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Good Cheap 1u Server

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Posted · Original PosterOP

Hi, ive been thinking about playing around with a server for media storage and a couple of game servers.

looking around i can see allot of conflicting answers for the type of server i should be going for (like it says in the title im looking for a 1U server)

essentially, if you have expierience with buying a cheap server id like to know roughly the price, how its doing for you and if you have any suggestions as to what i should be looking for.


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Definitely buy used, there are plenty of good offers on sites like ebay and server hardware ages like wine - though to be honest, for your use case you're probably be better off with a "normal" pc build unless you get an absolute steal on ebay. There isn't a lot of drive space in a 1U, you'd have to go for 2.5" drives which can be harder to find and potentially SAS drives which are more expensive.

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Sauron'stm Product Scores:


Just a list of my personal scores for some products, in no particular order, with brief comments. I just got the idea to do them so they aren't many for now :)

Don't take these as complete reviews or final truths - they are just my personal impressions on products I may or may not have used, summed up in a couple of sentences and a rough score. All scores take into account the unit's price and time of release, heavily so, therefore don't expect absolute performance to be reflected here.


-Lenovo Thinkpad X220 - [8/10]


A durable and reliable machine that is relatively lightweight, has all the hardware it needs to never feel sluggish and has a great IPS matte screen. Downsides are mostly due to its age, most notably the screen resolution of 1366x768 and usb 2.0 ports.


-Apple Macbook (2015) - [Garbage -/10]


From my perspective, this product has no redeeming factors given its price and the competition. It is underpowered, overpriced, impractical due to its single port and is made redundant even by Apple's own iPad pro line.


-OnePlus X - [7/10]


A good phone for the price. It does everything I (and most people) need without being sluggish and has no particularly bad flaws. The lack of recent software updates and relatively barebones feature kit (most notably the lack of 5GHz wifi, biometric sensors and backlight for the capacitive buttons) prevent it from being exceptional.


-Microsoft Surface Book 2 - [Garbage - -/10]


Overpriced and rushed, offers nothing notable compared to the competition, doesn't come with an adequate charger despite the premium price. Worse than the Macbook for not even offering the small plus sides of having macOS. Buy a Razer Blade if you want high performance in a (relatively) light package.


-Intel Core i7 2600/k - [9/10]


Quite possibly Intel's best product launch ever. It had all the bleeding edge features of the time, it came with a very significant performance improvement over its predecessor and it had a soldered heatspreader, allowing for efficient cooling and great overclocking. Even the "locked" version could be overclocked through the multiplier within (quite reasonable) limits.


-Apple iPad Pro - [5/10]


A pretty good product, sunk by its price (plus the extra cost of the physical keyboard and the pencil). Buy it if you don't mind the Apple tax and are looking for a very light office machine with an excellent digitizer. Particularly good for rich students. Bad for cheap tinkerers like myself.



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What should you get... it really depends on what you're gonna use for.  If you want for games,some games like Minecraft need cpu and ram, others not so much.. as for media, depends if you want the box to re-encode on the fly content, for example you have a 4K bluray and you want to stream 1080p to a TV ... in that case you may want to be able to add a video card for hardware encoding, or use a cpu which supports quicksync


A company in my country sells various refurbished servers for quite low prices: https://www.citgrup.ro/servere/refurbished--sort_filterprice--orderASC

Divide by 5.6 to get the price in GBP  (1 GBP = 5.59 RON)


Looks into forums like Webhostingtalk for deals on hardware, you may get some good prices.


See for example this (though it was posted at end of February so it may be too late)  http://www.webhostingtalk.com/showthread.php?t=1753263

Also not sure if it's really a good deal




SuperMicro CSE-815 X10SLM+-LN4F - 1U 4x 3.5" Hot-Swap
E3-1220 V3 3.10GHz 4-Core
16GB RAM (4x4GB)
2x 2000GB SATA
SATA3 RAID (0,1,5,10)

£315/each (355 Euro)

Add Rails + £30
Upgrade to E3-1271 V3 + £100
Upgrade to LSI 9212-4i 6G SAS/SATA Controller + £30




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Old enterprise servers like the hp dl360 or dell poweredge should be found for very cheap.


a gen7 DL360 is basically worthless to a business, we pay to have them thrown away.  Look on google for a local company that buys second hand enterprise IT as they’ll have some old stock they’ll sell for cheap


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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Jay Deah said:

Old enterprise servers like the hp dl360 or dell poweredge should be found for very cheap.


a gen7 DL360 is basically worthless to a business, we pay to have them thrown away.  Look on google for a local company that buys second hand enterprise IT as they’ll have some old stock they’ll sell for cheap


I bought an HP DL380 Gen7 FULLY loaded for $380 last year. There are lots of deals out there but the real catch is what you are trying to do with it. Servers are generally designed for power crunching data, not video encoding or NAS applications. They CAN be used that way but you need to know EXACTLY what you are setting it up for or you could end up buying hardware that just won't get you to the end result with a good outcome. Also, lots of them just don't allow you to add and subtract hardware at will like you can with a custom desktop build. Some have pretty proprietary stuff going on.


My suggestion, as I just did this, is to buy yourself a NAS box for storage. I did a Synology 418play and dropped 4 10TB WD drives in there. Storage for days! Then, build a game server box with the parts that fit the outcome. I tried to combine storage and function and it became a nightmare. It's like buying  Ferrari and letting it sit and idle in the driveway.

Edited by GuruOfNothing
Didn't finish the thoughts I had...
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I have a strange suggestion.


Apple XServe. Avoid the Late 2009 (Special drive caddys, hard to find). They work pretty damned well on any OS.



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late Xserves are EXPENSIVE


this is because they were on the Hardware Compatability List for vmware ESXi so all the businesses that wanted to legally run mac VMs bought up all the XServes.


an equivalent spec HP/Dell/IBM server will be half the price

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From what I've experienced, Dell R510's, Dell R610s, and HP DL360's are pretty cheap. They can usually be found for $100 - $300 which enough RAM for what you need. Something like this R610 with 48GB of RAM and 2 x 146GB SAS drives is not a bad deal.


Also, be careful on older gen Dell servers with PERC RAID cards. They love Dell firmware drives, and generally like Dell branded drives only. If you get a older Dell server, I'd recommend getting something like a H200 or H310 and flashing LSI firmware or putting it in HBA mode to use JBOD.

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On 3/17/2019 at 8:28 AM, Jay Deah said:

a gen7 DL360 is basically worthless to a business


I wish some businesses got this....we have some old voice platforms we support for customers that refuse to invest in upgrading the infrastructure....some are as bad as old Celeron servers from the early 00's...its got to the point i just ignore 90% of the monitoring on their platforms 


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