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Boston GP 1120-T review

Boston is the first vendor to deliver an AMD Opteron 6100 production rack server. Packing 24 cores into a 1U chassis is impressive and in this review we see what else it has to offer.

The rectangular Opteron 6174 modules may be bigger than your average Xeon but they don't require much extra space to accommodate them and their attendant passive heatsinks. Each socket is partnered by eight DIMM slots and if you have bottomless pockets you can go up to a maximum of 256GB using 16GB DIMM modules.

The 1120-T offers some interesting expansion options as the motherboard accepts Supermicro's UIO (universal I/O) cards. These fit into the gap at the back of the L-shaped motherboard and plug directly into an interface slot at the bottom of the central riser card.

It's a neat arrangement as the UIO card sits flush with the motherboard so doesn't obstruct the riser card's own PCI-e expansion slot above it. This is where you can improve your storage outlook as Supermicro offers a wide range of UIO cards including 8port SAS RAID controllers which can be upgraded to RAID5 with battery backup.

Cooling is handled by a bank of cold-swap dual-rotor fans in front of the motherboard and we found noise levels to be impressively low. There's room for two more fans alongside and these are positioned to cool any UIO or standard expansion cards you decide to fit.

Power redundancy is provided as the server came with both 650W hot-plug power supplies. For a 24-core server, the 1120-T is surprisingly frugal with our in-line power meter showing a 163W draw with Windows Server 2008 R2 in idle. With SiSoft Sandra giving all the cores a heavy workout we saw this rise to a peak of 356W.

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