TIBURON, CA—October 29, 2004—“The workstation
platform is alive and well, though today it bears little resemblance
to the expensive, proprietary machines that used to dominate the industry,”
said Jon Peddie Research (JPR), a leading research and consulting firm
for graphics and multimedia, in a report released this month. According
to JPR, “Most workstations shipped today have more in common with
desktop PCs than the costly, RISC/Unix machines of old,” indicating
inevitable loss of revenue for traditional workstation vendors as advanced
PCs meet demands of typical workstation users.
The JPR Workstation Report: Professional Computing Markets and Technologies
is a semi-annual report that explores and analyzes the technology and
market forces shaping today’s workstations. With in-depth attention
to the major vendors driving the workstation platform, as well as a
detailed sizing of the marketplace for both workstations and professional
graphics hardware, the JPR Workstation Report provides the broadest
in-depth assessment of the workstation industry today.
“The technology used to build workstations has changed dramatically
in the last five to ten years,” said Alex Herrera, author and senior
analyst at Jon Peddie Research. “But the demands of professional applications
and users have not. What continues to set a workstation apart from other
machines like desktop PCs are incremental hardware and software features
that promise the professional user better performance, throughput and
reliability with their one or two critical applications,” Herrera concluded.
Jon Peddie Research estimates that nearly 830,000 workstations were
shipped in the first half of calendar 2004, accounting for roughly $2.2
billion (USD) in worldwide revenue. Of that, the PC-Derived Workstation,
a machine that leverages technologies derived from—though not necessarily
identical to—the high-volume PC platform, accounted for roughly
92% of units and 84% of revenue.
In stark contrast, the Traditional Proprietary Workstation marketed
by vendors Sun, HP, IBM, and SGI once dominated the landscape, but today
continues to lose ground to PC-Derived Workstations, due to the latter’s
pronounced competitive advantage in price and price/performance, continuing
acceptance of Windows in professional markets, and Linux’s continued
emergence as a viable alternative to not only Windows but proprietary
Unix as well.
Professional graphics hardware is one of the key differentiators for
the workstation platform. IHVs such as Nvidia, ATI, 3Dlabs, and Matrox
shipped approximately 1.1 million units of professional graphics Add-in
Boards (AIBs) in the first half of 2004, accounting for roughly $415
million (USD) in revenue.