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Server and/or PC - What's the difference?

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  • Server and/or PC - What's the difference?

    I hear regularly in forums and tech articles references to "servers" as opposed to "P.C's"

    Are there significant differences between these two descriptions and , if there are , what are the differences ?

  • #2
    Re: Server and/or PC - What's the difference?

    there are many differences in both software and hardware respects when comparing servers to desktop pcs...

    servers are defined as a device that performs services for connected clients. the applications are designed to run for extended periods with little to no user intervention, like exchange or sql.
    you will find that servers have heavy-duty parts like fans and heat sinks, with redundant power supplies and other redundant parts to manage a fail-over. they also will employ large amounts of RAM and larger CPU caches to accomadate constant IO activity.

    servers support x64 pci ports... some desktops do to, but for the sake of discussion. also servers typically use registered ECC RAM (buffered RAM) which actually increase latency, but improves reliability for high data transfers. its hard to say this as black and white, because you can find these features on either platform.

    the power management defaults are different for server OS, with the power scheme being set to "always on" and hibernation disabled. sometimes you also have additional nag messages in servers to prevent accidental power offs instead of restarts or user error.. 'are you sure'? at least thats how i see it... like shutting down 2003... having to pick the reason your restarting. i just suppose its to make you aware of what your doin...
    the memory allocation is set to back ground services in servers, to provide a more stable enviro for a larger number of users, instead of program allocated memory in desktops.

    desktop PCs will have specialized parts and features to accommodate the faster bandwidths required for intense applications like video games and CAD. you dont see servers with dual SLI PEG risers, 32 bit sound cards (not normally).

    desktop PCs running desktop OSes like XP dont support a concurrent user environment like server OSes. one user, one session... you can modify that behavior, but by default one at a time...

    take a look here for a more detailed look at the differences:

    in most cases, a well designed desktop can be suited to the role of a server. its not so much the other way around...

    youll have to combine a few answers to reach a conclusion for yourself.
    Last edited by James Haynes; 1st January 2008, 03:53. Reason: purely asthetical.
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    • #3
      Re: Server and/or PC - What's the difference?

      Thanks , James.

      That's the fullest explanation I've ever had on that subject.

      I'll have a look at the Wikipedia article you mentioned.

      Much obliged.


      • #4
        Re: Server and/or PC - What's the difference?

        Don't forget you can have a desktop being used as a "server" due to the application that is being run on the desktop, usually a database type app that has 10 or less connections.
        Joined: 23rd December 2003
        Departed: 23rd December 2015