What is the difference in hardware between a PC and a server?

Sam Dizney September 13, 2011

I want to build a server from parts off the internet. I’ve built a PC for gaming.

  1. Aibek
    September 13, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    Check out this artilce on DifferenceBetween.net :)


    A similar question was posted on Yahoo Answers a few years ago, http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20060924105808AAIOBL7

  2. James Bruce
    September 13, 2011 at 10:08 am

    Depends what level we are talking about here. There are brand name servers from companies such as HP that are quite different in architecture and technologies - but if you're talking about a home server then very little difference. 

    Depends on your needs - some large hard disks for a fileserver; or a number of network cards for a router/link aggregator; or a powerful processor and lots of memory for a render station. Generally, you won't have a 3D graphics card in the server as they rarely have display connected, and wont be used for gaming. Other than that, what makes a good gaming PC will also make a good server - just save money on the GFX card and buy more RAM/drives instead. 

    • Mike
      September 13, 2011 at 5:37 pm

      Well, dedicated server hardware supports buffered or un-buffered ECC memory. Of course the error correction is not perfect but it does prevent a lot application crashes that might happen duo to single bit failure. Also dedicated server chipsets usually support a higher amount of RAM both physical and logical.

      Second, servers usually use (Enterprise) Hard Drives optimized for RAID with improved error handling (TLER for WD, ERC for Seagate, CCTL for Samsung). 
      The key here is that within a RAID if an error isn't dealt with in a specific time the RAID controller will get the information that the Hard Drive is "damaged" either from the Hard Drive controller itself or via the Hard Drives Firmware. It will then mark the drive as defective within the RAID and degrade it. 
      The methods mentioned above basically prevent your RAID from being degraded duo to errors which otherwise wouldn't cause any data corruption or loss.

      And then there is also the CPU itself. As you probably know CPU's differ in how they perform specific tasks. Server CPU's are usually optimized for very high input output rates especially to increase performance on multi CPU systems. Another factor are the built in caches (L1, L2, L3) which are usually much higher to allow faster handling of certain tasks and calculations.

      I guess if you want to setup a plain file and media server and stuff any desktop hardware will do. If you want to setup an application server with database etc you are going to profit from using dedicated server hardware which therefor comes at a prize.