Cheapest hardware for small Home Server

Feb 2, 2018
Hi everyone, I'm thinking about building a small form factor server pc for home.

We do some freelance 3d work at home which requires network software licenses and the goal for this PC is to install some floating license servers, small database and maybe some python scripts. So it will not have a very demanding CPU usage since we only have 2 or 3 pcs at home that will be interacting with it. I already own a NAS so I dont need it to have much hard drive space either.

Things to consider:
-Should be as small as possible (Thin Mini ATX maybe? Can it be even smaller?)
-The server will be running 24/7 using windows so should be low power consumption
-I was thinking 4 core CPU and 8GB of ram
-No need for GPU so it should have integrated graphics.
-I don't mind purchasing used parts if they will be much cheaper.

Other things to consider:

I will soon purchase a new workstation and I was thinking of selling the parts of my old workstation but I might be able to use some of them for this server instead of selling them?

Current workstation parts I could use for server:
-6 core i7-3930K (Probably too much heat for such a small form factor case)
-32 GB ram 4X8GB DDR3-1600 (Could grab 8 gb ram from here)
-Intel 520 Series 120GB 2.5IN SSD (Could use this as harddrive)

I've been looking at the new Intel NUC pc's would it be better just to get one of these instead?

Any help would be very appreciated!
Many thanks

Feb 2, 2018

I have a WD My Cloud Pro PR4100, I don't think I can run a VM on it.



OK, yeah....that won't work.

Feb 2, 2018
After doing some more search this is what ive found so far.

I've been looking at the smaller Silverstone cases, and I really like the size of "Silverstone PT13-B" which is also recommended in this post:

a) Thin Mini ITX (for 6.7 x6.7 inch motherboard with thin profile):
For that case the cheapest I've found is the "PT13B-120" (which comes with the vertical stand holder and the 120w power brick) for $168 CAD
or just the case by itself for $124 CAD. Altho these options are very nice for the size i feel like the price is a bit high for what I need and also I would need to purchase a low profile heatsink and fan.

b) Mini STX (for 5 x 5 inch motherboard):
A bit taller case is the "VT02B" which goes for just $52 CAD but comes with no power brick, I believe those can be purchased for around $25 CAD may be?
Being a bit taller it can accept the fans that come with Intel CPUs so there is no need to purchase a low profile heatsink


a) Thin Mini ITX(6.7 x 6.7 inch):
The cheapest I can find is the "ASUS H110T/CSM" for $110 CAD.

b) Mini STX ( 5 x 5 inch):
I'm having trouble finding Mini STX motherboards in Canada, they seem to be out of stock now:
-Asus H110S2/CSM
-Gigabyte H110MSTX: $124 CAD
-ASRock H110M-STX


Since these motherboards are all LGA-1151 there are a lot of CPU's compatible. Looking at Celeron, i3 and i5 (i7 is probably too much for what i need).
I'm wondering which cpu will give me the best bang for the buck, also if its a very popular cpu i can get it very discounted by purchasing it used. Any suggestions on specific models?