Components of a Server Computer
The hardware components of a typical server computer are similar to those used in less expensive client computers. However, server computers are usually built with higher quality components compared to client computers. The following paragraphs describe typical components of a server computer.
The motherboard is the main circuit board of your computer to which all the other components of your computer are connected. The motherboard is the computer more than any other component. All other components are connected to the motherboard.
Major components on a motherboard include the processor (or central processing unit), support for circuits called chipsets, memory, expansion slots, a standard IDE hard drive controller, and input/output (I/O) ports for devices such as keyboards, mice, and printers . Some motherboards also include additional built-in features such as a graphics adapter, SCSI disk controller, or network interface.
The processor, or central processing unit, is the brain of the computer. Although the processor is not the only component that affects overall system performance, it is the one that most people think of first when deciding what type of server to buy. At the time of writing, Intel had four processor models designed for use in server computers:
>>Itanium 2: 1.60GHz clock speed; 1–2 processor cores
>>Xeon: 1.83 – 2.33 GHz clock; 1-4 processor cores
>>Pentium D: 2.66-3.6 GHz clock; 2 processor cores
>>Pentium 4: 2.4-3.6 GHz clock; 1 processor core
Each board is designed to support a specific type of processor. CPUs come in two basic mounting styles: slot or socket. However, you can choose from several types of slots and sockets, so you need to make sure that your motherboard supports the specific slot or socket style your CPU is using. Some server motherboards have two or more slots or sockets to accommodate two or more CPUs.
The term “clock speed” refers to how fast the core clock drives the processor’s running tags. In theory, the higher the clock speed, the faster the processor. However, the clock speed alone is only reliable to compare processors within the same family. In fact, Itanium processors are faster than Xeon processors with the same clock speed. The same is true for Xeon processors compared to Pentium D processors. This is because newer processor models have more advanced circuitry than older models, so they can get more work done with each tick of the clock.
The number of processor cores also has a significant impact on performance. Each processor core works as if it were a separate processor. Most server computers use dual-core (two processor cores) or quad-core (four cores) chips.
Don’t skimp on memory. People rarely complain about servers having too much memory. Many different types of memory are available, so you have to choose the right type of memory to match the memory your motherboard supports. The total server memory capacity depends on the motherboard. Most new servers can support at least 12GB of memory, and some can handle up to 32GB.
Most desktop computers use inexpensive hard drives called IDE (sometimes called ATA) drives. These drives are suitable for individual users, but since performance is more important for servers, another type of drive known as SCSI is usually used instead. For best performance, use SCSI drives with a high performance SCSI controller card.
Recently, a new type of cheap drive called SATA has appeared in desktop computers. SATA drives are also being used more and more in server computers as well due to their reliability and performance.
Network connectivity is one of the most important parts of any server. Many servers have network adapters built into the motherboard. If your server is not configured as such, you will need to add a separate network adapter card.
Great graphics are not that important for a server computer. Equip servers with inexpensive generic video cards and monitors without affecting network performance. (This is one of the few areas where it is acceptable to lower costs on the server.)
Since a server usually has more hardware than a regular desktop computer, it requires a larger power supply (300W typical). If the server has a large number of hard drives, it may require a larger power supply.