While more cores means more data processing capacity, costs associated with dual- or quad-socket motherboards go up dramatically. One-socket servers offer reduced cooling requirements, lower power draw and reduced hardware costs where performance is equal. In addition, software licenses are often cheaper.
Where a server for a moderate load is needed, one-socket servers are often considered for their cost effectiveness. As the number of cores available on a single CPU package increases, the cost value proposition of one-socket servers also increases.
One-socket servers became popular as CPU core counts increased between 2016 and 2018. Much of the increased support for the concept is centered on AMD’s EPYC server processor line with high core counts. The 2nd generation EPYC processor line was introduced with sufficiently high core counts to compete with a number of Intel Zeon two-socket systems, which, along with the associated cost reductions, put Intel’s systems in a hard place.
In 2018, AMD’s unveiling of their EPYC/Threadripper 2 lineup, featuring up to 32 cores, caused a rushed demonstration of a 28-core system from Intel. However, Intel’s system has been criticized for using overclocking and extra cooling.