Looking for small server ideas

Hello Everyone,
I am fairly new to building and deploying servers. I was interested in throwing together a small server. It would just be used as a fun project to experiment with. I was interested in some of your opinions on how I could do this fairly cheap and easy. I appreciate your thoughts, thanks.

I’d recommend buying used parts off ebay or similar. My first server i threw together last year I went with a Xeon E5620 (LGA 1366), a Supermicro X8STi-F and 12 GB 1033 MHz DDR3 RAM, which I got in a bundle for 100 bucks. I matched it with a 1U case, which came with a 260W PSU (also used) for around 50 bucks.

I really wanted it to be a rack-mount case, but in retrospect that wasn’t a good decision after all. Having only 1U of height means 40mm ans blower fans, which are way louder than your typical 80mm or 120mm. All in all, cooling was not optimal.

After that I went with a dual E5-2650 configuration which is a bit more recent, is compatible with the C602J chipset and features the LGA 2011. The upside of this socket/chipset is that there is a variety of affordable options to choose from. Here I went with 64 GB of RAM.

So to summarize: I recommend getting started with a single LGA 2011 CPU, and 16 GB of RAM should suffice even for playing around with some virtualization.

depending on size, budget and skills I would say get a cheap dell or hp server from ebay, or make your own. Or just get something from servermonkey they seem to be good at it.

I guess it depends on what you mean by small. Form factor? Budget?

For small form factor I really like these little guys, http://global.shuttle.com/news/productsDetail?productId=1767 I used to use one for my pfsense box and another as a toy/project server.

But if you are just talking about a small budget. I would build an AMD ATX tower machine so you can get high core count and expandability at an amazing price.

If you’re looking for small in price, decent on performance, takes a look at some of the things I posted over in this thread.

If you’re looking for small form factor, the Intel NUC seems to be the preferred gear. If I remember right there is a section over on Server the Home dedicated to running hypervisors on those.

I would also recommend an Intel NUC for its lower running cost (electricity usage) and lower noise but they are also more expensive at the initial purchase and will have a lot less performance (obviously depends on the model you get). You should also watch out because some of the NUC’s need a connected monitor to boot (they just hang at the boot process if one isn’t connected).