I am going to buy a home server. For some database, file storage, backups etc. Maybe in future I'll put some Java server (like glassfish) there.

I want it to be cheap, silent and not consuming much power. 1 Gbit ethernet would be nice too. I was thinking about fit pc (http://fit-pc2.com/) but it's quite expensive.

What would you recommend?

12 Answers 12


Wow, that's pricey. You could build your own Intel Atom based "server" from cheap parts off of Newegg or another site. I priced out an Atom 330 dual core system there with decent specs for around $200-250 depending on HDD size.

If you want something prebuilt, I'd check out Nvidia's ION platform, though I think only Acer has out an ION based desktop. ION is essentially Intel's Atom with a nicer chipset and better graphics.


There's a plug computer called the sheeva plug that might do what you're looking for. It runs a linux-based OS on an ARM processor at 5 watts of power, and has a USB interface for peripherals. This might be underpowered for what you have planned, but it's dirt cheap ($99).

Marvell's Sheevaplug website


Personally I'd get something from pcengines.ch a CF Card and a USB disk with it. These boxes have no VGA. Personally I find the easiest way to install is with tftpd end netbooting, very easy with debian. Just fire up a minicom and connect to it.

If you really need more power go with an Atom board. There should be some cheap nettop out there to get up and running

  • good choice, and pcengines alix 3c3/3d3 does have VGA, eats <10W
    – mykhal
    Commented Dec 20, 2010 at 8:03

Please see my question about Intel Atom 330, a cheapo dual core processor that comes with Intel mobo (by cheap I mean 80 bucks) - Intel Atom 330 as a server machine

Intel Atoms are designed for netbook use, have really low power requirements - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Intel_Atom_microprocessors#Atom_300_series_.28dual-core.29

However, I've heard the default FAN ain't that silent. You could easily fix that by fitting an after market one.


For some database, file storage, backups etc

Maybe a HP MediaSmart Server? It runs Windows so I don't know about installing a Java server. But it's proper for backup and file storage.

As for me, I prefer to assemble computers myself (except for rack-mount servers). You know what you want, so you can make a system exactly for your tasks. It's not too hard to select and buy proper hardware and it's variety is great - big cases, silent PSUs and fans etc - for almost any budget. And you can install any OS and software you want. So this is an option I'd go with.

  • I wouldn't recommend this piece of hardware it is very limited if you'd like to play around with other OSs than WHS. I keep hearing nice things about it as a pure storage box in pure Windows Home Networks thou Commented Jun 11, 2009 at 19:55

Amazon S3 and/or EC2. You can't get any quieter than packets flowing over your cable modem.

  • But not exactly cheap. 30 days * 24 hours * 0.10 USD = 72 USD = 51 EUR = 510 EUR /year, a cheap "dev" server will last 2 - 3 years so thats 1000 - 1500 EUR. Persistent storage not included EU Instances are 0.11 EUR/hour so even more expensive... Commented Jun 11, 2009 at 19:48
  • Depends on the noise of the modem :-)
    – Rook
    Commented Jul 15, 2009 at 14:25

I'd recommend getting a Poweredge 440 from eBay. If you can get one with warranty so much the better, but I've had no problems with the dozen 440s I've got, so the warranty isn't essential. My own home server is a 440 with a Perc5/i and 4 1TB SATA disks as a RAID5, and it's the quietest server I've heard. It's quieter than the Precision 390 workstation I'm typing this on. And they're cheap. Expect to pay under £200 (about $300) for a good condition one. The 440 has a single GHz NIC and mine uses under 100W so it's cheap to run.

Possible cons: they take a maximum of 4GB RAM. If you need more than this look for a T100 instead. Also because of the way Dell position the disks you need T adapters for the SATA leads to the disks.



Perhaps you could give Ebay a try. With redundant power supplies and scsi hard-drives, you can really get some serious hardware for a good price, with a little luck.

  • Could get greedy though.. 300-800 watts are not uncommon..
    – Berzemus
    Commented Jun 2, 2009 at 10:14

ASUS has similar line of products, called Nova.

I was considering getting either Nova P22. But then I thought that I'd be better off with something slightly bigger, but using normal desktop components and packing more punch, such as ASUS' P4 barebone.


I found one of my friends wants to sell his VIA Epia server, so I'll buy it :) It's quite old, but enough for me. It is very cheap (about 50$), silent (one fan - I'd prefer no fans at all, but I'll be ok with one) and quite economical (about 25-30 Watts). 100W is still too much (fitpc consumes about 8W when it is 100% utilized - that's why I was interested in it).

Thanks for your answers anyway!


Logic Supply has a huge range of inexpensive, small and quite boxes.


The mac mini draws 17Watts when idle, if you want something cheaper how about Asus Eee Box B202 for £200

SPECIFICATIONS: 1.6GHz Intel Atom N270, 1GB DDR2 RAM, 80GB hard disk, Intel GMA 950 graphics, 802.11bg+draft-N, Gigabit Ethernet, 4 x USB, DVI (max resolution 1,600 x 1,200), MMC/SD/MS card reader, Windows XP Home, 16 x 178 x 223mm (without stand), kg, 2yr C&R warranty

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .