My first Intel Build, and consequently my first server build. Overall, everything came together fairly easily, and with the exception of the sea of pins during processor installation, was pretty stress free. Sorry for the crappy pics, I don't have a real camera atm.
I chose the Intel Xeon E3 as it is the price of an i5 for the power of an i7. As a server will not be overclocking it was a no brainier to choose this chip. I would highly recommend this processor to anyone who doesn't plan to overclock but still wants a lot of power. It handles any game-server I've ran on it with ease. Overall a very great price to performance ratio, and a wonderful introduction for me into the world of Intel.
As I am not overclocking I oped for a cheap and reliable motherboard. The H77 chipset still has everything I could want for a server (mainly RAID if I ever opt for a second HDD). The install was very easy and the product seemed high quality. So far I have had no problems with it.
I knew for a server I wanted 16GB for ramdisks and so there would be no issues with not enough memory. For 16 gigs the price isn't bad, and both sticks ran without a hitch. At first I thought I would need ECC ram as this is a 'Server', but I am not running any really important or valuable programs so it was deemed unnecessary. If I did need error correcting memory, the price would be much higher for the build as I would need both ECC ram and a compatible motherboard.
The WD Red drives are great for reliable storage. This computer has been running non-stop for around two months now, and this drive has shown no signs of fault. It is fairly quick for a 5400RPM; I was able to back up around 100GB of movies fairly quickly. For the peace of mind and 24/7 support this drive is definitely worth the extra $$$. I was originally planing on the 1TB model, but at the time of purchase the Microcenter close to me did not have it in stock, so I upgraded to 2TB. So far I have a long way to go until it's full.
The biggest surprise of the build was the quality and features of this case. It had many options for cable routing, and even included an extension CPU power cable to allow hiding it behind the motherboard. All fans bringing air in had dust filters, and the PSU had fan openings to the well-ventilated bottom of the case. There were hooks to route cables and plenty of space between the side panel and the tray for even mounting wires over the 24 pin motherboard cable. At this price you almost never see such advanced features.
What can I say. I wanted a cheap power supply from a reliable brand and this PSU is what I came up with. It has handled months of use so I would say it is sufficient. I probably should have opted for an 80+ power supply, but I have had no problems so far.
The Xeon 1230 does not have integrated video enabled so I needed a cheap GPU. I just picked up whatever refurbished graphics card Microcenter had on hand and slotted it in. For $15 I could not be happier. I am sure if my OS had an actual GUI it would play any game at Ultra++.
Fan: I wanted a little extra air flow in the case so I opted for a $5 fan. It's still spinning, so that's a plus. Tax: At the time of purchase it was about as expensive to order the parts over the internet as to go to a physical store. The Microcenter experience was fully worth any extra cost, especially to be able to ensure the parts worked before I left.
For this computer I choose Ubuntu Server. For my needs, it works great, and the community support is wonderful. It was fun to try out a pure command line system, though a little intimidating to start. I was able to set up a TF2 server for my friends and I easily, and the OS's expandability leaves many options open for the future.
I am very happy with the build overall. For just over $600 it works great. I can access my files from anywhere with internet (no more stress over forgetting a document), run a multiplayer server for a few friends, or anything else I could need with this computer. This build has been a blast! I hope this post can help anyone considering any of the above components, I can't even begin to tell you how many builds I looked through before buying all the parts.