seen loads of poweredge 1850 on ebay claiming to be in good working order. it still seems like a reasonable spec server i.e. 2 x 146gb hard drives, raid controller, 2 x 3ghz xeons, 4gb ram, redundant power supply. however guessing these have been used for a couple years already full time and so just wandering how likely it is that parts are going to fail. i.e. are parts likely to fail such as memory, psu, hard drives, mother board over buying a new server like a r200? realise its power hungry in comparison but if parts last another 2 years it will probably work out cheaper.
one question on r200, can it fit a redundant power supply? i noticed the dell website shows one as standard but don't see a option when in purchase section to buy a redundant one.
I've bought several 2nd hand servers, and so far hardware wise I've had no problems. One machine (a raq4) was retired after 5 years of continuous service. I also have a 2nd hand proliant dl580 (4 years) & dl360 (1 year) that runs great.
Between the servers, I've only lost 2 drives to failure out of a total of 14 drives.
My experience has been anything that moves will eventually break, so first thing first replace all the fans on this server, from cpu fans to ps fans, I would also find some extra drives, this way if ever a drive fails you can easily replace it, these servers with some TLC could last for a few years.