I am not sure of the services offered by the hosts above also I would like to say that there are plenty of other hosts around other than the one mentioned by you. But in case you are limiting yourself to these ones only then I would recommend you for theplanet or ev1.
When it comes for the hrd disk type it is recommended for you to go with SATA.
Fastservers don't lease Opterons -- they have an exlusive deal with Dell. As for uptime and support, I can recommend them (about 3 years of experience). You might want to check Rackspace, they also offer high-end solutions. They are very expensive though, and I have no experience with them.
How many small/med sites per box? Ideally with those specs (Id either go SCSI raid 5 or sata raid 10) you could pack a good # of sites per box (depending on how busy they were, how you tuned apache/mysql etc etc).
We've been using supermicro and dell for dual xeons and I like them both. You can fit more drives in the SM's, and they have a smaller chassis, but people just seem to like the dell name.
Based on those names and specs Id look into the gnax offer a bit further, but thats just me.
We have a box at gnax. We wanted to try them. It's a Pentium 4 with 3.0 GHz.
But it's just 1 box. And I just don't have the experience with them to order the Opteron without asking for help. Emergency support at gnax is very good. Very helpful. The Opteron also seems a very good offer.
But I would like to see some network features at gnax that I can order at theplanet, for example: VLAN Filters.
Theplanet has been good. They should have more than 1 payment option. And I would like to see them grow at a slower pace.
My first server was at Ev1. A long, long time ago. Good experience.
And I've heard good things about fastservers.net.
I'm inclined to the Opteron. But I will consider seriously every post on this thread.
If you are considering multiple higher end servers, then look into co-location. I have found that even the "high end" servers at many of the budget hosting companies are actually rather mediocre, especially when it comes to motherboard specs, RAID specs, drive specs.
I have seen many companies stuff fast procs and ram into desktop level equipment and sell it as a beefy server. Under high loads is when you will see the difference.
If you go with a leased solution, find out what RAID controller and drives they are using. Also ask about max RAM capacity.
We save you time, money, and frustration by handling the server management tasks required to run an online business successfully.
No prodding required. We just do it right the first time. Red Hat, MySQL, Plesk, and cPanel certified staff.