recommended entry level servers for people getting into homelab automations / plex, and prices you can expect to pay for one without any processors or drives:

dell precision t7810 ($275 barebones, dual socket, two drive bays)

dell precision t7910 ($325 barebones, dual socket, 4-8 drive bays)

dell precision t5810 ($150 barebones, single processor, but these are so common that’s very possible to find one on Craigslist for between $0 and $50)

that’s it, that’s the whole recommendation list


a lot of people want to immediately jump in and start fucking with rackmount or blade servers, which is respectable, but don’t.

turning a precision into a functioning computer is a matter of tossing in some drives and processor.

e5-2678v3 is my current choice, at around $80 for performance somewhere between a Ryzen 3600 and 3700.

After that it’s just a normal fuckin computer. Normal noise levels. Supports normal components.

Cannot say the same for most secondhand rackmount/blade options.

I also see a lot of people going like “hey, fuck this old gear, im just gonna use a normal consumer processor from 2020 for my NAS” and...

in the current “motherboards cost $150 and a decent power supply is $100” market?? that’s a massive fucking waste of money imo

unless you need some ludicrously high single threaded performance which can’t be achieved by the e5-2678v3, you’re going to be spending -at least- double the price to achieve the same level of performance with consumer parts.

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“But I wanna game on one of these! What if I want to buy one of these to just be my normal-ass computer”

well.... that’s not what they’re for!

but i 100% understand the desire to get a cheap PC right now, the market is completely fucked, so check out youtube user Miyconst if you want more info on using one of these as a normal computer

just understand that graphics card compatibility will be spotty - anything more than a 1050TI will require research

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example “use as normal computer” build, using current cheapest prices online

T5810 barebones - $145, ebay

16gb Samsung RDIMM - $35, ebay

E5-2678v3 - $82, aliexpress

512gb inland premium SSD - $48, microcenter

EVGA b-stock 1050ti - $50-75, randomized stock goes up on the evga store every Wednesday at 3am EST

that’s a whole-ass gaming pc that plays modern titles.... for $360-385.

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@Duende can absolutely confirm lmao

got a rackmount server for free from a friend, thought "hey this would be cool"

plug it in, find out it draws 400W at idle and would cost more than multiple VPS servers just in electricity and said fuck that immediately

also it nearly requires hearing protection to be near when it's booting up

@Duende you're seriously making me interested in this again because i looked into it a while back doing exactly what you're saying not to do - making a server/nas out of current consumer stuff - and was like "fuck blowing a grand on this idea"

@wolfpede amazingly, the majority of the savings doesn’t even come from the cheap chassis or the price/performance of the processor -

it’s from registered ddr4 being cheaper than dirt. love paying $35 for a 16gb samsung stick.

(the 2678v3 also supports ddr3, which -can- make these builds even cheaper, but none of the dells support that)

@Duende only thing that bites for me is i'm kinda forced to buy ebay and get parts shipped, i don't live in an area with a lot of stuff easily available on craigslist or w/e

unless i want to drive to like, madison or something lmao

which actually wouldn't be that bad but still

@wolfpede can personally vouch for digitalmind2000 on eBay for the chassis. had a slight issue with mine and he shipped a new motherboard out for free within two days.

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