By: Noorez Khamis (http://www.khamis.net)
I decided to write my own installation instruction guide that will guide you through the creation of a small farm on 3-tier server architecture on the SharePoint 2010 platform within a domain. Hopefully this will be of help to some of you.
This guide makes complete uses of the user interfaces supplied by Microsoft for the installation and configuration of SharePoint 2010. I personally like PowerShell scripts that do it all automatically, but I haven’t found good ones that do everything I outline below.
Disclaimer: This is not a perfect guide, I’m sure I have made some errors and omissions but it is a combination of my learning’s and resources that have been published. If you find some errors and/or things that I am missing, please give me a comment and I’ll update the blog.
To start out: a description of small farm architecture:
Small farm architectures serve a larger number of users and scale out based on how heavily services are used. Due to the greater number of services, including client Web applications, more requests per user are expected in the new version compared with the old version. 
These farms normally have one dedicated application server and one or two web servers: