Dell PowerEdge R815 review

Dell is first to market with a quad socket Opteron 6100 server. It looks very affordable and in this review we see whether it’s the ideal 4P platform for SMBs.

15 Jul, 2010
ex. VAT
As the first 4P Opteron 6100 server to market, Dell’s new PowerEdge R815 sets a high standard for the rest to follow. Compared with the latest Xeon 7500 systems, the R815 and its quartet of 12-Core Opterons makes for a far more cost-effective option for SMBs looking to consolidate older 1U and 2U servers or provide a highly expandable virtualisation platform.

AMD’s launch of its Opteron 6100 processors throws the gauntlet down to Intel as it aims to remove the price barrier that has traditionally held SMBs back from moving up to 4-socket systems.

Intel’s Xeon 7500 processors certainly deliver a host of features and a massive core count but as we’ve seen in our exclusive reviews of IBM’s System x3850 X5 and Fujitsu’s Primergy RX600 S5, their price point puts them way beyond the means of the majority of SMBs.

Dell is making a habit of delivering new server technology to market ahead of the competition and it does it yet again with the PowerEdge R815 as this is the first commercially available Opteron 6100 server. Our review system came supplied with a quartet of the latest 12-Core Opteron 6174 modules and its comparatively low price tag makes it a strong contender for cost-conscious businesses looking to improve their rack density.

The R815 shares the same behavioural design concept offered by all the latest PowerEdge servers. The use of many similar components means that if your support staff know how to service one PowerEdge server then most components should be easily recognisable on all other models.

In fact, this server takes many features from the higher-end PowerEdge R810 which we exclusively reviewed in our sister title,PC Pro. It comprises the same 2U rack chassis where the front panel is split into two sections horizontally with the lower half providing a clear air flow through the chassis.

You have six hot-swap SFF disk bays in the upper half of the front panel and Dell offers a choice of SATA, SAS and SDD drives. The review system looks even better value as it included a quintet of 147GB 6Gb/sec SAS SFF hard disks plus Dell’s PERC H700 RAID card.


Chassis: 2U rack

CPU: 4 x 2.2GHz AMD 6174 12-core Opteron

Memory: 64GB DDR3 1333MHz RDIMM expandable to 256GB

Storage: Dual 1GB SD cards; 5 x 147GB Dell 10K.3 SFF 6Gb/s SAS hard disks in hot-swap carriers

RAID: Dell PERC H700 with 512MB cache and BBU

Array support: RAID0, 1, 10, 5, 50, 6

Expansion: 6 x PCI-e 2.0

Network: 4 x Gigabit

Power: 2 x 1023W hot-plug supplies

Management: iDRAC6 Enterprise with VFlash/SD Card and 10/100 port

Software: Dell Management Console