I'd like to research the possibilities of migrating some of our servers to newer hardware.

Since I was only building personal/gaming PCs up until now, I'm beginning to realise I don't know much about the differences between a "standard" CPU and a server CPU.

I know that picking the right CPU depends on the application - but I'd like to keep this question broad. I am not asking for a particular CPU, I'm asking about the differences in features.

Apart from core count, core speed, reliability, max supported memory, power usage ... what are the features I could potentially be missing if I was to buy a standard CPU?

What are the reasons I should choose an Intel Xeon / AMD EPYC over an i9-xxxx / ryzen xxxxx (provided that the performances are about the same)?

  • 1
    The answer is in the your question: right CPU depends on the application – kofemann Oct 6 '20 at 9:49
  • No need to be condescending. I'm asking for the features I might be missing - so regardless of the application (whther high mem load, high I/O or high processing load), what security/redundancy/xxx features do server CPUs offer? – GChuf Oct 6 '20 at 10:22
  • Because, again, I'm not asking for the right CPU for me - I'm asking what are the things I should consider in general. – GChuf Oct 6 '20 at 10:26

A broad question can only be answered by a broad and generic answer:

Buy the right equipment for your workload (and budget)

If you cannot determine and/or benchmark your workload beforehand: accept that you don’t buy the ”best” equipment initially and allow that you may need to upgrade (sooner than expected) and leave for instance CPU/memory and other slots empty or accept that you possibly need to live with a bad choice...

If budget is not the issue - tell your vendor and they’ll be more than happy to suggest something that is either so oversized that hardware won’t be the limiting factor ever or you will discover that your budget is limited after all.


Entry level server CPU’s won’t differ much from desktop CPU’s in clock speed and core counts, although even entry level server CPU’s are likely already to have instructions and features that are more suitable for the typical server workload:

  • optimized for concurrency (rather than single threaded application performance server workloads often scale by using more cores rather than running at the highest clock frequency on a single core)
  • virtualization support
  • more CPU cache
  • additional cpu instruction sets
  • no built in graphics
  • a server CPU works in concert with related chipsets on the motherboard and you’re likely to have :
    • more memory banks and more supported memory
    • ECC memory
    • more PCI lanes and expansion slots
    • wired network at 10 GbE (or faster)
    • no Wi-Fi
    • no Bluetooth
    • out-of-band management
  • and others
  • That's OK, but there's plenty of standard CPUs which can handle my workload - why should I consider server CPUs? – GChuf Oct 6 '20 at 10:29

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