Gateway GR380 F1 review

Gateway’s new 2U rack server aims to take on HP’s mighty ProLiant DL380 G7. The GR380 F1 is inexpensive, but is this enough to take on one of the most popular rack servers in the world?

General expansion for the GR380 is good as its L-shaped motherboard accepts Gateway's Flex I/O cards. This special slot is located at the bottom of the central riser and flush with the motherboard so adding a Flex I/O card won't obstruct the PCI Express (PCI-E) expansion slots above.

Gateway sells a SAS RAID Flex I/O card with eight ports which costs around 480 and comes with 256MB of embedded cache. Clearly, to use all sixteen drive bays you'll need an extra PCI-E RAID card but the server has plenty of room for more as the riser card has three spare PCI-E slots above the Flex I/O slot and these can handle full length cards.

General internal design is neat and tidy with four hot-swap cooling fans arranged across the front of the motherboard and a large, transparent shroud covering most of it to help direct air flow. The system came with a single 720W hot-plug supply and you can add a second for power redundancy.

The server isn't a power hog as we measured the review system pulling 86W with Windows Server 2008 R2 in idle. Running SiSoft Sandra saw peak consumption step up to 141W. These figures compare well with the DL380 G7 we reviewed which had a single 2.67GHz E5640 Xeon and 6GB of memory and drew 72W in idle and 145W under load.

HP rules supreme for remote server management as its iLO3 embedded controller and Insight Control software are, quite simply, the best currently on the market. The GR380 isn't devoid of these features, though, as its motherboard has an embedded remote management module (RMM) with a dedicated network port at the rear.

Its web browser interface provides plenty of information about critical components and access can be restricted by using external AD or LDAP authentication servers. You have direct access to the power supplies so you can turn it on and off, reset it or gracefully shut the operating system down.

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