Thanks man. I did initially look at the Dells and showed my boss what they had to offer (no 2 GHz range XEONS
). I also showed him their up-and-coming servers that you had in the above link.
We spec'ed out a few servers based on our requirements (one has to have 1/2 a terabyte of drive space--media servers), the rest are fairly mainstream duals and the cheapest we could get them down to was just under $5,000 with single 36G drives and 1G SDRAM. I did the same thing at Compaq's and IBM's website. I also called around to other vendors (like Appro--who Anandtech went to for their new web/forum/database server rack--wow, talk about salespeople in need of rudimentary technical training; AMS--nice but half-ass components; etc). I popped all the vendors configurations into a 5 page spreadsheet along w/major component prices (processors, HD's, RAM, RAID controllers, cases, KVM's, racks, etc.) and put it on his desk today.
He reads PC World and PC Magazine and he knows the basics of clock speeds, drive capacity, RAM types, etc. Given that Dell, Compaq and IBM's current top-end 1.4 GHz dually boxes cost about double what we can build a top-quality server loaded with the fastest processors (2.4 GHz XEONS go for about $650 each--yow!), maxxed single-box RAID setups and gobs of RAM, it was a rather easy decision for him. Their (Dell, Compaq, IBM, etc.) latest and greatest will surely be priced well beyond what we'd be willing to spend given what we know about component prices.
I mostly agree with him. I probably would go 2.0 GHz to save a couple grand for all the servers and would go with a few 2U cases, but hey, it doesn't bother me much that he wants to drop the extra change. I can build the boxes, it'll just take time and screwing around with 8 different vendors for parts and a full day or two (hours here and there as parts come in) throwing it all together, bolting racks down (he wants open frame racks instead of cabinets--fun), pulling cable, popping blood-blisters, etc.
In the end, we should have some damn nice servers.
I've yet to place the first order though. I'm just waiting for the go ahead.