Boston Value Series 380 G8 review

Reviews 12 Mar, 2012

Boston delivers Supermicro’s first Xeon E5-2600 rack server with a keen focus on high performance network storage applications. It’s good value and in this review, Dave Mitchell takes a closer look at the features on offer.

4
Price: 
£4,149
ex VAT (as reviewed)
Verdict: 
The VS 380 G8 delivers a good combination of Xeon E5 processing power, disk capacity and hardware redundancy making it a fine choice for providing essential network storage services. It won’t be worrying Dell’s new PowerEdge R720 for features and its remote management is very basic, but the VS 380 G8 does represent comparatively good value

To support the launch of Intel’s new eight-core Xeon E5-2600 processors, Supermicro has announced an extensive range of server systems and motherboards.

In this review, we bring you a very early look at one of its first storage servers equipped with these new modules.

Supplied to us by Boston Ltd, the Value Series 380 G8 is an all-Supermicro package that aims to combine the power of the new Xeon E5 processors with plenty of memory and a high storage capacity.

It doesn’t need much imagination to work out which HP server Boston is aiming this system at, but it will be a while before we can compare it to the eighth generation ProLiant DL380 — HP told us it doesn’t expect this model to be available until April, at the earliest.

Built around a Supermicro X9DRi-LN4F+ motherboard, the VS 380 G8 supports all Xeon E5-2600 server processors and the price includes a tasty pair of 2.6GHz E5-2670 Xeons that are in the upper levels of the main eight-core group of Xeon E5 processors. They have 20MB L3 cache, run at the maximum QPI speed of 8GT/sec, and support both Hyper-Threading and the new Turbo Boost 2.0.

The 8-core E5-2670 Xeons are kept cool with large passive heatsinks and three hot-swap fans in front.

Turbo Boost 2.0. allows processor cores to be speeded up briefly beyond their TDP rating. During idle periods, the system accumulates a thermal budget and in times of increased activity this is used to boost core performance for up to 25 seconds.

The Value Series 380 G8 can be packed to the gills with memory, as the motherboard has 24 DIMM sockets and supports up to 768GB – as long as both CPU sockets are populated.

The system reviewed came with 32GB of memory spread across eight 4GB DIMMs and Boston also offers a choice of standard 1.5V and low-voltage 1.35V DIMMs.

Specifications: 

Chassis: 2U rack

Motherboard: Supermicro X9DRi-LN4F+

CPU: 2x 2.6GHz Xeon E5-2670

Memory: 32GB 1333MHz DDR3, expandable to 768GB

Storage: 4x 1TB WD RE4 SATA II hot-swap hard disks

RAID: Supermicro SAS SMC2108 PCI-e RAID with 512MB cache

Array support: RAID 0, 1, 10, 5, 6 , 50, 60

Expansion: 6x PCI-e Gen 3 slots (with dual CPUs)

Network: 4x Gigabit

Power: 2x 920W hot-plug power supplies

Management: Embedded RMM with 10/100 port

Software: Supermicro SuperO Doctor III

Warranty: 3-year on-site NBD