Hardware is one of the most important items in building a server, regardless of its overall purpose. Without enough power or memory to run the necessary applications, the server would subsequently be useless. Depending on its intended usage, however, the hardware may vary slightly. It is often a good idea to sit down and create a plan beforehand. Personally, I live by a rule of thumb that purchasing more than needed is better than having the server become congested or even fail when it is needed the most. For this guide, I will be putting together two different types of servers. The first will be a gaming server, designed to host multiple instances of LAN-based games. The second will be a file/web server, intended to back up data and make items accessible from any computer in a network. As always, hardware can vary depending on your needs; this is just a general overview of a configuration that I would use, based on the available hardware that I have on hand. Keep in mind that any computer can function as a server as long as the necessary software is installed. Therefore, you may even have old parts that can be reused for your server.
Gaming Server: The hardware for gaming servers needs to be robust in order to keep up with the players on the LAN. When putting together a gaming server, there are several key areas to which you must pay attention. Unlike a gaming PC, where the common focus is on the graphics card, a gaming server needs a strong CPU, plenty of RAM, and most importantly, high bandwidth network connections. If you plan on hosting multiple gaming servers, you may even require more than one network interface card. In this guide, I will be designing a gaming server specifically intended to host LAN parties. In terms of chassis, I used the CoolerMaster HAF 932 full tower case. By choosing a tower design rather than a rack mount chassis, it allows the server to be readily movable when required. Coupled with its high airflow capabilities and sleek gamer styling, the case will easily fit in with the LAN party scene while keeping components running cool. For the CPU and motherboard, I chose the AMD Phenom II X4 910e and the Gigabyte GA-MA790FXT-UD5P, respectively.
Check this server guide out at Overclockers Club