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Dell PowerEdge R815 review

Dell is first to market with a quad socket Opteron 6100 server. It looks very affordable and in this review we see whether it’s the ideal 4P platform for SMBs.

There's more as the iDRAC6 Enterprise management controller in the review system provides a dedicated network port and full remote access to the server. Dell also includes it Management Console software which provides automated discovery of all SNMP devices, inventory and system monitoring.

The R815 offers a completely toolfree internal design making for easy upgrades and maintenance. The motherboard has four banks of DIMM sockets and the front pair are accessed by releasing the hard disk bay and sliding it forward.

Cooling is handled by a row of six hot-swap fans in the centre of the chassis and the entire assembly can be removed after releasing clamps on each side. During testing we also found the R815 to be commendably quiet.

Expansion potential is very good as the server offers six PCI-e slots. You probably won't need them all as the R815 already has quad embedded Gigabit ports and the RAID card has its own dedicated slot as well.

In the extensive server benchtests we ran in PC Pro we saw that AMD's Opteron 6100 kept pace with Intel's new 5600 Xeon and at the lower end of the market can hold its own against the 6500 and 7500 Xeons as well.

Add in the fact that the PowerEdge R815 costs less than half that of an equivalent Xeon 7500 server and you have a serious candidate for SMBs looking to consolidate their older servers.

Verdict

As the first 4P Opteron 6100 server to market, Dell’s new PowerEdge R815 sets a high standard for the rest to follow. Compared with the latest Xeon 7500 systems, the R815 and its quartet of 12-Core Opterons makes for a far more cost-effective option for SMBs looking to consolidate older 1U and 2U servers or provide a highly expandable virtualisation platform.

Chassis: 2U rack CPU: 4 x 2.2GHz AMD 6174 12-core Opteron Memory: 64GB DDR3 1333MHz RDIMM expandable to 256GB Storage: Dual 1GB SD cards; 5 x 147GB Dell 10K.3 SFF 6Gb/s SAS hard disks in hot-swap carriers RAID: Dell PERC H700 with 512MB cache and BBU Array support: RAID0, 1, 10, 5, 50, 6 Expansion: 6 x PCI-e 2.0 Network: 4 x Gigabit Power: 2 x 1023W hot-plug supplies Management: iDRAC6 Enterprise with VFlash/SD Card and 10/100 port Software: Dell Management Console

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