Dell PowerEdge R715 review

Dell's latest PowerEdge R715 is being promoted as the perfect all-round rack server for SMBs. In this review we take an in-depth look at its new dual-socket Opteron 6100 system and also pitch it up against its biggest competitor, HP's ProLiant DL385 G7.

Price
£5,216

Since their launch earlier this year, AMD's Opteron 6100 series of processors have garnered a lot of interest from the blue chips with many significantly expanding their server ranges to accommodate them. In this review we take a closer look at Dell's first dual-socket Opteron 6100 rack server, the PowerEdge R715 and also see how well it stands up to HP's latest seventh-generation ProLiant DL385.

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One of the main claims by AMD is that the Opteron 6100 removes the artificial price barrier to four-processor (4P) computing. In our review of Dell's quad-socket 2U PowerEdge R815 PowerEdge R815 we agreed as this rack server was far more cost effective that a four-socket Xeon 7500 server.

Move down to two-processor (2P) platforms and the advantages aren't so clear cut as the Opterons face stiff competition from Intel's 5500 and 5600 Xeons. AMD scores higher for physical cores as the R715 comes with a pair of 12-core Opteron 6174 processors. The 6-core 5600 Xeons can match this but only with Intel's hyperthreading producing 24 logical cores.

The R715 shares the same chassis with both the PowerEdge R815 and the Xeon-based R810 where the front panel is split into two sections horizontally. The lower half provides an unimpeded air flow through the chassis. Above you have a hot-swap hard disk bay, optical drive and Dell's nifty little LCD display which provides clear visual warnings of faults.

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Dell is promoting the R715 as a general purpose server but for storage duties it doesn't come close to HP's DL385 G7 which we exclusively reviewed in our sister title PC Pro. The front panel design only has room for up to six SFF hard disks whereas the DL385 can accommodate up to sixteen disks.

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