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$600 Xeon Server

by makingaserver


Part List View full price breakdown


CPU Clock Rate



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.

Power Supply

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.

Video Card

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.

Final Thoughts

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.

Comments Sorted by:

JakeyU72 3 Builds 9 points 47 months ago

Hahahahaha +1 for the "Titan Killer"

JoseyMG 1 Build 3 points 47 months ago

How many fps are you getting in BF4 with that card? Thinking of getting it

makingaserver submitter 1 Build 14 points 47 months ago

I'm running 6x eyefinity with 4K monitors, it gets about 59 FPS. Might have to crossfire if I want a stable 60, but the human eye only sees 14 FPS anyways, so what does it matter.


JoseyMG 1 Build 2 points 47 months ago

lel :)

TooGood 1 Build 1 point 43 months ago

I have that same monitor from an old prebuilt Dimension 4700.

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talby 10 Builds 2 points 47 months ago

+1 IMHO just go ahead and install the GUI it's as simple as "sudo apt-get install xubuntu-desktop" it should set up the card for you, and viola you have a kick-*** workstation. just like mine :) http://pcpartpicker.com/b/xIB I am using xubuntu 12.04 and always have at least a couple of VMs running in v-box.


PS good choice in using the Z9 it rocks

makingaserver submitter 1 Build 2 points 47 months ago

Fellow Z9 user! Internet High-Five At some point I may install the desktop GUI, but for now it is running headless so it would not make sense to use the system resources. When I first built the system, I thought I would have to install a desktop interface, but after a little research I could use the command line fairly easily. It amazed me all that can be done with just ssh and ftp. I might move it somewhere with room for a display, at which point this info will come in handy. You seem to be somewhat of an Ubuntu expert, so when I do install the desktop utility will I still be able to run ssh/screens and the like?

BTW you have great taste in graphics cards ;)

talby 10 Builds 2 points 47 months ago

BTW you have great taste in graphics cards ;)

Thank you, it was a killer MC in-store deal not unlike the one you ran across, in the "gently used" bin... Funny, there is one scene in "I am legend" when Neville runs into the building to get his dog, and the zombies are kind of just standing there when he shines the flashlight... Reminds me of the dudes looking through the used bins, a bunch of zombies lol!

when I do install the desktop utility will I still be able to run ssh/screens and the like

yes absolutely, and you can even run the gui when headless using either VNC or Nomachine NX client/server, check out the guides available for remote gui setups, very cool if you are running VMs on a headless server it's almost a requirement for the console if running windows VMs.

Hakumisoso 2 Builds 1 point 47 months ago

Can i join the server?

makingaserver submitter 1 Build 1 point 47 months ago

Sorry, for the moment I haven't been able to maintain it with tests and the like. Maybe in the future I will be able to put it up again.

LookTopHats 2 Builds 1 point 47 months ago

Nice build, just one thing though: how come you didn't go mini itx? Like the node or something?

makingaserver submitter 1 Build 1 point 47 months ago

I thought about going the smaller form factor route for this build, but couldn't justify the extra price for what could end up being less performance in the form of airflow. I was considering a mATX case for a while, but in the end I decided 8GB more ram would be much more beneficial than better aesthetics. As for mITX, I never really looked into it. I do like the look of the node (very clean), but for the extra price of a compatible motherboard I would have had to drop down to something like an i3 insted of the Xeon. Thanks for the feedback!

LookTopHats 2 Builds 1 point 47 months ago

Fair enough; hope it serves you well! :D

ryman 3 Builds 1 point 47 months ago

Did you end up needing to use the CPU power cord extender or did it reach with out it?

makingaserver submitter 1 Build 1 point 47 months ago

Yeah, the cable wouldn't reach without it. Thankfully I was able to use the extender instead of routing in front of the motherboard.

iTzSnypah 1 point 47 months ago

Should have gotten an E3-12X5 V2/3 Xeon. They have integrated graphics.

makingaserver submitter 1 Build 1 point 47 months ago

When I bought the parts I wanted to get the Xeon with an iGPU, but it was around $50-$75 more expensive. For the price it was not worth it. As for Haswell, the extra cost did not equate to performance gains.

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makingaserver submitter 1 Build 1 point 47 months ago

Haven't really benchmarked it yet, but for my purposes it is awesome. It is a locked i7 3770, so if you aren't planning on overclocking it is one of the best price v. performance cpus on the market.

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makingaserver submitter 1 Build 1 point 47 months ago

I decided to test the CPU, used this website for the install instructions. http://www.howtoforge.com/how-to-benchmark-your-system-cpu-file-io-mysql-with-sysbench

It took 22.7392s to calculate the max prime (20000). The per-request statistics are as follows: min: 2.27 avg: 2.27 max: 5.31 approx. 95 percentile: 2.29

I hope this helps! If you need any other benchmarks, I would be glad to run them.

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