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Desktop and Server Processor Comparison

What are the differences between a desktop and server processor?

Servers and desktops are used for different purposes, and a server processor reflects that. It is designed to be more robust and have features that are not needed in desktops. It must be able to process the needs of multiple users simultaneously, run reliably for very long periods of time, support server-specific hardware and software, manage network resources, and more. NeweggBusiness will detail some of the major hardware differences between desktop and server processors that allow the latter to meet those requirements.

Increased number of cores

The number of cores a processor has and the clock speed of those cores are two important factors that affect overall processor performance. Increasing the clock speed of a processor’s cores allows it to perform calculations quicker while increasing the number of cores allows it to perform more calculations simultaneously.

Some server programs can utilize multiple cores to increase the number processes that can be executed at one time. For instance, when multiple client computers send requests to a server, each individual core can be leveraged to handle a different request.

Multi-processor support

Some server motherboards have the ability to use more than one processor, with a handful able to support up to four CPUs. This allows for additional cores to be utilized by the server, which is then able to support more users and processes. For instance, one common practice is to use two quad-core processors for a total of eight useable cores.

Support for error-correction code (ECC) memory

Some server processors are able to support memory with error-correction code, otherwise known as ECC memory. ECC is a feature that allows the memory to perform self-checks and fixes for common data errors. It is a very important feature, as errors in system memory can lead to data corruption or crashes.

Larger CPU cache sizes

A CPU cache is a small amount of memory that is located on the processor chip and is used to store frequently accessed data. Compared to desktop processors, server processors will typically have larger caches.

Support for larger memory capacities

When comparing specifications for server and desktop processors, you may notice that some server processors are able to support very large amounts of memory—much more than desktop processors. However, the motherboard and software must also be able to support that much memory.

Rated for longer periods of sustained load

Servers sometimes operate continuously for very long periods of time, which can put a lot of strain on the processor. To meet those needs, server processors have features that help prevent overheating, reduce power consumption, equalize workloads, and more.


These hardware differences allow a server processor to function reliably for very long periods, handle the needs of multiple users simultaneously, and support specialized software. If you are assembling a server workstation for your organization’s network, then be sure to use server-grade hardware such as a server processor and motherboard.


By NeweggBusiness Staff