server : Computer Hardware Buyers’ Glossary
©1997-2017 Roedy Green of Canadian Mind Products
A server is what we used to call a minicomputer, a computer
bigger than a desktop but not as big as a mainframe. You
use them for hosting websites, not for home use. They have features to let them pump
more transactions than a desktop. They also have features to make them more reliable.
Sun, IBM (International Business Machines), Unisys and HP (Hewlett Packard)
are well-known server manufacturers.
server vs desktop
- They run variants of Unix-Linux, not Windows
- The CPUs (Central Processing Units)
are faster and designed with more registers. The Intel Pentium class machines
used in desktops are register-starved.
- They have multi-core CPU (Central Processing Unit) s, perhaps 8
- They have error-correcting RAM (Random Access Memory)
so that stray errors are automatically detected and corrected.
- They have intelligent SCSI (Small Computer System Interface) controllers
that can handle most of the housekeeping without CPU
intervention. Disks are more resistant to vibration.
- They have redundant power supplies.
- Sometimes they are designed for hot swapping of components — the ability
to replace a failed component without stopping the programs running.
- They usually have 64-bit CPUs
which lets them address more a 4 gigabytes of RAM.
- They are designed to use low power, and to stack in racks.
- They cost much more than the equivalent desktop computer.