Compute server for $500-$1000?

If I would like to spend between $500 and $1000 on a compute-intensive system (or two), what do people recommend? I am trying to run some scientific calculations, and would prefer a solution that I can expand if I get more budget. I am also looking for a good value, so I would prefer to spend $500 to get X rather than spend $1000 to get X * 1.1.

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More about compute server 1000
  1. Is the software you are using multi-core aware (ie can it use more than 1 core)?
  2. The code I am writing may not be multi-core aware, but I anticipate that I will explicitly launch several simultaneous computation jobs.
  3. i think a Shuttle 68SG2 offers a good value. they're about $200 for the barebones system, case and motherboard and cables. then you have to add the CPU etc.

    it doesn't sound like you need mega graphics card.

    i guess if you go the Shuttle route, the trick is finding a system that will take the RAM you need.
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