I'm somewhat of a dedicated server novice, so I can use some help with comparing these two. A word about the companies: I'm currently with 3essentials.com shared hosting and am VERY happy. My site loads fast, and support tickets are responded to relatively fast, and efficiently. liquidweb.com was recommended to me by a relative who used to be a client of theirs, and who says their support was superb.
Trying to spec relatively comparable servers, liquidweb seems to be cheaper. Also, they are a lot quicker to set it up (5-10 hours) vs 3E which can take 1-7 days, depending on whether they have the requested hardware "in stock". This in itself makes me feel that LW is a better choice. The way I see It, it shows they're a more established company with more/better resources. Also, if I would have to upgrade in a hurry, for example, to handle a big traffic influx, it would happen a lot quicker with LW.
Anyway, here's what I specced out at http://www.3essentials.com/windows-dedicated-managed-servers.asp
These are both Window plans.
3E - M202 plan, $395 a month ($99 setup fee):
Xeon Dual Core - 3.0Ghz
1 GB Ram
80 GB Raid 1
IP addresses: 5
1500 GB transfer
LW offers the following for $364 with a $150 setup fee:
Dual Xeon Quad Core - 1.6 GHZ per core
2 GB Ram
120 GB Raid 1
4000 GB transfer (2000 + 2000, not sure about 3E offering)
At first sight, LW seems to be offering a lot more for the money. There are, however, a few differences which may make up the difference:
First of all 3E includes something they call "Managed Enterprise Firewall". The only firewall option with LW is an additional $100 a month. In addition 3E includes mailenable mail server, while LW doesn't seem to offer any mail. On the other hand 3E doesn't offer phone support, while LW does.
Ok, that's all I can think of right now. There may be important factors I've missed. What do you think?