Re: I understand why they want to sell it
"While there is and will be a lucrative market for high end workstation class machines build from mostly server grade parts, it's always been a small market"
The market is probably small because of how it is priced. There are two ways to get a workstation that is built out of server components.
1) Buy a workstation made out of server components...expensive.
2) Buy a cheaper server with the same components as above and transplant them into a workstation chassis / motherboard...then yeet the server chassis, motherboard and PSUs onto eBay as "brand new spares"...nowhere near as expensive.
Weirdly, a workstation crafted out of server parts is usually significantly more expensive than just a server with similar components. You can save thousands buy semi-building your own. It's something I've done for donkies years to get a high performance machine for next to peanuts. I'll buy a last gen server, take out the CPU and RAM, get a decent workstation motherboard second hand, whack them in with a recent GPU and you're away...costs less than a high performance consumer machine, outperforms a high performance current gen consumer machine in a lot of tasks, the exception being gaming...but losing 10% on gaming for a 25-50% saving is worth it in my opinion...because you're still outperforming the mid range and only slightly losing out to the cutting edge.
Back in 2015-ish...I had to re-kit a department of devs and they wanted relatively high end workstations...when I costed it out, I discovered that if I got them the spec they wanted as workstations, it would cost around £11k a machine (yeah they were quite high end)...but if I bought a bunch of PowerEdge dual socket T series servers with the same CPUs in, and enough RAM to split, I could essentially build them workstations, that were arguably better than the pre-made ones for about half the price...yeah Dell wouldn't honour their warranty...but the manufacturer warranty for the CPUs and RAM etc still applied and of course the warranty applied to other hardware we bought, coming up.
So that is what we ended up doing. Bought a bunch of T series poweredge boxes, shucked the CPUs, RAM, network cards etc...bunged the shells on eBay (which fetched just under half of their full price)..and bought workstation motherboards (can't remember which ones, but they were very nice and relatively inexpensive), a bunch of coolers, a stack of NVME drives, high quality cases, some decent GPUs and power supplies and just built a load of workstations.
Weirdly, it worked out cheaper than buying the CPUs and RAM separately as well. Each workstation came in at about £5k each...even stranger still, we had one of the £11k workstations as a "borrow" to test it out..and we benched our frankenboxes against it...turns out, what we built actually outperformed it as well...it wasn't an earth shattering difference, but it was enough for us to raise eyebrows...it was about 8% faster...we think it's probably because server CPUs are binned differently, and the stuff that doesn't quite make the cut for servers goes in workstations...which only raised more eyebrows over the cost of a pre-built workstation.
So yeah, I suspect the workstation market is where it is because of the weird pricing. I'm sure in a business with relatively few people, the higher cost isn't that much of a problem...but when you're pushing mid-size and you need a bunch of them, it's a much trickier proposition.