I am looking at a inexpensive and low power home server to run Windows Server 2012 Essentials R2. I see there are some server versions of the Atom processor that have 2 to 8 cores and clock speeds in the 1.7 to 2.4 GHz range. I am concerned because the clock speeds are below Microsoft's recommended requirements although they do exceed the minimum requirements.
Key specs for Server Essentials R2 from Microsoft's recommendations (linked above)
╔══════════════╦════════════════════════════╦════════════════════════════╗ ║ Component ║ Minimum ║ Recommended* ║ ╠══════════════╬════════════════════════════╬════════════════════════════╣ ║ CPU socket ║ 1.3 GHz (64-bit processor) ║ 3.1 GHz (64-bit processor) ║ ║ Memory (RAM) ║ 2 GB ║ 16 GB ║ ╚══════════════╩════════════════════════════╩════════════════════════════╝
So for a server box that will do nothing else but acting in the Server 2012 R2 Essentials role (including Active Directory) and local DNS, is an Atom processor sufficiently powerful, or should I opt for a inexpensive processor Xeon E3 family? For Active Directory, there are only 4 people in the family, plus a handful of other machine specific accounts and an admin account (no more than 10 users). There are a total of 5 other Windows devices that are part of the domain (only 3 are actively used), plus there are a number of other devices that will connect via Wi-Fi or LAN that are not part of the domain (6 android phones and tablets and 2 work laptops that are part of corporate domains).
Ultimately, my question is what is the performance impact of the processor not meeting the recommended specs, and will looking at a 4-core or 8-core Atom make up for the slower clock speeds? I do plan on trying to hit the recommended memory requirement.
In addition to the cost factor, I am also very interested in an Atom because of the low power consumption. I already have enough higher-power hardware running 24/7 so I'd like to avoid adding more, but the power consumption is a secondary factor and is not a hard requirement.