The best professional workstations for any budget

After an extended period of unchallenged Intel dominance, recent years have seen successively more pugnacious possibilities from AMD. We’re now on the third generation of Ryzen and Ryzen Threadripper, and with each iteration the maximum core count has doubled. This month, we see the arrival of a single-socket workstation with a whopping 64 cores, in the form of the AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3990X

Although the top price in this roundup is £8,000 inc VAT, most manufacturers tend to plump for the more versatile 3970X with 32 cores. And for good reason, as this is a hugely capable CPU. The lower-end price of the machines in this list is around £3,000 inc VAT, which is still a decent amount of money for a powerful workstation.

AMD’s resurgence has now been so forceful that it’s now comparatively rare to see Intel-based workstations, even at the lower price. You’ll need to read on to see the detail of how they fare against the AMD alternatives, but we’re sure you’ll be as surprised as we are at the difference that a couple of years of concerted technological develop have made.

In particular, you can now enjoy 16 cores for £3,000 inc VAT or less, and if you opt for 32 cores you’ll get even better modelling ability and the processing power of a dedicated render node. So this is a great time to buy a workstation: it seems you truly can have it all in one system.

James Morris

Dr James Morris has worked as a technology journalist for over 25 years, including spending nine years on the staff of market-leading computer magazine PC Pro, the last five of which were as the publication’s editor. He specialises in enterprise-grade software and hardware, with a particular focus on content creation. He launched a pioneering video channel for in 2006 and ran the video reviews channel for for four years. He also runs a successful online digital content and commercial video production company, t-zero communications Ltd.

Dr Morris is a prolific technology writer and contributes commercial content for major IT brands including AMD, BlackBerry, Dell, Cognizant, HP, and IBM. He published a book on artificial intelligence, Can Computers Create Art? in 2009. He is also an academic, and is currently Pathway Director of the MA, Interactive Journalism at City, University of London.

Previously, he was course leader for the BA in Web Media Production at Ravensbourne University. He has a PhD in Philosophy, Art and Social Thought from the European Graduate School in Switzerland, a Master's in Media Arts from the New School in New York, USA, and a Bachelor's in Social Anthropology from the London School of Economics.

Dr. Morris can be found on Twitter at @Cyberwest, or emailed at