Build an Amazing Home Lab With These DDR3 Motherboards

Build an Amazing Home Lab With These DDR3 Motherboards

There is a strong temptation towards getting the newest and hottest tech, but building your home lab with the shiny new tech means spending significantly more than you may have expected. You may go through your entire budget and still need expensive components to get your home server working the way you need it to. 

Rather than spending thousands of dollars on the newest boards, CPUs, and RAM, you could spend less than $200 for the same components by stepping back a couple generations. In this pricing guide, we will pack some of our DDR3 motherboards with high-end CPUs and RAM to show how little you need to spend to start building your next home server. 

It should be obvious that enterprise servers should be expensive. If you need to run your business from your server, you want the best system available, and you need that server to last years. However, if you are building a server to manage your digital media or to automate some tasks within your house, you can get the most bang for your buck without spending more than $1,000. 

Supermicro X9SCL+-F Motherboard, Intel Xeon E3-1270 v2, 32GB DDR3 ECC 1600MHz RAM - $128 

This motherboard is a great choice for anyone trying to build a home server! This motherboard offers 3 PCIe slots and 6 SATA slots. The Intel Xeon E3-1270 v2 offers 4 cores, 8 threads, and a base frequency of 3.5GHz. This build only costs $128, allowing most home lab builders loads of budget for a case, power supply, expansion cards, and hard drives. Like most of our build-your-own-system bundles, there are several ways to save even more money, either with a different CPU or less RAM. 

Supermicro X9SCi-LN4F Server Board, Intel Xeon E3-1270 v2, 16GB DDR3 Unbuffered ECC 1333MHz RAM - $84 

One of our favorite server boards, the X9SCi-LN4F offers 6 SATA ports with RAID support. Plus, after loading it with a great CPU and a full stack of RAM, this bundle costs less than $100! This server board lacks PCIe support, offering one PCI slot and one PCIe 2.0 x16 slot, so expansions can become an issue. However, if you’re testing the waters of server management, this setup gives you loads of options for a tiny price. 

One thing that makes the X9SCi-LN4F a great server board is its compatibility with legacy systems. Some data centers are required to maintain older systems, and this board’s reliability makes it a popular choice for engineers maintaining DDR3 servers. 

If you are building a home lab, the $84 price tag on this bundle leaves plenty of spending power for drives, a power supply, and a case. 

Supermicro X8DT6-F-EM09B Server Board, Dual Intel Xeon X5690, 192GB RDIMM DDR3 1866MHz RAM - $409 

The most interesting aspect of buying previous generation systems is how much muscle you can get with a small budget. This dual-processor server board offers 12 DIMM slots, supporting up to 192GB DDR3 RAM. When we packed it with dual CPUs and a full stack of RAM, it still cost less than $500. 

The Intel Xeon X5690 offers 6 cores, 12 threads, and a base frequency of 3.46GHz. Double those stats for this build, and you start to see how much power you can get for a tiny price tag. 

The X8DT6-F-EM09B offers 6 SATA2 and 8 SAS ports with RAID support. It also has 3 PCIe 2.0 x8 and 1 PCIe 2.0 x4 expansion slots, as well as a single IMPI 2.0 port with full KVM support. For home lab enthusiasts thinking of getting into data management, this bundle is a great low-risk choice for building your first enterprise system. 

Supermicro X10SLH-N6-ST031 Server Board, Intel Xeon E3-1271 v3, 32GB Unbuffered ECC DDR3 1600MHz - $175 

The X10SLH-N6-ST031 is a reliable server board made with longevity in mind. It supports SATA3 at 6 Gbps and SATA2 at 3 Gbps. It offers 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports and a single dedicated IPMI port. 

The bundled Intel Xeon E3-1271 v3 offers 4 cores, 8 threads, and a base frequency of 3.6 GHz, making it a great server processor. Additionally, this bundle is packed with 32GB UDIMM ECC DDR3 1600MHz RAM. Its price tag of less than $200 makes it a great option, as you will have plenty of money left over for drives, expansion cards, a case, and a power supply. 

Supermicro X9SCL-F Motherboard, Intel Xeon E3-1270 v2, 32GB DDR3 ECC 1600MHz - $222 

The X9SCL-F is a great workstation motherboard. Its mATX form factor makes it easy to fit in smaller cases, but its small size does not reduce its functionality. This board offers 3 PCIe slots and 6 SATA ports. We packed it with an Intel Xeon E3-1270 v2, one of our favorite DDR3-compatible CPUs, as well as 32GB ECC RAM. All you will need to do with this bundle is pop it into a case, attach a power supply, and connect your hard drives. With the money left in your budget, you can take yourself out to dinner! 


Unless you are running an enterprise data center, you should not need the most expensive tech available today. You can build a home lab to store your digital media or automate some of your tasks without spending thousands of dollars. We offer several bundles for under $1,000, and all of the DDR3 systems featured in this article are under $500, leaving you plenty of money in your budget for a nice case, power supply, and hard drives. 

If you have questions about your next build, including additional options or complete custom servers, contact us by email or leave a comment. We want to help you build your next system, whether it is an enterprise server, a workstation, or a home lab.

Back to blog

Leave a comment