I want to build a really cheap server to use for testing etc but don't want to spend alot of dough. Any recomendations on what kind of home pc/server would work for these requirements? Any place to get refurbs at a good price?

Minimum: 1.4 GHz (x64 processor)
Minimum: 512 MB RAM
Minimum: 32 GB or greater
Foundation: 10 GB or greater
Super VGA (800 × 600) or higher resolution monitor
DVD Drive, Keyboard and Microsoft Mouse (or compatible pointing device), Internet access (fees may apply)
  • you want to test, what applications or just server 2008?
    – Jim B
    Mar 16, 2010 at 16:33
  • I want to use the box to test some .NET webapps that would simulate having them in production.
    – chopps
    Mar 16, 2010 at 16:36

3 Answers 3


If you really need hardware, just buy a low-end Dell. It's cheaper than you can build one for.

However, if you have a suitable PC now, why not install VirtualBox or VMWare Player? With either, you can have Windows Server up and running within an hour.

  • 2
    +1 Virtualize it and forget real hardward.
    – Chris S
    Mar 16, 2010 at 20:35
  • +1, agree with Chris, if it's for testing forget it, run a Virtual PC. I'm running a 2k8 VM on a Centrino Duo 2.2Ghz and it's just fine for running test scenarios. Mar 16, 2010 at 20:46
  • +1, definitely my thoughts. Mar 16, 2010 at 20:52
  • ahhh..didnt think of this! thanks One drawback is that I would like to test the sites from another computer..potentially a MAC.
    – chopps
    Mar 16, 2010 at 22:19
  • If you set up bridged networking in your VM, you can hit it from your Mac or any other computer. The VM will appear to be directly connected to your local network.
    – Jason
    Mar 16, 2010 at 22:22

Any cheapest Dell server would be my recommendation - you don't really want to build it out of custom components unless you enjoy dealing with hardware issues and testing the hardware yourself.


Cheapest box you can get. I acutally run Windows 2008 servers in virtual machines with 256mb ram (server core, only DNS installed), so the real need is really low.

Put together a cheap box or get a used one on ebay and be happy.


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