Server/network topography

I have been trying to get a server up and running, I am very much in the research phase right now. The main thing I am debating between is building my own or finding cheap used servers on eBay. I have had some luck finding aging but still functional servers on eBay that are usually rack mounted. If I was to go with building my own, I would run FreeNAS and run everything I need off of that (Plex, file storage, etc). If I buy a used server, based on the prices I was finding, I could get two of them and use one as a file server exclusively and use a second one to run all the applications like Plex.

I have no experience with the best way to setup servers on the network so I would just like to know if one of these situations looks better than the other. I have yet to make a decision yet so any input would be greatly appreciated. My goal would be to not spend more than $1000 total on this project. Thanks!

I would say that building is usually better unless you can get a really good deal. Also, as far as setting up on the network? I suppose most, like myself just set it up as another device, preferably with a nice gigabit connection at least. If you wanted to do something like DnsMasq you can pretty easily set it up under a domain so that you don't have to use all IPs.

I posted a while back about my own server setup if it gives you any ideas.