In one corner, we have the VPS at MyHosting.com. The VPS is an eight processor (its a VPS so its not counted quite the same as an 8 core processor) with 3GB ram and 20GB hard drive space. This is sufficient for the Minecraft server that my son Derrick runs. It costs $27.15 per month.
In the other corner, we have a Athlon 64 X2 4200+ (2.2 GHz dual core processor) with an as-yet-undetermined hard drive, and 3GB ram. To upgrade it from the 1GB to 3GB will cost $25. The next thing I had to figure out- how much will it cost to run?
I did some research, and came up with the following:
1) A system such as this one takes roughly 150w of power to run, at the most.
2) My local utility charges 6.6 cents per kilowatt/hr.
So, take those, and what do you get? Math.
|Watts x Hours Used|
---------------------------- x Cost per kilowatt-hour = Total Cost
|(Borrowed from http://michaelbluejay.com/electricity/computers.html)|
So, plug in the numbers. There are 730 hours in the average month. Take 730 times 150 watts, divide by 1000 and you get 109.5 killowatt hours used, and at 6.6 cents per kw/hr that's 722.7 cents, or $7.23/mo.
VPS: $27.15/mo or $325/yr
Home: $7.23/mo or $86.76/yr
Extrapolate that into a year, and thats $238/yr saved! For that money, I can afford to replace the power supply or hard drive in the home server if it dies. Its a LOT cheaper.
Things not taken into account: If our home power or internet goes down, so does our server. Also, home IP numbers are prone to change now and then. For the simple gaming server, we can deal with that for $238/yr savings. On the other hand, my business website can't afford to go down, and so a simple VPS with 512mb ram is plenty to run that. That costs me $6/mo over at Burst.net and is well worth the price. Its gone down once because of an abusive user on the same node (the hardware that runs several VPS's at once) and is very reliable. I can use that to run the website for the game server if need be.
Overall it is VERY cost effective for us to run the home server.
Edit: Change of plans! We moved to a new home that only has DSL, and its not very fast... So what did we do? Check out this post, it goes into more detail.