Looking to replace my 3yo Dell XPS 410 tower with the ability to setup multiple virtual environments (for research, study). More of a personal/portable mini- server really.
Approximate Purchase Date: 3 weeks / end of January Budget Range: < $800
System Usage from Most to Least Important: Virtualization environments (server OS / Linux / nonstandard OS / dev ) , internet access
Parts Not Required: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, OS
Preferred Website(s) for Parts: no preference but familiar with newegg (USA)
Parts Preferences: micro or mini ATX form for portability, 8-12gb ram, small SSD (64gb?) for the hypervisor / guest OS, graphics not a concern (not a gamer), already have plenty of external storage
Overclocking: No / Maybe SLI or Crossfire: No
Additional Comments: Connection flexibility is important (HDMI would be nice). Storage will primarily be external -prefer eSATA or USB 3.0. Mostly, I'm not clear on the advantages of the different chipsets available and which desktop cpu's are best for VT. I'll go with a XEON if that's what it takes.
There's no way you'll get a XEON in a PC with a budget under $800. One option I hear a lot of people with VM needs use is a Core i7-9xx. The four physical \ eight logical core arrangement, along with triple channel memory and Intel VT seems to be a pretty good combination. However, with your budget that may be a little tight. A somewhat more inexpensive option would be a Core i7-2600, you still get four physical / eight logical cores, but a less expensive platform could help keep costs down. And then there's always the option of a Phenom II X6, although I'm not sure how well it stacks up against a Core i7-9xx or -2600.
Also, 64GB is probably going to be way too small to hold a hypervisor, along with multiple OSes. You'd probably have to go to a 120GB model, and that would totally kill your budget. Although a SSD is certainly a smart addition to a VM system, given the major IO bottleneck multiple VMs run into, I'm not sure you could fit it into your build given your price constraints.
^ Intel is a better performer no doubt, but IMO if you want a value PC, then look into AMD,... 6-Core desktop parts which cost under ~$180, and these also offer VT, as it is just going to be a home/ personal server, I dont think it is necessary to go with Server grade parts,...
I really don't see a good reason to go with a xeon. The only advantages of Xeons over standard desktop cpus are dual/multi processor capabilities, ECC memory, and the ability to run with massive amounts of RAM. All of which aren't don't appear to be of any importance to you. I would wait a few days and for $30 less pick up a sandy bridge i5-2500. Combine that with an inexpensive H67 motherboard that also supports SATA III and USB 3 and you have a good combo.