I'm about to buy a server, for a Django system (Ubuntu + Django + nginx + postgresql) I have two options:
Dual Intel Xeon 5420 16GB DDR2 240GB SSD
I7-2600 16GB DDR3 240GB SSD
Which of these setups would you recommend?
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My main computer (at it now) is an i7-2600k. I built it myself, installed Windows 7 Ultimate, and have run it for years. It's getting old, but I still love it. Best home computer I've ever built or owned.
However, I completely disagree with @Natsu. The i7-2600k is not a server CPU:
Now, this is assuming you are getting ECC RDIMM memory with the Xeon setup, and the motherboard supports the X5450 (it should, same CPU family). If not, then you aren't getting a true server, but rather a glorified home computer. I build and use both types of machines, "home/small business" desktops and full-on enterprise servers. The difference in memory is worth it if you want reliability. What is the difference? You know those random crashes, lockups, or errors that just don't make any sense? Unrecoverable memory errors are often the cause, and with Non-ECC Unbuffered RAM, they occur about once a month, while with ECC Buffered RAM, they happen about once a year. Power issues, heat, sunspots, proximity to nearest nuclear power plant, and many other factors affect these rates, but that's about average, 1/mo vs 1/yr.
Make sure to get a server chassis, not some Rosewill or Corsair case, if up time is important to you. Multiple hot-swap fans, dual hot-swap power supplies, hot-swap drive bays, out-of-band management, all contribute to the qualities that make a server a server.
I buy HP Proliant DL380 G6's: 4x 1Gbps NICs + iLO mgmt port, 6Gbps SAS RAID controller w/512MB cache, 2x 72GB 10k SAS drives, 2x450W hotswap power supplies, 2x E5504 Quad core 2.0GHz, 8GB DDR3 ECC RDIMM @ 1333, for $85.
I can upgrade to 2x X5660 Hexa-core @ 2.8GHz for $50, and put in 8x 146GB 15k SAS drives in RAID10 (584GB yield) for $80 (refurbished). Memory prices constantly change, but right now 2x 8GB ECC RDIMMs is $25, so $300 will max out the machine w/24 sticks for 192GB RAM.
Add misc. cords, some more RAM, rails, spare parts, tax, shipping, $300-$400 total for a great little server. Since I'm buying refurbished, I like to keep 25% replacement on-hand: I get 2 extra drives for every array of 8 (one server), and 1 extra power supply for every 2 servers (each having 2 PS in them). In over three years, I've had one drive die (RAID10, so I swapped it out, no problem), one motherboard die (when we moved to a new building, hmmmm...) and no power supply, CPU, NIC, or memory problems.
I don't know where you are or what's available to you, but my advice is this: If you need a server, buy a server. These 10 year old HP's do a great job on the cheap, and they are but one possibility.