38 months ago
Hello again PCPP community. I am in the market for a budget system($100-$350) that can still perform well in demanding tasks. I had long advocated building your own computer with the notion that it was cheaper, but it now dawned on me that only if you are buying new is this true because I am staggered at both the amount and cost of used and refurbished machines. I was amazed when I realized $300 was average for a quadruple quad core Xeon sever with 128GB of RAM and am now very interested in the used market. So, I am wondering, where should I be looking, or am actually looking at this completely wrong?
What I want this machine to do is become both my main workstation and a test bed for hardware. I repair computers in my free time and currently am limited by the fact that I do not have a proper desktop. My main computer is a five year old Sony VAIO which is capable enough and great for burning Linux ISOs and what not, but I really can't test any hardware in it. My other computer though is a thirteen year old Dell Dimension 2400, a Pentium 4 rig which is not at all capable performance wise, and given its legacy hardware, it can't test anything either. I definitely need something and have narrowed down my search to two niche but sizable computer markets, used servers and used workstations.
Here are some things I would like to have in a new machine:
-A CPU that is preferably quad core or above and clocked at 2GHZ or higher. I would be rather weary to drift below that mark for single threaded performance, and would definitely be interested in a dual/multi CPU setup.
-Preferably 8 RAM slots, I could manage with less and really don't care how much comes come pre-installed; I just want the ability to slot in a good bit and be able to put in more memory without taking out any when testing. (This point should not completely discount a machine)
-A fair number of expansion slots, once again I would like the ability to slot things in without removing anything. I would definitely want PCI Express, preferably more than one, but I would also not mind having perhaps conventional PCI or Mini PCI in case I would ever need it. I also would like to avoid AGP for video cards.
-I could care less about graphical performance. Whether integrated or discrete, it will probably be the first thing replaced, so it really doesn't matter what it has. However it never hurts to have some video cards on hand.
-I really don't care about I/O. A fair bit of USB ports and some audio out would be nice, but that's really it. USB 3.0 would be a nice touch, but it really doesn't matter.
-A fair bit of SATA is a must. It doesn't have to be the latest revision, but I NEED SATA. Currently I have no way of reading any 3.5in hard drive made in the last decade which is quite the hindrance.
-Multiple hard drive bays would be helpful. This may very well be a multi-drive system, so this would be a great help. 2.5in drive mounting options would also be great. I do not need a pre-installed drive, but it would be good selling point. Hot-swapping is not necessary.
-Wireless is not needed, but it may be helpful to have it integrated.
-No operating system is needed. I am big Linux guy, so this is not something that really matters. Having Windows may be helpful if I ever need it, but it would be anything but necessary.
-An optical drive would be helpful but not necessary. I have a few laying around if needed.
So, knowing this, where should I go from here? Should I look into Used Servers, Workstations, or should I perhaps build something from scratch, using pre-owned? I am aware of the challenges that each present, and am prepared to go any way. Leave your suggestions, or if you have anything in particular that you think would be a good option, please tell.
I am egar to hear what you all have to say.
Here is an example of a server I would consider: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Dell-PowerEdge-R900-4x-Quad-Core-Xeon-X7460-2-66GHz-32GB-RAM-No-HDD/371681422316?_trksid=p2047675.c100005.m1851&_trkparms=aid%3D222007%26algo%3DSIC.MBE%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D38530%26meid%3D8470b573a82c44f6ba3c9f8ab65bce28%26pid%3D100005%26rk%3D3%26rkt%3D6%26sd%3D351767341485
Here is a workstation I would consider: http://www.ebay.com/itm/DELL-PRECISION-T5500-TOWER-PC-DUAL-XEON-QUAD-CORE-2-27GHz-16GB-250GB-FEDEX-SHIP/282178374613?_trksid=p2141725.c100337.m3725&_trkparms=aid%3D777000%26algo%3DABA.MBE%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D37108%26meid%3Dea50afa9619f4b68be10f3eb0a4aeca4%26pid%3D100337%26rk%3D1%26rkt%3D1%26mehot%3Dlo%26sd%3D161197581574