I say 2012 as we'll likely be buying last year's hardware. We're non-profit (a two-man operation), and this purchase isn't on project funding, so we're cost-restricted, but I always advocate for long-term investment rather than the quick fix. We make do with what we have otherwise...
This is a simple Windows fileserver (5-10 clients) for storing large .TIF images. The transfers are part of the daily workflow (no matter how much we queue batches after hours, it ends up being a poor workaround). When even two clients are pushing/pulling concurrently, I notice the server CPU usage is solid at 100%.
Recently upgraded our 10/100 switch to a gigabit smart switch and hope to implement NIC teaming. I know there will always be a bottleneck somewhere, but it's clearly obvious the bottleneck now is the server CPU.
Looking for a mATX MoBo+CPU to upgrade in-place, either desktop-able (for when we get a 'real' fileserver), or future-ready.
current setup (hardly a 'server'):
old Acer MoBo
AMD Athlon 64 3500+ (socket AM2) PC2-6400 2x1GB (running @ 368.3 MHz ?) Windows XP Pro 32-bit a somewhat 'hefty' PCIe RAID card that isn't running RAID yet (readying our collections for cloud storage first, then will probably go RAID-5)
I see people saying CPU isn't important for a fileserver, but my first thought after seeing the 100% usage was that even simply upgrading to a modern multi-core DDR3 system (such as a 'Bundle Deal' from NCIX) would be a great start, but then I wonder if I'm paying for features I don't
Intel i3 good enough?
AMD Bulldozer a better bang/buck?
modern bus speeds rather than multi-core capability?
There's a relatively cheap Intel Mini-ITX 'server' board with dual LAN controllers ( http://www.ncix.com/products/?sku=75073 ), but then we're talking about ECC 'server-grade' RAM and a Xeon CPU (it also takes i3, but then why don't I just grab the current weekly i3 bundle deal?)
Basically, we're losing valuable productivity to hardware that can't keep up with the