Really Dumb Hardware Question...

Discussion in 'ASP General' started by MostlyH2O, Sep 10, 2003.

  1. MostlyH2O

    MostlyH2O Guest

    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
    MostlyH2O, Sep 10, 2003
    #1
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  2. "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.
    Dave Anderson, Sep 10, 2003
    #2
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  3. MostlyH2O

    Tom B Guest

    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" <> wrote in message
    news:uvK7b.33398$...
    > 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
    >
    >
    Tom B, Sep 10, 2003
    #3
  4. MostlyH2O

    Chris Barber Guest

    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" <> wrote in message
    news:uvK7b.33398$...
    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
    Chris Barber, Sep 11, 2003
    #4
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