At 5-15 users at one time, your forum is very small. You could really do this on a regular hosting account. However if you are set on a VPS or dedicated, I would go with a quality VPS from a reliable company. The 'cheapo' dedicated servers are almost never a smart idea if you want a reliable network or good support.
If you go with a quality hosting provider (do some research) then you should be able to serve your forum just fine and have plenty of room to grow. Although, if you are worried about oversold servers/lack of resources or you need a custom configuration (ie. custom php configs/apache modules) then I would recommend a minimal VPS.
spend the extra money on a dedicated, preferrably a p4/A64+ system over the celeron. At 300 user accounts it wont be long before you outgrow a vps and have to move again. Might as well bite the bullet and get the dedicated now
Im debating on either getting a pretty good VPS or a cheap dedicated server!
This will be used to run a forum with 5-15 users online at a time and bunch of free hosted sites.
Here are my two options:
VPS will be on a Dual Core Dual Xeon 3.0GHz, 16GB Ram, 300x2 GB SCSI RAID 1 Dell PowerEdge Server!
20 GB of Space
350 GB of Bandwidth
384 MB of Guaranteed Ram
768 MB of Burstable Ram
Dedicated Server Option:
Intel Celeron 2.0 GHz
256 KB Cache/266 MHz FSB
1024 MB DDR SDRAM
80 GB SATA Hard Drive
10 Mbps Switch Port
1000 GB Data Transfer
Which one would be faster, and better for me?
Personally, I'd say go with a small P4 server.
And overall, a Celeron with that much ram will benchmark higher than the VPS as on that server, they can have 42 accounts all with 384 guaranteed ram.
█ Matthew Rosenblatt, and I do lots of things.
█ Currently a Master Electrician on Broadway.
█ My company, BurstAV, specializes in A/V Systems Design and integration.
█ I also own ConcertCables. We build power/data cables for the entertainment industry.
Also, would a 2.0 Celeron better than an AMD Sempron 64 2800+?
The Sempron will definitely beat the 2.0 Celeron, Celerons in my opinion are at the bottom of the CPU tree.
The 256 KB Cache means that you have 256 KB of ultra fast memory directly on the processor to store data that is frequently used from RAM. Generally the more cache you have, the better your server will perform (in most applications). I try to select CPUs with at least 512KB of L2 cache on all my boxes, if not 1MB.