I've got an HP Proliant Microserver sitting in a closet doing what it does. It's on 24 hours, it gets used for serving files and converting an occasional DVD for XBMC. That's about it.
I've been reading a lot about mining and I'm thinking about pre-ordering a Jalepeno from Butterfly Labs just for fun. It's fairly cheap, I'm not looking to get rich, just learn something and break even. I've got cheap electricity costs (about $0.065 in summer and $0.05 in winter) so I thought this might be possible.
My question is, does anyone have dual purpose mining computers? I read a lot about getting low power CPUs just to connect your FPGA to, but could I plug in one of these little USB guys (assuming they ever come out) and have my server continue to serve while the ASIC mines?
I built a highly impractical GPU miner with 3x7970s as a gaming PC/miner - I just set the GPUs to dynamic difficulty and I can actually play games at 60fps whilst still mining @1.2Ghash or so in the background
The rest of the time, ~1.85Ghash/s
If you've got electricity that cheap I'd look into getting some cheap GPUs, as they will still be worth something if BFLs ASICs make it out before february and ruin your GPU mining fun
I built a mining/gaming computer with 3X6970, 16gb ddr3 mem, intel i2600k, asus maximus IV extreme p67 b3 mobo -- the works. I can mine with it and play games and do full-on music production with it simultaneously.
I opted for the 4-year warranty so I don't have to worry about 24/7 usage. I get free electricity and have already recouped 1/2 of my investment in 7 months through mining profits and trading. Plus, I'll still be able to sell this thing for $1000-$1500 in 3 years. I have 3 Jalapenos on the way but I still plan on being able to mine with the 6970's for at least a good year and still see decent returns.
Essentially I just bought a "free" kick ass computer