Frank_Rizzo - 9:08 am on Nov 9, 2011 (gmt 0)
Wait until the new year when Ivy Bridge is out. You will be able to get a better deal / spec then.
Of course, you will still have the dilemma of choosing between the desktop and Xeon parts ....
Forget Xeon / desktop. Just go for the best value. Both will be very reliable and be similar spec. Both will work 24/7. But certainly go for Ivy Bridge first, Sandy Bridge second as these now use much less power than the other chips.
Take advantage of the ridiculous price of RAM at the moment too. The part most likely to fail first is the hard disk. If you can put in as much RAM as the box and the OS can take then you will help reduce disk usage and thus it is less likely the disk will fail for years.
I would check out sites like Crucial for the RAM upgrade as you can save hundreds buying compatible parts, rather than letting Dell profit from the up sell.
One other point: Noise. The lower power Ivy Bridge and Sandy Bridge produce less heat and thus require less fans. But if you buy a tower server rather than a tower desktop there may be extra noisy fans in there. Best to wait until some of the reviews are out.