Not really lurking but I do still get email notifications on topic updates
Well a lot of things have changed in a year and a bit.
I now have a Dell C6100
4 node 2U cloud server (2x E5520s and 24GB per node). Works great as an ESXi cluster in a 2U box. I also modded the fans to make them much quieter.
I also now have a HP DL380 G6
(dual X5560s with 24GB ram). This I am currently using for an ARMA II server (Test and Prod) and for ARMA III mod development.
I have moved my storage on to a Silverstone DS380
(8x ext and 4x int drive mITX case) with an S1200KP motherboard, 12GB ECC ram and a LSI 9211-8i sas controller. This runs Solaris 11.2 and shares the disks via a dedicated iscsi network to the ESXi node in the C6100.
The KVM has survived. The switches etc are also still there although I have added a Cisco V320
dual WAN router.
I have also been using Infiniband for a storage network which was giving up to 2GB/s data transfer between the SAN and ESXi but having moved the SAN to mITX I only get one PCIe slot which I have to use for the storage controller unless I splash out on anAsrock E3C224D4I-14S
which would just about fit the Silverstone case with a little modification.
I had a play with a HP DL1000 disk shelf with 9x 146GB 15k sas drives and although that was very fast (the drive and the shelf were dual ported) they were power hungry and loud.
I had the idea to setup water cooling for the entire rack (quick release connections for the servers and a big loop on the rack with a large pump at the bottom and a large rad at the top. I have most of the parts but other priorities have taken precidence.
I also got myself a table top CNC machine
with the intention of milling waterblocks and other things like custom PC cases or show pieces. Built a protective case out of acrylic which is great for keeping the noise down and keeping little fingers safe and it works great. Just a bit of a learning curve
To get back to our actual question
, you have to get the right servers and / or mod them for home use.
The C6100 for example is a fantastic unit with 4 seperate servers with just shared cooling and power but it sounded like a jet enging when running at load. I was able to find a replacement fan which had pretty close throughput at significantly lower DBa. I have supplied modded C6100s to quite a few people in the SIngapore VM user group (cluser in a box) for their home labs but TBH the fan mods are a lot of manual work as the fan plugs are non standard so I have to chop the original fan cables off and resolder them to the new fans. My soldering has vastly improved
I would not go near 1U units as they are so slim they can only have very small noisy fans. 2U cases are better and my unmodified DL380G6 (another fantastic bang for buck machine if you hunt around) is fairly quiet although louder than the modified C6100.
Of course, neither is around $60 but they are also newer gen tech (DDR3, 55/5600 series Xeons etc). For $60 a play around server is great and you still have enough left over for earplugs which are readily available for the F1 race
Without dialogues, if you tell them you want something real bad, you will get it real bad.