What to look for when buying a server

Explaining the different features on offer

There are a number of key features that a PC server will have. If you don’t understand these in detail and are feeling a bit confused try and get some independent assistance to help you make the correct decision.

If you want to run a business system on the server as well, you should seek advice from the system’s developer or provider because business systems can have a major impact on performance.

Here are the typical features you will need to understand when purchasing a PC server:


A processor is the “brain” of the PC server. The better the processor then the faster your PC server will work for you.

A budget server will use a single processor without any option to add a second.

A mid-sized server will have two processors with the ability to run on just one if one of the processors fails. The ability to add further processors would be useful but, in practice, companies rarely upgrade processors after a server is installed.

Main memory

Memory is the thinking space for the PC server. The more memory, the more room to think and the faster the server will perform.

A budget server will come with 512Mb of main memory, although 1Gb would give a significant performance boost for most applications.

A mid-sized server will have a minimum of 2Gb of main memory. Look for the ability to expand to at least 8Gb.

When checking expansion capability (the ability to extend the power of the server), ask how much main memory can be added to the supplied configuration. Main memory is fitted into slots. The way it is configured in a supplied configuration might mean the processor can no longer accommodate the theoretical maximum amount of main memory without replacing the memory you get to start with.


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