Server vs Desktop

    The dedicated server market is full of offers.
    Everything from micro-machines based on Atom, desktop Core2 and Athlon, and ending with servers on Xeon with 2 or more heads, dozens of GB of RAM and SAS drives.

    The websites of hosting providers are full of Xeon and Opteron labels.
    Customers argue who has a cooler processor and measures the length of the disk loop.

    Only few people know the difference between server and desktop platforms and technologies.
    I will tell you about this difference in my article.


    I’ll immediately warn you that I don’t feel any sympathy for any of the manufacturers.
    I choose processors, like the rest of the iron, after tests and price comparisons in order to get the coveted price / quality formula.
    For convenience, I will use the names of the processor manufacturer Intel, they are familiar and understandable to the vast majority.
    Therefore, I immediately apologize to fans of AMD products.

    The article does not purport to cover all technologies.
    We build on the consumer line of servers based on Xeon and Opteron.

    Folk wisdom

    There are various rumors among the people that server processors are unattainable for mere mortals and provide sky-high performance.
    On the iron forums you can see a huge number of topics with the headings "What is better than Xeon **** or Core ****".
    Often at the mention of SCSI and SAS they sigh sadly.

    So why is everyone so eager to cling to these super technologies? Is there a need for this?

    Processors and motherboards

    In fact, server processors are almost exact copies of their desktop counterparts.
    In the production of server processors, the same technologies and equipment are used as for desktop ones.

    Very often you can get a processor labeled Xeon, which is an exact copy of Core, but 1.5-2 times more expensive.
    What is the secret?

    The secret is simple:
    In the production of Xeon, more stringent quality control is carried out, more products are rejected.
    Hence the price.

    Motherboards of the server segment differ in form factor in order to fit specific cases and the availability of quick replacement of components.
    Most manufacturers of server hardware make specific motherboards for specific cases to optimize the occupied space and blow components.

    Also, many server motherboards have remote power management modules, consoles, etc.
    And of course, they will not have built-in 7.1 audio and game orientation.


    Everyone knows that SAS is a protocol for server disk systems.
    But not everyone knows that in the first edition, SAS and SATA were identical.

    Later, the developers of the standard considered that it does not make sense to include all the features of SAS on desktops, and SATA became a stripped-down version of SAS.
    And this is not bad, why pay for what you do not use?

    The first SSDs were focused specifically on the server segment, now anyone who wants it can afford high-speed drives on their own lumberjack for 200-400 USD.


    Sometimes manufacturers, to the delight of the server segment, begin to use the latest technology a little earlier than in the desktop sector.
    If these technologies become interesting to home users, they quickly flow to desktop machines.

    Almost all technologies have analogues in both segments.

    No need to crave the server processor in order to play your favorite game, it is easier to buy its analogue at a lower price.
    This is of course less cool, but it corresponds to common sense. :)

    Related links:
    Recently laid out comparison of processors , SAS and SATA , SAS versus SATA: does a personal cow need a server saddle? .

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