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Choosing best hardware for S3200SH board - Help?


I have a rudimentary knowledge of how computers work and am looking for some kind soul to help me choose the best hardware setup for a server (and simple explanations of the logic) that is efficient and cost effective without having to take a degree in computer engineering.

The server board I have is an S3200 SHLC which has the 3210 chipset and supports 800/1066/1333MHz FSB and 667/800MHz DDR2 RAM

There are a multitude of compatible processors from the Xeon, Core2 Quad and Core2 Duo families to choose from, all with varying CPU speeds, Bus speeds, Cache size, etc.

The main purpose of the server is to run Windows Server 2008 Enterprise 64bit & Exchange Server or SBS Server.

The easiest thing to do would be to buy the highest spec processor and stick in 8Gb RAM, but I want to know and understand what would be the most efficient setup, leaving a reasonable performance headroom.

I've read so much literature and technical papers my eyes are bulging, but I've (rightly or wrongly) come to the following conclusions.

4Gb RAM, but I don't know whether 667 or 800 would be best or why?

Core2 Duo processor with 1333MHz FSB (based on the thinking that it's best to make use of the highest bus speed the board can support).

Any help, advice, tips or rules of thumb anyone can offer most greatly appreciated.

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It's true, there is a lot of information. Faster can be better, of course - but is it worth the extra money, is the question.

Unfortunately, there's no way to say "okay, if you're only running Exchange then 667 MHz is fine", because there's always more services that are going to be running in the background, and new things will be installed, and programs will sometimes act funny and consume too much processor time, et cetera.

"Most efficient" is going to be the fastest, but if you are on a limited budget, you don't need the fastest. I think you're on the right track.

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