Originally Posted by andymiller
i would definitely go for a dell in some sort of form, the hard work is done for you, redundant power supplies, raid, hot swap backplanes, dual lan ports.
building a whitebox to those specs will cost more than a decent spec'd poweredge and dell reliability in my eyes is unquestionable.
^^^^ This is 100% truth.
For $1349 you can build a cheap Dell T110 with a Xeon E3-1220v2 CPU, 8GB ECC RAM, Two 500GB 7200 RPM hard drives in RAID 1, and a Server 2012 Essentials license -- with a warranty and a single source to obtain drivers, etc. The Dell also includes server-grade hard drives (probably Western Digital RE4 500GB) and a cheap hardware H200 RAID controller.
If you're going to build it yourself, you're quickly going to approach what it costs to buy a pre-built low end commercial server. At a very minimum, I would spec out:
1) Xeon E2 or E3 processor, either will permit you to install ECC memory. You could also go with an AMD Socket G34 processor and motherboard, which also supports ECC out of the box.
2) Processor/motherboard course implies you need to get some ECC RAM. Don't let anybody talk you into Ripjawz or some kind of enthusiast RAM, you're looking for 24x7 stability for another 8 years without a reboot, not maximum performance and overclocking potential.
2) Get SERVER GRADE hard drives, not WD Blues. The WD Blue has a unrecoverable read error rate that is 100x higher than the WD RE4. There's a big difference between 1 in 10^14 and 1 in 10^16 bit error rates.
3) Software RAID is fine for RAID 1. The Windows 2008R2 and Windows 2012 implementations of software RAID are decent enough for a small workgroup server.