During my blog post last week titled "[processors-cpus-cores-arent-they-all-the-same|p-10936]", I got a request to talk more about server terminology, going beyond the CPU. So here we go.
The processor does all your computational calculations. The chipset is attached to the processor and manages information and data flow from the processor to the other system components like memory and other I/O (input / output) devices. If the processor is the "brain", then the chipset is the "heart". Memory and I/O devices are like "arms" and "legs" - you need them all working together. The term chipset, memory controller, and memory controller hub (MCH) are often used interchangeably
At Intel, we refer to the platform as the combination of all of these devices that comprise a server. From a hardware perspective, I see the following terms used interchangeably: platform, solution, system, server, workstation, and there are probably others I'm missing. However, I have also seen platform refer to the software stack, as well as the complete hardware and software solution together.
Another term that you may also here is form factor. Form factor refers to the size and shape of the final system you would buy from a manufacturer. The most common server form factors are rack mount, pedestal, towers and blades.