VMWare ESXi - Least Expensive hardware to run

Hi, I'd like to build a system (rather than purchase pre-built) whose main purpose would be to install ESXi to host a few desktops. I have reviewed the HCL list but this seems limited to more expensive server systems and hardware. In particular I'd like to be able to run off of a normal SATA drive rather than SAS or SCSI. Is this possible? Reasonably easy to do? This isn't a production system, I will use it personally in lab so I was looking for ways to save a little $$ and still use ESXi. Does anyone have a similar setup and would like to explain their experience?

thanks!
goldylamontAsked:
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Paul SolovyovskySenior IT AdvisorCommented:
I am using a HP DL320 G5 with a dual core 2.4 CPU.  Ebay cost was $400 and an upgrade to two 300GB SATA Drives and memory to about $600.

You can always look at this site for a whitebox config.

http://ultimatewhitebox.com/

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aldanchCommented:
The following link lists all motherboards and unsupported servers that work with ESX 3.5 and / or ESXi 3.5 Installable: http://www.vm-help.com/esx/esx3.5/Whiteboxes_SATA_Controllers_for_ESX_3.5_3i.htm

Here's another tip: Boot ESXi via USB - http://www.vm-help.com/esx/esx3i/Boot%203i%20from%20USB%20flash%20drive.html

Let me know if you need additional instructions with the setup. It's fairly straight forward.

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easyDKCommented:
Tried ESXi on garbage collection (Single Celeron on ICH7, 3GB RAM, 5x SATA 250GB) with  spare LSI. Uptime some 2,5 months.
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W1lJam35Commented:
I've tried this on two laptops with SATA drives. I get "Unable to find a supported device to write VMWARE server..."
Just tried it on HP Proliant ML330. It won't boot the CD. I get "isolinux: Disk error F3"
All seem to be related to disk. Any ideas?
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Paul SolovyovskySenior IT AdvisorCommented:
Try to download and reburn the ISO.  I've had it fail on me before
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goldylamontAuthor Commented:
i will try out the USB booting option at some point however it looks like I will need iSCSI storage; I have SATA which is the problem. thanks for sharing your experiences though.
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