I am curious on whether I could slap a high end video card into a server and use it as a high end gaming machine.

The server is a HP DL360 G5 with x2 Intel Quad Core Xeon processors, 16 GB of RAM and 6 72 GB SAS drives.

The reason I was curious is the server has a 16x PCI slot and I am pretty sure I could drop a full size graphics card into it.

Is it even possible to use a server as a gaming machine? Would the performance be better or worse than a "gaming" machine.

5 Answers 5


A server is much more a function of the software than the hardware. If the OS that you are using can play the game, then the "server" box that you are using can play the game.

With regard to the performance, with those specs, I would assume you have a very capable gaming machine, but that is more based on what you are comparing it to than anything else.

  • 4
    I'd note that ars technica system guide's god box is built around dual xeons. I think, quite honestly it would be overkill, since very little gaming software can use all that power.
    – Journeyman Geek
    Dec 25, 2011 at 8:44
  • @solignis, It would be appreciated if you marked this as the answer
    – soandos
    Jul 16, 2012 at 0:55
  • @JourneymanGeek You've obviously never run a Minecraft server then ;)
    – suprjami
    Jan 23, 2015 at 10:12

I never had any problems running games on server versions of Windows. One thing that could impact the performance of games on them is process priority setting. On server versions of Windows, it's by default set to background services and games like it more when it's set to programs option.

Another tricky thing is the sound service. It's disabled by default on Windows Server and some games may have problems starting if it's disabled or if the computer doesn't have sound card. Also even if there is a sound card, it may not have drivers installed, so be sure to check for that too.

Next point would be to install Direct X. Servers often don't have newest versions of Direct X installed and it's required by almost all games. Just get the newest DirectX End-User Runtime Web Installer (don't pay attention to claiming 9.0c version of DX. It should be installed on all supported windows operating systems, even if they claim higher version of DX).


A server can just as well be a gaming machine as a gaming machine can be a server.

Alltough the hardware in the server is mostly oriented at raw data processing and no graphics, adding a graphics card will solve that problem.

Windows 7 is the only thing that might have a problem with the disks or other technology.

When I bought my first i7 pc I descided to downgrade my old gaming machine to being a server. It now runs centos6 with vmware workstation on top. It's been running fine for 4 years now and has in that period only rebooted about 8 times (every half year for software updates).

I also bought a second 'real' server from hp, and out of curiosity I slapped in an nvidia 8800GTS and it would run games just fine.

TLDR: The software that runs on it defines if it's a server or not, YES it will be a kickass gaming rig.

  • is it a workstation tower PC? or one of those rack mounts? do these slim ones support graphical card? to be honest our currency price dropped worse, made regular PC like a dream for normal guy like me, and there's a guy that bring used machine, in half price, one of the machine my boss bought was rack mount dual 750W power, dual CPU xeon (not sure about model, 8 core each, and 2.14GHz) with 54Gig DDR3 ram, he got it below the half price, and still it's out of reach, and i want to know if i can use it in home as normal PC with graphic card, SATA Hard and that much performance... Jun 14, 2018 at 18:12
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    @deadManN Mine were tower servers. Rack servers do have pcie slots to install graphics cards but almost never have enough room. Besides that I would advise against using a rack server as home computer since they almost require hearing protection while sitting next to one (tiny powerfull fans always running full speed).
    – HTDutchy
    Jun 14, 2018 at 19:02
  • yeah, we have an old work station one too, at start the fan test process is like a jet plane turbine start running, and even after that it makes noises, but as you says the rack mount generates more, almost obvious at all the time... Jun 16, 2018 at 14:38

Yes, we can run high end games on sever based processor but there will be the difference in the performance as compared to conventional processor.The sever processor have more cores than pc processor but the work on low power as compare to the pc processor.So,we will see a significant performance drop will gaming in Server based processor computer.


Yes, you can play high end game on a server. But you have to install a graphic card in to the PCI slot. And as for audio, you have to enable the Windows Audio services from "services.msc" console. And you might be aware that server doesn't have audio jack in it, so you'll have to use the audio jack from the monitor (given that you're using hdmi connectivity from graphic card to the monitor or you might end up spending few more bucks for an audio card).

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