Can I use a Server Motherboard for Gaming? (Explained)

Gaming is quite an intensive task and requires high-level accessories and peripherals. With higher specifications, you can have a seamless gaming experience in high resolutions like 4K or 8K. While normal desktops are quite capable of achieving this goal, the motherboards have a certain limit to what they can provide.

Desktop motherboards have a limited number of slots and provision for only one processor. When there are such limitations, you might ask can I use a server motherboard for gaming and we are here to answer it.

Can I use a server motherboard for gaming?

Yes, you can use a server motherboard for gaming to get higher performance. But you must know what does a server motherboard consists of so that you can use it more extensively.

Server Motherboard

A server is a host which enables many real-time users known as clients to work with the PC. Since the server hosts many clients at the same time, the motherboard is equipped to contain multiple components within it.

Almost all the primary components slots of a desktop motherboard are doubled in the server motherboard.  Because of this, you can increase your computational power enormously.

Types of server motherboards

  • AMD server motherboard
  • Dual Processor Motherboard
  • Dual Socket Motherboard

Apart from this classification, you can also classify the server motherboards according to its form factor:

  • EATX
  • ATX
  • Micro-ATX
  • Mini-ATX
  • SSI – EEB, MEB, CEB
  • COM express

These are the popular motherboard form factors in the market and apart from these, you can also approach the manufacturer for desired form factors. ATX is the most common form factor used in the server motherboard and the AMD model is widely used by gamers.

Possibility of using server motherboards for gaming

Server grade motherboards can be used for gaming. Even if you can afford the components for a server motherboard, you must be aware of certain things regarding them so that you can make the choice of gaming with it.

Server boards require compatible CPUs. You cannot use normal desktop CPUs on the board. There are several cons with regards to gaming when it comes to server grade CPUs.

Even though the boards are equipped to hold several CPUs, GPUs and other slots, they are manufactured to drive data centers and critical applications. They aren’t designed for gaming purposes.

But the versatility of the board makes it a likely contender for gaming purposes. If you can afford all the components, case and the relevant peripherals like a monitor, keyboard, etc. you can definitely use a server board for gaming.

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Pros and Cons of using a server motherboard for gaming

There are advantages as well as disadvantages to using a server motherboard. This will help you to choose whether to go with a server motherboard, especially for gaming purposes.

Pros

  • The first and foremost advantage is the slot provision. There are almost double the number of slots available in the server motherboard when compared to desktop boards.
  • The ability to increase the processing power without overclock. With the help of dual processor slot setup, you can add an additional processor to get increased computational power.
  • The ability to increase the storage by adding many numbers of SSDs helps in seamless storage of heavy games.
  • There are many provisions to add several cooling units which will keep the components working efficiently without heating up.
  • Also, there are many DIMM slots to increase the RAM which will help you to gain super-fast performance from your PC.
  • The RAM supports ECC which is error correcting code that helps in avoiding data corruption.

Cons

  • Server boards are not gaming centric. They are designed to power PCs that connects several client PCs and act as a powerful data driver.
  • You require compatible CPUs specifically for the server boards to support. These CPUs don’t have overclocking abilities since it has to work 24/7.
  • They consume more power than a normal desktop.
  • Finding a case for this server board might be tough. The boards are usually very large and you cannot fit it in your existing case.
  • All components are very costly and most of the people cannot afford it. You cannot use your existing processor or RAM with the server board.
  • Since they perform enormously high, you need to setup several cooling systems to keep it from thermal damages.
  • Such huge setup is not required for gaming.

Difference between Server motherboard and Desktop Motherboard

  • Server motherboards usually come with two processor slots so that they can accommodate two CPUs at the same time. Desktop boards don’t have such provision.
  • The processors of server boards are designed in such a way that they can take up heavy computing load than graphical load.
  • The RAM comes with ECC technology in server boards which helps in avoiding data corruption. Normal boards don’t have such provision.
  • The number of PCIe slots in a server board is almost double the number when compared to desktop boards.
  • Power consumption is higher in a server board than desktop board. Also, the size of small form factor server board is larger than the normal form factor desktop board.

Why are server motherboards so expensive?

Server motherboards are expensive because they are not mass-produced. They are built to order and the price is determined by the client’s specifications.

They need to be built to order. The price of a server motherboard is determined by the client’s specifications, so it can be different for each customer.

The high cost of server motherboards is due to the fact that they need to be built to order and there is no standard off-the-shelf motherboard for servers.

Conclusion

While server boards can be used for gaming, it is not required. Technically it has all the feasibilities to run a huge machine for gaming. But such enormous capacity is not required as of now and desktop boards do it more energy efficient.

Also, cost-wise server boards are very pricey and you have to buy new components to support the board.

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