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3 sub-£100 quad-core rack servers with Xeon or Opteron CPUs and up to 16GB RAM

The pace at which technology is changing means that products reach obsolescence far quicker than they used to do a decade ago. Which explains why eBay is awash with so many former high-end entreprise-grade servers. We’ve rounded up 3 of them, all costing under £100 with free delivery, at least four cores and 8GB of RAM.

There are dozens more available if you’re ready to take the bet and bank on refurbished/second hand hardware. Note that none of them come with any sort of warranty (other than dead-on-arrival) and that they all come with up to 100 Nectar points.

IBM System x3455

Possibly the best bargain of the lot. You can grab an IBM System x3455 for £100 from Bargain Hardware, an eBay retailer for £100 and from 60it for £95, the latter having an extra 160GB hard drive. This 1U rack server was launched back in 2007 and the base unit cost around £2,000 at launch. It comes with two dual-core, 64bit capable, AMD Opteron 2218 processor clocked at 2.6GHz, which carry a TDP of 95W and 2MB of L2 cache (unveiled in August 2006).

Both configuration come with 12GB of PC2-5300 DDR2 667MHz ECC RAM (12 memory slots, all with failover capabilities) and two non-hot swappable internal 3.5in bays that support 500GB SATA hard drives each.

Other features include a PCI-E x16 (or x8) a pair of rack rails, two embedded Broadcom 5704 GbE NICs, an ATI RN50B video controller with 16MB RAM, six USB ports, a 650W PSU with auto restart capability, Integrated System Management Processor (IPMI 2.0-compliant), Cluster Systems Management and IBM Director.

Note that it doesn’t come with any optical drive (although it should take a standard laptop drive; you can get an external DVD writer for under a tenner).

Viglen HX120a

Another two stonking deals from Bargain Hardware; a Viglen HX120a 1U rack server with 16GB RAM to be had for £100 and its 8GB counterpart for a mere £78. This machine carried an SRP of around £2,000 and is capable of running VMware ESX/ESXi up to version 3.5, but not capable of running 4.0/4.1/5.0. It will also run Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 but is not compatible with the Hyper-V component of that OS.

The HX120a comes with a Supermicro motherboard with two dual-core AMD Opteron 270 clocked at 2GHz. That model – based on the 90nm Italy processor core - came with 2MB of L2 cache, had a TDP of 95W and was launched back in 2005. As expected, it supports only DDR (ECC) and PATA (ATA133/100). Other features include an ATI Rage XL 8MB PCI controller, two Broadcom 5704 GbE controller, a 420W PSU, five USB ports, dual PS2 and serial ports, a PCI-X adaptor and three 3.5in bays.

HP Proliant BL460c (416656-B21 model)

Next on our list is the HP Proliant BL460c which is a blade server rather than a rack server. What it means is that it will not operate by its own and will need an HP cClass blade enclosure (which unfortunately do not come cheap). That particular model – which carried an SRP in excess of £2,000 at launch - was the first generation of blade servers launched by HP with the eighth generation currently in the channel. At £96, it provides with good value for money with a pair of dual-core Intel Xeon 5160 processors clocked at 3GHz.

They come with 4MB L2 cache each, with a TDP of 80W and were launched back in June 2006. There’s also 8GB of PC2-5300 fully buffered DIMMs at 667MHz with support for ECC and memory interleaving and mirroring (and eight DIMM slots). Other features include an integrated HP Smart Array E200i RAID controller with 64MB cache and support for RAID0,1, support for two SFF SAS or SATA hot plug hard disk drives, two NC373i multifunction GbE server NIC plus one 100mbps NIC dedicated to iLO 2 management, an ATI RN-50 video adaptor with 32MB memory but no optical drive.

Desire worked at ITProPortal right at the beginning and was instrumental in turning it into the leading publication we all know and love today. He then moved on to be the Editor of TechRadarPro - a position he still holds - and has recently been reunited with ITProPortal since Future Publishing's acquisition of Net Communities.