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Really Dumb Hardware Question...

 
 
MostlyH2O
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      09-10-2003
Hi Folks,

I'm sorry if this is the wrong place to ask a really newbie question, but I can't seem to get an answer to what seems to be a simple
question...

What is the difference, with regard to hardware, between a regular desktop system and one that is called a "server"?

I am looking for a new server, and notice that many of the affordable "servers" cost much more than desktop units - BUT, they seem
to have less in the way of memory and processor speed than an off-the-shelf personal computer. I can't tell if there are some other
factors that make an actual server perform better than a regular desktop for running a web and mail server for my small business.

Last year, I built my own dual pentium III 800 server and it is the slowest system I have ever used.

So, would it be better for me to buy a fancy HP personal computer than to buy a bottom of the line proliant server?

Thanks very much,
Jack Coletti


 
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Dave Anderson
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      09-10-2003
"MostlyH2O" wrote:
>
> What is the difference, with regard to hardware, between a
> regular desktop system and one that is called a "server"?


Among other things, most servers...

Have redundant power supplies
Use ECC RAM
Have hardware monitoring

....while many also...

Are rack mountable
Use SCSI arrays with hot-swappable drives
Have multiple processors (or at least are MP capable)

Another factor that drives server prices up is service agreement. Many are
bundled with 4-hour onsite support, which costs considerably more than the
typical service contract bundled with a desktop.

I'm sure I left a whole bunch of stuff off.


--
Dave Anderson

Unsolicited commercial email will be read at a cost of $500 per message. Use
of this email address implies consent to these terms. Please do not contact
me directly or ask me to contact you directly for assistance. If your
question is worth asking, it's worth posting.


 
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Tom B
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      09-10-2003
Think "Purpose"

What's better a sports car or a mack truck? Some sports cars are cheaper
and they go faster.

As Dave mentioned most servers have features built in to them that optize
the type of job they do. So things like file sharing, and storing lots of
data are optimized on a server. While playing Quake may be slower on a
server.


"MostlyH2O" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:uvK7b.33398$(E-Mail Removed) om...
> Hi Folks,
>
> I'm sorry if this is the wrong place to ask a really newbie question, but

I can't seem to get an answer to what seems to be a simple
> question...
>
> What is the difference, with regard to hardware, between a regular desktop

system and one that is called a "server"?
>
> I am looking for a new server, and notice that many of the affordable

"servers" cost much more than desktop units - BUT, they seem
> to have less in the way of memory and processor speed than an

off-the-shelf personal computer. I can't tell if there are some other
> factors that make an actual server perform better than a regular desktop

for running a web and mail server for my small business.
>
> Last year, I built my own dual pentium III 800 server and it is the

slowest system I have ever used.
>
> So, would it be better for me to buy a fancy HP personal computer than to

buy a bottom of the line proliant server?
>
> Thanks very much,
> Jack Coletti
>
>



 
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Chris Barber
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      09-11-2003
A server will support scaleable solutions (multiple CPUs) on
multiple-redundant hardware (RAID disk arrays, error checked RAM, multiple
FANS, multiple PSUs). However, for single task situations (games,
development, normal single user stuff etc.) a good workstation (2.2Ghz P4
CPU with 512Gb RAM) will outstrip a moderately spec'd server (say 2 x 1Ghz
P4 CPUs with 1Gb RAM) any day unless the task is heavily disk bound
(multiple SCSI is v.fast for disk access) or CPU bound (extreme mathematical
processing involved where multiple CPUs will help).
Also, a multiple CPU server can serve a heavily loaded application whilst
still letting the desktop operate for administration purposes. Note how your
desktop on a workstation is unresponsive when running something that has a
lot of processing (a fast graphics oriented game) or is handled by the core
Windows system (a large disk file copy).
Graphics capabilities of servers are also generally limited to just that
required for the desktop (who wants a wicked 256Mb 8xAGP graphics card for a
web server?).

Basically, unless you need a 'server' (eg. for corporate use generally) then
get a workstation cos it'll be a *lot* faster.

NB: This is just my opinion - I have a AMD Athlon XP 2400 workstation and a
dual 1Ghz P4 server, the workstation is a lot faster for single user stuff
and anything involving graphics but the dual can handle big SQL database
stuff (multi-million row recordsets in the 50-100Gb database size range)
like you wouldn't believe (the workstation just locks up for 5 minutes of
course whilst it's single CPU chunks away and the single IDE channel
bandwidth gets maxxed out).

Chris.

"MostlyH2O" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:uvK7b.33398$(E-Mail Removed) om...
Hi Folks,

I'm sorry if this is the wrong place to ask a really newbie question, but I
can't seem to get an answer to what seems to be a simple
question...

What is the difference, with regard to hardware, between a regular desktop
system and one that is called a "server"?

I am looking for a new server, and notice that many of the affordable
"servers" cost much more than desktop units - BUT, they seem
to have less in the way of memory and processor speed than an off-the-shelf
personal computer. I can't tell if there are some other
factors that make an actual server perform better than a regular desktop for
running a web and mail server for my small business.

Last year, I built my own dual pentium III 800 server and it is the slowest
system I have ever used.

So, would it be better for me to buy a fancy HP personal computer than to
buy a bottom of the line proliant server?

Thanks very much,
Jack Coletti



 
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