Used Dell tower server as a cheap high-end workstation


I am looking for a fast and cheap computer that I would run XP Pro 64-bit on (absolutely NO Vista or 7 crap). My budget is $400-$500 max, which kinda limit options for new PCs, so I was looking at used tower servers or high-end workstations to run simulation software, no games. I have a bunch of drives, so storage is not the issue. I can get an XP Pro license separately.

I need something relatively QUIET, not much more than a regular desktop computer, as I will be sitting next to it while working, and I don't want noise distraction. That's why I am looking at used TOWER servers vs. rack-mounted ones, which I know would be cheaper. I prefer Dell but would be open to other brands if significantly better.

I was comparing for example a Dell SC440 and a SC1430 tower servers with either one or two Xeon 2.2GHz dual core around $400 used, along with a Dell Precision 670 with dual (old) Xeon 2.8GHz, around $200-$300 used, all with 4GB RAM and a basic drive (again I'll take care of storage).

Any suggestion one way or another, regarding performance ? My emulation software is single-threaded for now, but I want to run it along with other applications I would be using, so I don't want to be slowed down by it, but I need it on the same machine.

Any other quiet servers (not too bulky, hence tower preferred), or high-end cheap used workstations, or even new ones with good upgrade potential? any deals from Dell you know about?

I might repurpose it later on as a cheap storage server, but that's not a primary concern.

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  1. XP 64 has driver issues - and some hardware may have no 64bit support for XP. I understand your worrie about Vista, but Windows 7 is a much better Os
  2. ulysses35 said:
    XP 64 has driver issues - and some hardware may have no 64bit support for XP. I understand your worrie about Vista, but Windows 7 is a much better Os

    Thank Ulysses. You are right about XP 64 driver issues, but that's what I am looking for. I agree Windows 7 is a better OS than Vista, but pretty much anything would be, and both our IT department and I have evaluated it and found it unsuitable for our company. Also performance is still subpar compared to XP Pro, and not just on netbooks. Don't always trusts online articles that could be heavily *subsidized* by M$.

    Anyway, the point of my question was not about OS, as I specified I was interested in XP 64, but regarding Dell hardware server that would be suitable for a workstation.

    Since I didn't get any feedback on my specific question, I did some more research myself, and found out that Dell Precision 390 and 490 workstations support quad CPUs, and fit within my $400-$500 budget range, so I got one with XP 64 bit, and have been very happy so far. I guess I didn't have to consider server hardware after all. And it's super quiet.

    Thanks again!
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