Neither of them seems to use that much memory. So a lean Windows 7 install seems like it would be good, as long as I throw it a high-end CPU. But it seems like you’d need GPU power to bring down the render time. Or is there other, dedicated hardware that would be better?
I’ve been contemplating building a decently powered server box to sequester in my closet. Something I can host virtual machines on to play with remotely (e.g. an always-on vpn vm), host any wired devices like SAN storage, printer, etc. But I don’t want to spend mega bucks.