The term “server” has greatly evolved over the course of computing. When I started this site in 1999 servers were dual processor systems with SCSI hardware, RAID and a very solid build. Since I’m a do it yourself kind of computer user I’ve been building my own servers for more than a decade, but lately I’ve wondered if there is any room left for “white box” or component built servers.

Poking around that crazy “interweb” shopping for SME (small to medium enterprise, just in case) servers led me to the two major players: Dell and HP. At first brush they have $400 servers available. Checking the component lists show mostly old desktop parts: if they believe that’s good enough for a basic server should we all? Is the actual value in these machines the warranty?

Now I’ve been looking at the individual components and trying to differentiate what the differences are between companie’s desktop and server parts. I’ll look at the following components in this series of articles:

  • CPU
  • Motherboard
  • RAM
  • Storage
  • Chassis

Throughout I’ll add Dell and HP models to show what their take is.