Have you ever wondered what device powers a computer?
A Motherboard fit inside the computer case does that job. It can even deal with multiple computers at once and link them together for the user’s benefit. The motherboard handles the processing work of the CPU.
There also exist particular types of motherboards that can cater to a specific network.
For example, multiple computers can feed into a single connection, creating a Server Motherboard. It is also known as the mainboard, or a multiprocessor board, or a system board. Essentially, the motherboard holds all crucial elements of a computing system.
A Server Motherboard needs greater capacity for processing, and it is supposed to have added amenities that will enable a group of computers to interact.
Here we will look at what a server motherboard does, how it is different from other motherboards, and what features it offers. Let’s open up our CPUs and learn about server motherboards.
What is a Server Motherboard?
Any motherboard that allows multiple computers to interact is a server motherboard. It is a gigantic system that acts as a standard group fabric on which numerous machines can communicate and work in harmony. A server motherboard has to be connected to each computer individually and intimately.
Therefore, you cannot consider it to be a standalone piece of equipment. It has to be used in unison with the machines that it strings together. It is mainly done for the sake of deep integration and collective performance boosts.
Every motherboard contains a small unit called a Chipset. That is the core of the processing unit. It is the mitochondria of the computer. However, herein lies the limitation – some brands of computers only work with the same brand of the chipset.
So, if you are using a chipset manufactured by a company to run a computer made by another company, the server motherboard might not be successful.
Server motherboards must have exceedingly remarkable processing capacity. They must be able to handle running multiple computers. Server motherboards need a larger memory capacity to do large amounts of work.
For this, they are manufactured as dual or quad-CPU socket motherboards. These server motherboards would essentially do the job of multiple machines at once.
The load capacity of a server motherboard is in direct proportion with the number of CPU slots it may have. For example, a server motherboard with eight CPU slots will handle more data more efficiently than one with four slots.
Who uses server motherboards?
Think of the last time you heard “the servers were down.” That’s right. Large financial institutions like banks, insurance companies, and investment funds need to use server motherboards.
A considerable amount of data is stored and processed using these little tech gadgets. To cater to these large numbers of machines, most financial institutions use server motherboards.
Moreover, any process that requires large chunks of memory and processing ability can be handled by server motherboards.
Therefore, astronomers, mathematicians, physicists, etc., use such devices to power complex models and algorithms. Basically, anyone who needs to deal with high volume number crunching can use server motherboards to lighten their loads.
All the examples mentioned above use cloud computing, where server motherboards are vital for smooth operation.
How does a server motherboard get work done?
The primary function of the server motherboard is to aggregate and combine all the components of a server into one system.
Every I/O system you use, the RAM on your computer, all functional buses, etc., is connected to the motherboard. It is indeed a mothership to every processing unit in your computer, hence the name.
Every server motherboard functions exactly like a PC motherboard. Whenever you boot your computer, numerous processes are going on in the background. The motherboard controls the output from all of them.
When you push the right buttons, the motherboard takes in all the input necessary and runs the functions that you asked your PC to run via multiple threads.
Then, it takes the results of the process from the CPU to the external output location and shows you your desired function to be completed. Similarly, a server motherboard handles several operations from several machines all at once.
Let’s look at an example. When you try to access Facebook from your browser, you essentially request Facebook servers to do a task for you. However, millions of other users may create their unique requests to the same Facebook server as you make your request.
Therefore, Facebook needs to have a significantly larger processor than your average-joe PC to combat this large number of requests. Therein lies your server motherboard. Facebook uses massive servers to accommodate all its traffic.
Every request that you make to Facebook servers is processed within the server motherboard in nanoseconds using backside buses and frontside buses. Moreover, the information is stored in the server motherboard by virtue of its vast RAM. That is how a server motherboard allows numerous computers to be a part of a single operation.
What’s the difference between a regular motherboard and a server motherboard?
A server motherboard is many, many times more efficient than a regular motherboard. Thus, while multithreading tasks can be handled by standard and server motherboards, the latter is much faster.
While a regular motherboard inside a PC might run a certain number of processes smoothly, the same chipset can’t cater to the needs of multiple machines at once. A PC motherboard will crash and burn with the load that an average server motherboard takes on for the lack of better terms.
There are a few apparent differences between a PC motherboard and a server motherboard. Unlike a PC motherboard, a server motherboard does not need any GUI (graphic user interface), audio interface, or other peripherals related to the output.
In addition, while both kinds of boards essentially handle I/O processes, a server motherboard does not need external components to present its outcomes. On the other hand, a PC motherboard is connected directly to the computer’s input and output devices.
Both kinds of motherboards need a few crucial parts, though. They both are manned by chipsets, which process information and decide outcomes. They both need cooling devices like fans, along with constant power sources like a UPS system. Lastly, they both need I/O interfaces to handle server requests.
Typically, a server motherboard has two processors, while a PC motherboard has only one. That gives the server motherboard more cores, resulting in faster and more efficient computing.
