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Difference Between Pentium and Xeon

Pentium vs Xeon

It is quite that no single solution is fit for all. This is also true when it comes to processors as the needs of the everyday user are very different from that of a power user or a server. In order to match the requirements, as well as the budgets, microprocessor makers like Intel need to diversify their products. This is the case between the Pentium and the Xeon line of processors. Both have been around for quite some time but they serve different markets. The Pentium is intended for the needs of the general public while the Xeon is intended for servers where the demands can be quite high. You can also expect that a Xeon processor would be pricier compared to its contemporary Pentium processor.

These processors are also different in terms of how they operate. While Pentiums are meant to be the only processor in the system, Xeons are used in groups. Some systems just use 2 of them while others have as many as 32. This is because servers usually run concurrent processes that are independent of each other. Multi-threading is also a key feature in Xeons to improve efficiency but not so much in the Pentiums since most users do not really need or even use it. Lastly, Xeons have more cache memory than Pentiums. Cache memory is one of the major contributors to the price of a processor but is also needed to boost performance. Less cache memory means more trips to the main memory which can take much longer as it needs to go through the system bus and main memory is electrically further compared to cache, which is located within the processor.

Since the two are very different from each other, Intel has also designed different socket types for them so that they are not interchanged. If you wish to get a Xeon for whatever reason, you would also be forced to purchase a Xeon compatible board; ramping-up the price even further. Do not expect that it would provide killer performance though as most programs are still not optimized for multi-threading.


1. Pentium is Intel’s desktop processor intended for general consumers while the Xeon is intended for servers
2. Pentiums are optimized for single processor use while Xeons are intended to be used in groups
3. Xeons are better suited for multi-threading than Pentiums
4. Pentiums often have less cache memory than Xeons
5. Pentiums and Xeons have different socket types

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1 Comment

  1. Very well explained. This explanation was just what I was looking for. Thank you.
    By the way, I was aiming on a much higher performance on Xeons processors, but it seems like I would also have to look for those compatible-xeon’s softwares.

    Would Adobe softs, ArcGis by ESRI, MS Office be not that compatible on xeons processors? This doubt could be a new article..
    Thanks, Philippe

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