Global shipments of workstations fell nine per cent in the three months to the end of March, according to preliminary findings from researcher Gartner Dataquest.
Analysts at the firm said the drop is the first quarter-on-quarter decline it has seen since it began compiling figures on the market in 1996.
They also warned that the reduction could not simply be blamed on the slowing US economy, although that was undoubtedly a factor, but that it showed a market where low-end workstations were being replaced by high-end PCs.
Pia Rieppo, a principal analyst at Gartner Dataquest, commented: "Intel architecture workstations may now be reaching saturation, with some end users choosing high-end PCs over low-end workstations."
According to Rieppo, PC versus workstation differentiation is an ongoing struggle for system vendors.
It is made difficult by technology and price parity between high-end PCs and low-end workstations and changes in Intel product positioning, especially with respect to dual processor scalability and web pricing tools that allow end users to independently configure and compare systems.
Shahin Naftchi, a senior analyst at the firm, added: "The introduction of Windows 2000 makes it even harder to differentiate high-end PCs from uni-processor workstations."
The net result is a fall in workstation sales compared with the same period a year ago for Sun Microsystems (6.8 per cent), Hewlett Packard (35.3 per cent) Compaq (22.5 per cent) and minor vendors (31.6 per cent).
IBM managed an increase in sales of 3.2 per cent while Dell proved the only vendor capable of increasing shipments significantly, by 25 per cent, increasing its market share from 20.5 to 30.4 per cent, more than 11 points ahead of second placed vendor Sun at 19 per cent.
In third place is Hewlett Packard with a share of 15.2 per cent, with Compaq on 13.5 per cent, IBM on 11.5 per cent and minor vendors accounting for the remaining 10.5 per cent.
Finding refutes many earlier studies that suggest that galaxies don't have much dark matter at the time of their birth
Boris the robot outed as man in rented robot suit
Mission will provide vital data about the performance of rocket, spacecraft, autonomous docking system and the landing system
The flight will take off from California's Mojave Air and Space Port and could happen as soon as 13th December