February 5, 2016Katie

What Separates Enterprise Hardware and Consumer Tech?

Some of the significant differences between consumer technology and enterprise hardware.

Enterprise hardware vs. consumer hardware

The average customer is often indifferent toward the type of hardware and technology products available in today’s market. However, opinions would be definitely swayed if the average customer knew the significant differences between consumer grade technology and enterprise hardware. Here’s a look at how consumer technology and enterprise hardware differ:

Frills and Features

When it comes to mainstream and high-end equivalents, the customer sticks with the big names with the assumption that the product is as good (if not better) than enterprise technology. Of course there’s a bit more validation behind the name and some extra customer support. However, consumer technology couldn’t be further apart from enterprise hardware in terms of frills and features.

One of the major differences is that enterprise hardware is built from the ground up, meaning that the issues with mass production rarely happen, as more care is involved when the product is being built. Another would be the fact would be that the hardware is less flashy looking than what is provided in the consumer grade materials.

Capacitor Quality

It wasn’t long ago when many poorly made capacitors hit the motherboard market. Since much of the problem was due to water corrosion and improper electrolytes, it shows that not all capacitors are created the same. Enterprise hardware is known to use higher grade caps, with many consumer grade capacitors being known for charring or leaking when put under the pressure that enterprise hardware is built to sustain.

Memory Capacity

Consumer grade systems rarely need more than 8GB of RAM, but enterprise hardware usually needs at least 16GB (or higher) to simply operate. This helps explain why consumer grade only comes with four memory slots and enterprise hardware comes with eight slots for memory. In addition to this, enterprise grade materials feature RAM support with error-correcting code (and consumer grade products omit this kind of support completely).

Legacy Support

Consumer grade platforms are known to be in a hurry whenever dispensing with their legacy interfaces. The reason for this is due to the design complexity, cost, and the fact that only a few users actually operate with older interfaces. Since consumer grade materials are known to dispose of older technologies as they evolve, enterprise hardware develops software so that it can work around their older formats. The amount of legacy support on enterprise products has increased over recent years, due to the service contracts and consumer warranties associated with them.

CPU Layout

Enterprise technology has its fair share of heat generation, so the technology has to fit accordingly. Enterprise software is set up so that it can operate in high-demand environments, so the exhaust paths do no overlap and the chips are set up to receive proper cooling. In addition to impacting performance, the enterprise layout is set up for longevity.

Advanced Managing

The consumer grade platforms of today are being developed to compete with enterprise hardware’s management systems, but enterprise hardware still has an edge. Where enterprise hardware really shines is in the Intelligent Platform Management Interface (IPMI) department, as most systems can still operate if they have crashed or shut down.


Consumer grade and enterprise grade technology both have a wide range of casing options to select from. One advantage that enterprise casing hardware offers is that it can convert into a 4U chassis. This type of hardware is especially handy when hardware needs to be transported or permanently placed in a data center.

Considering the information above, enterprise hardware and consumer technology have significant differences. Although enterprise hardware seems like the route to follow in terms overall performance, the decision whether to turn to consumer grade materials all comes down to how you’ll be using the technology.


About the Author

KatieKatie LaBar is the Marketing Communications Specialist for BlueRange Technology and its parent company, Xchange Technology Group.
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