I am thinking about building a machine to use as a linux or Solaris development server (for running a database, application servers, etc.). I would like it to be as portable as possible without it being too expensive. Looking for suggestions on parts to build a small and inexpensive (less than $1000) quad-core machine.
closed as off topic by Journeyman Geek, Dave M, wizlog, Dennis, Scott Feb 28 '13 at 19:14
Questions on Super User are expected to relate to computer software or computer hardware within the scope defined by the community. Consider editing the question or leaving comments for improvement if you believe the question can be reworded to fit within the scope. Read more about reopening questions here.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.
Don't build one. Subscribe to a Virtual Private Server (VPS) service. Prices start around $20-$30 per month. You can buy a few years of service for $1000. A VPS gets you out of the business of supporting hardware.
I subscribe to a Linux-based VPS and for $30/mo I get a quad-core 2.5GHz CPU, 540MB RAM, and 24GB of disk space -- plenty for web and database hosting. That's not even their cheapest plan.
Unless you are doing some serious number-crunching, CPU isn't going to be your bottleneck. It will be the disk. There's nothing you can do (on the cheap) to give you dramatically better disk throughput on a DIY system. Consequently, you shouldn't be focussing on the number of cores. Even a dual-core or dual-processor system will be quite sufficient.
As an example, for years I ran an audio-streaming server which regularly hosted dozens of simultaneous streams, provided web service, and a database on a dual-processor 700Mhz Pentium III with 1GB of RAM. Typical load average: 0.01. The CPU was 99% idle most of the time.
Ask yourself this: is building and maintaining hardware a core aspect of your business? If it's not, outsource it and focus on what makes you money.
(This thread should probably be migrated to serverfault.com)
there are numerous mini-ITX and micro-ITX motherboards and cases that can take quad-core CPUs.
e.g. the Gigabyte GA-G31M-ES2L (about $70 AUD - 1 AUD is approx $0.80 USD at the moment) is one of many.
for cases, something like the Antec NSK1380 ($159 AUD) or Lian Li PC-Q07 ($85 AUD)might do.
however, i'd be a bit concerned about cooling in such small cases. if the machines are mostly idle (i.e. not constantly running lots of computationally-intensive processes like number-crunching or video transcoding) then they'd probably be OK.
if not, go up to a mini-tower case and an ATX motherboard. you'd have a larger selection of motherboards to choose from, and some come with convenient handles for transporting them.
Check out some bare-bones systems from Shuttle. They make nice and quiet SFF cases that have a lot of bells and whistles usually including Gbe and decently rated PSUs in some models.