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Is the Intel i5-7400 a genuine "Server" CPU

Nov 23, 2020
I run a retail store with 5 cashier stations and 3 admin stations all linked into a central Server/Client setup (Server and Client operations all on one machine).

This machine has an Intel Core i5-7400 cpu running at 3ghz. 8mb of RAM and is running Windows Server 2012 R2, and using Microsoft RMS retail/Inventory software.

Recently it has become very glitchy and operations will stall or take a lot longer than usual to complete.

After discussion with the company who supplied the Microsoft RMS, I am realising that I need to have separate machines for the SERVER and CLIENT operations, but I'm also wondering if the i5-7400 is up to the job as a SERVER CPU in any case?

I am a retailer with very little knowledge of the technical issues I'm facing here, so I hope I have provided enough information for someone to advise me.

Many thanks for any assistance in advance.


Resident Grinch
May 29, 2011
[mod note: post evicted to Off-topic from Hardware, as this has nothing to do with FreeNAS. We do not forbid general hardware talk, but it needs to be on off-topic]

There is very little that makes a CPU a "server" CPU. Server CPU's typically lack a GPU, may have larger cache, and may support things like ECC RAM. Low end server CPU's can easily be outperformed by workstation or PC CPU's. If you look at a Xeon E5-2609v2, 2.5GHz, 4 cores, 4 threads, 10M cache, $300 MRSP, there are numerous CPU's that easily outgunned that at the time, and unless you needed the extra RAM capability, other things could have made more sense.

Similarly, the Xeon E5-2643v2 CPU (3.5GHz, 6 cores, 12 threads, 25M cache, $1552 MSRP) was a popular "server" CPU but if you didn't need it as a dual socket setup, the smart money was to buy an E5-1650v2 (3.5GHz, 6 cores, 12 threads, 12M cache, $583 MSRP) which had similar speeds, somewhat less cache, a THIRD of the price, simply because it was marketed as a "Workstation" processsor. Doesn't change that it made a great CPU for a server.

Generally the thing to do is to look at how well the current setup is performing. Run Task Manager and look at "Performance" under the "more details" tab, or run Resource Monitor. Look at what is happening with CPU and memory when the "glitchy" or "stall" behaviours are being observed. If you're running low on memory, add more. If (and only if) you were running out of CPU, consider a better CPU. I think that's a Kaby Lake CPU, so perhaps the board is capable of taking something like an i7-7700K CPU. Speedwise, this is probably faster than any "server" CPU you can get on a "clock speed" basis. Server CPU's have the ability to go wide, with more cores, but this is usually very expensive, and would likely require a different mainboard in your server. Upgrading CPU and memory will not help if there is some other bottleneck. For example, if you are running SQL on a janky old 5400RPM hard disk, your path to speed may be more along the lines of adding a fast NVMe SSD to hold the SQL database.

In order to avoid wasting money, you really need to identify the bottleneck. There may be more than one.


Senior Member
Dec 15, 2013
It kinda smells like database issues. It's very easy for a database with inventory to get out of hand when not managed right. So it could be a simple sort but with 20k+ items stalling or running out of RAM or IO. And since I guess it runs MYSQL it would probably tell you if you ask it nicely.

But what makes a "server" CPU is usually cost, warranty and segmentation of features. And testing but not sure if that is the case any more.