The Challenge: Buying the Acer AC100 Small Business Server
According to Acer, our test system (as configured) costs approximately $1,399 and is available now via resellers in the U.S. Despite our best efforts though, we've had difficulty locating the server for purchase. We did find it for sale on Best Buy's Business website for $1,383.99. However, this unit is equipped with only 4GB of RAM (ours had 8GB).
Another company called Howard Technology sells this same unit for just $1,025.99. However, the servers on both sites were on backorder. Therefore interested buyers should be prepared to spend some time shopping around.
Small Business Server Price Comparison
We looked at two other servers to see where the AC100s stands in the value equation, and it compares pretty well to the competition. A traditional entry-level server from Dell -- the PowerEdge T110 II -- sports a typical mid-tower design. We configured it to match the specs of the AC100 as close as possible. Memory and storage were on par, minus the hot-swappable HDs, making the biggest differentiator the processor.
Equipped with a slower Intel Xeon E3-1220, 3.1 GHz processor, the system lists for $1,603. Upgrading to a significantly faster Intel E3-1230, 3.2 GHz processor adds $60 to the bottom line.
The HP Proliant MicroServer has a similar form-factor to the Acer, but nowhere near the horsepower. It's equipped with only an AMD Turion II Neo N40L 1.5 GHz processor, 8GB of RAM, and dual 500GB hard drives configured in a RAID 1 array (RAID 5 is not an option). This comes housed in non-hot-pluggable drive bays and saddled with a minuscule 150W power supply.
The Proliant offers a 1-year, next-business-day parts replacement warranty, but no onsite support. This configuration will cost you just slightly less than $1,000.
If you're in the market for a powerful, yet inconspicuous server, that has the capability to meet your small business server needs, then the AC100 deserves a closer look. One of the most powerful servers available at this price point, the low-maintenance AC100 doesn't require a dedicated server room, and it offers enough expandability to grow with your business.
It's an ideal solution for a small satellite office or for any small business with fewer than 25 users and minimal technical resources. The only real challenge is finding a place to purchase it.
Ronald V. Pacchiano is a systems integrator and technology specialist with expertise in Windows server management, desktop support and network administration. He is also an accomplished technology journalist, writing product reviews, monthly columns and feature stories for both print and Web-based publications.
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