Dell PowerEdge R910 review

Dell lays down the gauntlet with the first Xeon 7500 server to market. In this exclusive review we find out whether it’s time to throw out your old RISC based systems.

Price
£18,360

Dell is making a habit of beating its competition in the server market to the punch. When Intel launched its Xeon 5500 series of processors last year it was first out of the blocks with the R610 and it does it yet again as the latest PowerEdge R910 is the first production server equipped with the new Xeon 7500 Nehalem-EX' processors.

The R910 takes advantage of Intel's new RAS (reliability, availability and serviceability) features which we cover in depth in our article of the Xeon 6500 and 7500 processors (check back on the site tomorrow for that content). The ability to monitor, report and recover from hardware errors that would bring lower end servers to their knees makes the R910 ideally suited to a wide range of applications.

Naturally, Dell is aiming the R910 at typical enterprise and data centre duties but with a keen focus as a replacement for proprietary RISC systems. Oracle is firmly in its sights as Dell claims the R910 is more cost-effective that Sun SPARC systems and offers a far superior performance per watt.

The increased performance of the Xeon 7500 processors makes the R910 a strong candidate for server consolidation and with a maximum memory capacity of 1TB, virtualisation is clearly a top priority.

Size is another factor as the R910 may only stand at 4U high but it packs a very tasty specification into its compact chassis. The review system came equipped with a quartet of 2GHz Xeon X7550 processors partnered by a healthy 128GB of memory.

The front panel sports Dell's new LCD display offering a keypad for manually setting the remote management network address along with views of power consumption and temperatures. Below this a grill stretches right across the front to provide an unimpeded air flow through the chassis.

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