I assemble the server as much as possible. The easiest way to go about it is to buy an old system and open it up. Then start adding upgrades or removing stuff, learn as you go along.
I wanted a Workstation and had bought myself a Dell Workstation from Sim Lim, it was S$300. Now it was old from 2009 but it worked pretty well. It had one Xeon E5420 processor with socket for a second one. It came with only 4GB RAM though
Then came the upgrades…
purchased 32GB RAM (refurbished) for 100USD from Amazon. Mind you these are ECC Fully Buffered memory modules which are typically more expensive than consume grade ram.
I added some bigger and new Sata drives which I keep spare lying around.
Added a second Xeon Processor but the had to buy Heatsink separately as the Workstation could not fit the stock one.
So for another 550 S$ I had a decent Dual processor server running CentOS7
Unfortunately some of the RAM was bad so I had to remove them and left with 16GB. Still more than enough. Bad RAM can wreak havoc and corrupt files. Lots of downtime and repairing LVM (which is not pleasant experience). With the defective ram gone things were normal for the most part, no downtime no hangs.
It lasted over an year but now the system is pretty much dead. I can still make it work and use for testing but I prefer the new system which has enough capacity and power to run a few Virtual machines.
If you want to learn Linux or server hosting, I highly recommend getting a cheap or even refurbished system and starting with Ubuntu which is more user friendly. but don’t spend too much money on it and assume it will die anytime.
I am more than happy to help if anyone wants to setup a server or learn linux.