PC motherboards handle word processing, while server motherboards run Facebook. It is because of this added functionality that server motherboards are used for cloud computing. They create a helpful hub for multiple machines to connect to and process more threads speedily.
Server motherboards generally contain ECC RAM, a special form of RAM that automatically corrects the errors in code. It acts like the human body’s disease prevention system, i.e., when it detects a mistake, it stores the data in its memory and uses the same to detect and diagnose any similar future errors.
Numerous companies, organizations, and institutions, including the military, make good use of the ECC RAM system in server motherboards.
One of the biggest names in computing hardware manufacturing, Intel makes processors for both types of motherboards. The Pentium and Core range of CPUs have become a household staple in PCs. On the other hand, Intel’s Xeon processor family has made its mark in the server motherboard market.
What is the form factor of a server motherboard?
You might be wondering what ‘form factor’ means. Form factor essentially refers to the various specifications that are retailed in the server motherboard market.
The size, shape, mounting holes, power supply, etc., are a few elements that dictate the motherboard’s form factor. Many industry-standard specs like ATX, eATX, microATX, SSI CEB, SSI EEB, SSI MEB, etc., are already floating in markets.
However, clients can ask manufacturers to create customized specs according to their needs. Servers are generally constructed according to the needs of each client.
ATX and eATX are the most commonly used types of server motherboards. ATX servers are 12 inches wide and 9.6 inches in height. eATX servers are a little taller, towering in at 13 inches, along with the same length.
These eATX server motherboards are often seen as rack-mounted servers, and they contain more components, buses, and circuitry than the ATX models simply because they are taller. As the name suggests, microATX servers are smaller in size than both ATX and eATX boards.
SSI form factors are also used across multiple industries. They can support dual or multiprocessor motherboards easily and are bigger than the ATX models. Additionally, SSI boards have a different selection of mounting holes and I/O system options.
Can you use a server motherboard for gaming?
Gaming, an up-and-coming social trend, has taken the world by storm. Knowing that server motherboards are incredibly powerful, it is not surprising to wonder if that board will aid you in playing games better than a PC.
The answer is – probably yes. Since server motherboards can complete several multithreading processes in the blink of an eye, they can easily run a computer game.
However, there are a few things you would need to consider before breaking into a powerful corporation’s server room to play Call Of Duty. First, do not forget that you need graphics cards and memory solutions before playing a game. Let’s assume you manage to curb those problems, too. Is that all?
No. You will need the right kind of peripheral equipment – monitor, keyboard, mouse, etc. – before you run a .exe file.
More importantly, server motherboards do not have overclocking abilities.
Overclocking refers to when a CPU boosts its processing or clock speeds to run an application smoothly. Some of the most commonly used server motherboards in the world cannot complete the overclocking procedure. Some of them even have lower clock speeds than gaming PCs.
Server motherboards cater to processes that do not require heavy clock speeds. Instead, these computers are expected to work 24*7 with no interruptions.
Running server motherboards on high processing speeds would need a lot of power. Additionally, overclocking comes with the risk of overheating, and cooling off server motherboards is a demanding and expensive task.
While you could run a game using a server motherboard as the CPU’s chipset, we advise you to think again. You can obtain better performance specs in a specially-designed gaming PC and save yourself the effort of breaking into Facebook’s offices just to check out their servers.
Computing is a complicated process. Its complexity increases tenfold when multiple computers are expected to work in unison.
However, we have solved the problem of handling large amounts of data by using server motherboards. These unique motherboards are, in essence, massive and high-speed computers. Moreover, they are designed to include multiple processors in their boards, increasing their speed and efficiency.
The technological onset of cloud computing was fuelled heavily by the use of server motherboards. Corporations that either offer cloud computing services or hold their data on a cloud computing service use server motherboards to process and store vast amounts of data and information.
Additionally, any internet entity that has to handle considerable traffic also makes good use of these heavy servers.
There are a few differences between a PC motherboard and a server motherboard, the primary one being that servers are exceptionally more powerful computers than PCs.
Server motherboards are also not connected to any external peripheral device for output. While both types of motherboards handle I/O processes, the time taken to complete each process is vastly different.
It is only natural to wonder whether you can play games on a server motherboard or not. And well, truth be told, you can.
The real question is whether you should run your game application on a server. Remember, a server motherboard is a connecting link between multiple PCs. It also contains no peripherals for output. And you can get better processing speeds from a gaming PC.
Martha Davis is a computer hardware specialist who works extensively in designing and manufacturing hardware devices, researching advanced computer technology. She built GadgetGangster.com as a platform to share her insight on computers and PC assembly with the web. Currently, she is carrying out her research on Robotics and Computer Vision and working privately to deliver services. Martha makes sure that readers of GadgetGangster.com master the basics of setting up computer components like motherboard, CPUs, and GPUs through the informative articles that she writes.