Anything that will run on an i7 processor will run on a Xeon processor, there are no binary incompatibilities.
The main advantage of using Xeon processors over desktop processors is support for ECC memory, extra QPI links for multi-socket systems, and a slightly different version of the speedstepping hardware.
A workstation motherboard is required to use ECC RAM and Xeon processors. Workstation boards will work with non-Xeon processors but non-Workstation motherboards will not work with Xeon processors. Desktop processors cannot be used in multi-socket motherboards.
Workstation class graphics cards are recommended for AutoCAD and 3DStudio because their drivers contain very useful optimizations specific to these applications.