PowerSpec B318 $399 - 10 minute setup
I bought a new computer for my home lab very recently that supports ESXi 4.1 and most importantly Windows 2008R2 x64. I bought it from MicroCenter and it cost $427 delivered to my front door.
It's a PowerSpec B318 with an Intel Pentium Dual Core Processor E5400, 2gb RAM and a 500gb SATA hard drive. Very importantly for me, it's nice and quiet and doesn't consume massive amounts of electricity like a Dell or HP server would. The motherboard has two memory slots and supports a maximum of 8gb.http://www.powerspec.com/systems/system ... ction=B318
The onboard NIC doesn't work with ESXi 4.1, so I had to buy an Intel Pro/1000 MT on eBay for $10. ESXi 4.1 wants 4gb RAM, so I bought an extra 4gb module from Crucial for $118 (4GB DDR3-1333 UDIMM 240Pin) delivered, which bumped total RAM up to 6gb.
I dropped in the ESXi 4.1 CD and after 90 seconds of booting and loading drivers it was ready to install. The complete installation took 90 seconds. After a reboot I set a static IP address and entered a root password. From vSphere I enabled remote tech support, which allows me to SSH into the server and also to use WinSCP to copy ISO's of Windows 2003, 2008, 2008R2, XP and Win7 to it. Total ESXi setup time is less than 10 minutes!
I installed Windows 2008R2 in about 30 minutes.
I'd bought some extra 500gb SATA drives from Frys over the summer and installed them as well, so I've got more than one datastore. The reason I bought 500gb hard drives is that VMware doesn't recommend going above that size for performance reasons and in my lab, I want to emulate as closely as I can a real life setup.
PowerSpec B318 - 2gb, 500gb and x64bit CPU $427
Intel Pro/1000 NIC - $10
4gb RAM - $118
500gb hard drive (two) $100