Dell PowerEdge R815

Reviews 17 Jan, 2012

Dell is the first blue chip to deliver a quad socket server using AMD’s new Bulldozer architecture. It looks like good value, so read Dave Mitchell’s review to see if it moves the earth.

4
Price: 
£8,781
(as reviewed) ex VAT
Verdict: 
With its quartet of 16-core Opteron 6200s and high memory capacity, the PowerEdge R815 is a particularly good candidate for virtualisation and as a server consolidation platform. It packs a lot of useful features into its compact 2U chassis, has a high expansion potential, and is more power efficient and far better value than Xeon 7500 based systems.

With the launch of its ‘Interlagos’ Opteron 6200 processors, AMD has staked its claim to the world’s one and only 16-core processor and Dell steps in as the first blue-chip server vendor to deliver one in a production server. For this review, we looked at the updated PowerEdge R815 — a four-socket (4P) platform — but Dell also offers the 2P PowerEdge R715.

Along with virtualisation, Dell is aiming the R815 at businesses looking to consolidate their existing servers into fewer, more energy efficient, systems. For a 2U server, the R815 packs a heck of lot into a compact chassis. The review system came equipped with four 2.1GHz 16-core Opteron 6272 processors and the listed price includes a healthy 128GB of low-voltage RDIMM memory, too.

Dell supports the entire Opteron 6200 range, which offers a real mixed bag of core counts: one 4-core, two 8-core, two 12-core and five 16-core models. The 6272 modules in the review system have a 115W rating, but other 16-core options range from the 85W 1.6GHz 6262HE to the power-hungry 140W 2.6GHz 6282SE.

Along with virtualisation, Dell is aiming the R815 at businesses looking to consolidate their existing servers into fewer, more energy efficient, systems. It certainly scores highly in the latter department, as our power tests show it to be easy on the utility supply. Our R815 had two hot-pluggable redundant 1100W power supplies and our in-line meter recorded a draw of 297W with Windows Server 2008 R2 idling.

Using the SiSoft Sandra benchmarking app, we saw peak power usage climb to around 660W. To put this in perspective, a Dell PowerEdge R810 with a pair of 2GHz Intel X6550 Xeons and the same amount of memory pulled 392W in idle and 558W under peak load. Considering the R810 server had 16 physical cores, as opposed to 64 in the R815, the energy consumption benefits of the Opteron 6200 are quite clear.

Specifications: 

Chassis: 2U rack

CPU: 4x 2.1GHz 16-core AMD Opteron 6272

Memory: 128GB DDR3 LV RDIMM expandable to 512GB

Storage: 6x 73GB Dell 15K SFF 6Gbps SAS hard disks in hot-swap carriers

RAID: Dell PERC H700 with 512MB cache and BBU

Array support: RAID 0, 1, 10, 5, 50, 6

Expansion: 6x PCI-e 2.0

Network: 4x Gigabit

Power: 2x 1100W hot-plug supplies

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

Software: Dell Management Console

Warranty: 3-year ProSupport on-site NBD