Used by the biggest names in the business

The Bad Guys movie poster

(Image credit: DreamWorks / Universal Pictures)

With consumer demand for premium animated content at an all-time high, DreamWorks Animation recently looked to Lenovo’s Intelligent Devices Group to find innovative workstation solutions that could keep up with its ever-scaling ambitions, increasingly complex workflows and faster production timelines. Designed for high productivity, Lenovo workstations are engineered for power, performance and industry-leading reliability that allow artists to bring their creative ideas to life.

As a result, DreamWorks Animation recently selected Lenovo as their preferred workstation innovation partner to deliver the high-end power and performance needed to bring their next animation feature films to life, including the upcoming film The Bad Guys

As part of the multi-year agreement, DreamWorks Animation are using Lenovo’s high-performance ThinkStation and ThinkPad workstations across all departments at their studio, to help accelerate their most challenging workflows.

Who should consider a workstation?

Lenovo P620 Workstation

(Image credit: Lenovo)

Innovative tools and techniques like realtime visualisation of VFX, puppeteering of animated characters through motion and facial capture, virtual environments and virtual cameras are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to modern production techniques. The super users working in these fields are exactly who Lenovo workstations are built for. 

The requirements of a computer that is rendering a high-res film edit can be completely different from one that needs to render a 3D environment in real time for virtual camera – and as such, Workstations need to be configurable to meet differing needs and budgets.

Lenovo recently partnered with AMD to create the world’s first AMD Ryzen™ Threadripper™ PRO workstation, the ThinkStation P620 - AMD.

The latest AMD technology gives the ThinkStation P620 up to 64 cores and 128 threads – all from a single CPU. Simply put, other workstations would need at least two CPUs to accomplish what the ThinkStation P620 with AMD Ryzen™ Threadripper™ PRO can do with one.

Because it’s Lenovo-built, it comes from a pedigree of the most trusted brand in enterprise computing worldwide – meaning reliability and innovation with professional manageability and enterprise-class support are part of the package.

Taking the Lenovo ThinkStation P620 tower as an example, it is equipped with abundant storage and memory capacity, numerous expansion slots, and enterprise-class manageability and security features. The configurability and suitability of these machines for a range of working environments cannot be understated.

With NVIDIA® Quadro® graphics support, this broadly configurable workstation is equipped with up to two NVIDIA® Quadro RTX™ A6000 graphics cards or up to four NVIDIA® Quadro RTX™ A4000 graphics cards.

All of these options mean Workstations are configurable to each specific use case, with components able to be scaled up or down to meet the performance and budget requirements of a given customer.

If you run complex workloads and are considering an upgrade, consider learning more about the ThinkStation P620 - AMD, or contact Lenovo to speak with a Workstation manager to discuss your specific needs and perhaps build your own