You mean Windows Home
Server 2011 vs Windows Server Essentials 2012? What sort of server duties do you require?
The most interesting feature WSE2012 brings, imo, is ReFS. But I don't think that's worth the cost.
For simple home use, I'd probably just go with a copy of Windows 8 Pro. Win8 has the new Storage Spaces, drive-extender-like functionality which was dropped in WHS 2011. Most typical home server services can be achieved with other, free, software.
- Media streaming: Plex Home Server, UPnP/DLNA, Google Play/Amazon Cloud ($)/iTunes Match ($)
- File Backup: Crashplan
- System Image: Windows Backup + Network Share
- Remote Access: Teamviewer
- VPN: Hamachi
- Web Services: IIS or Apache
- Database: SQL Server Express, MySQL, Postgres, etc...
- SSH/SFTP: cygwin
Probably more hassle to setup, but a helluva lot cheaper.
Also consider something like FreeNAS or other *nix home servers.