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NEC Express5800 120Rg-1

Step 3: NEC Express5800 120Rg-1
Price
£2,699
  • High performance SAS storage, very good built quality and design, remarkably low operational noise levels.
  • Room for only three hard disks, integrated RAID supports stripes and mirrors, no browser access to management port.

For some time now NEC has been sourcing its rack server solutions from MSI so the 120Rg-1 is, in fact, a rebadged MSI X2-1063SR 1U platform. We certainly have no issues with this as it's a well built system with a very solid chassis offering plenty of valuable features.

First up is high performance SAS storage as the chassis has room for three hot-swap drive carriers and the review system came supplied with a pair of Hitachi Ultrastar 15K hard disks. Storage options aren't so good as the systems from Evesham and HP but NEC has taken the safe approach as supporting three drives allows extra vents to be fitted in between each carrier to improve air flow through the chassis. And air flow aplenty there is as the system is equipped with no less than seven dual rotor fans for the motherboard and a single fan for the power supply. Despite all this air movement the 120Rg-1 is surprisingly quiet and wasn't overly intrusive whilst on our test bench.

The MSI motherboard has been specifically designed for this chassis so everything looks neat and tidy under the lid. The pair of 2GHz 5130 Xeon processors are amongst the slowest here but are equipped with large passive heatsinks with horizontal vanes that extend to the side to increase their surface area. Behind these are nine DIMM sockets with three staggered slightly further back. This arrangement doesn't affect expansion potential as the butterfly riser card has room for an 8X PCI-e slot on each side. You will need one of these if you want a triple disk RAID-5 array as the embedded LSI Logic SAS1068 controller only supports stripes and mirrors although for the latter it can also handle a hot-standby drive.

The bizarrely named DianaScope utility looks after remote management and via the dedicated Fast Ethernet port at rear of the chassis you can access the server regardless of its condition. Although not as sophisticated, it does compare favourably with the IPMI-based solutions from HP and Dell as it offers full access to server power settings, allows the OS to be shutdown and provides VNC based remote control facilities. NEC's ESMPRO looks after general server management and monitoring whilst NEC's remote web access offers access to inventory data, the event viewer and sensor information.

Remote server management is a mixed bag and there's no support for smaller 2.5in. hard disks yet but NEC is offering a well built and very quiet rack server equipped with high performance SAS storage.

Verdict

NEC delivers a reasonably well specified system for the price with good internal design, extensive remote management tools and impressively low operational noise levels.

Motherboard - MSI MS-9172
CPU - 2 x 2GHz Intel Xeon 5130
Chipset - Intel 5000P
Memory - 2GB 533MHz FB-DIMMs expandable to 48GB
Storage controller - LSI Logic SAS1068
Disk interface - SAS
Disk drives - 2 x 73GB Hitachi Ultrastar 15K
RAID controller - embedded RAID-0, -1
Expansion slots - 2 x PCIe-8X half/full height
Network ports - 2 x Intel Gigabit
Power - 1 x 650W hot-plug
Management software - ESMPRO suite, DianaScope and LSI MegaRAID Storage Manager software bundled
Other - Dedicated management port.
Warranty - Three yrs on-site NBD

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