IBM System x3755 M3 review

IBM’s latest System x3755 M3 is its first rack server to support AMD’s Opteron 6100 processors. It’s taken a very long time to materialise and in this exclusive review we tell you whether it’s a better bet than the four-socket AMD servers from HP and Dell.

IBM is also pitching the x3755 for server virtualisation duties and its internal USB port can be used to boot an embedded hypervisor. However, both Dell and HP have been more imaginative as they also offer internal SD memory card slots for this function.

For remote management the server comes with IBM's embedded IMM (integrated management module) which has its own dedicated network port at the rear. You can monitor critical components, remotely control power, run unattended firmware upgrades. There's also support for KVM-over-IP remote control and virtual media services. The latter allow the host system remotely controlling the server to present its floppy and optical drives to it so they appear to the server as local drives. This is useful as no optical drive is built in.

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General systems management is handled by IBM's Systems Director 6.2 which is included as standard. It provides network discovery, inventory, system monitoring and alerting facilities. The Active Energy Manager plug-in adds power capping functions and trending graphs of power consumption over time.

We've quoted IBM's estimated street price for the review system and we'd expect its channel partners to offer good discounts. They'll have to go some way to beat Dell's R815 on price though, but we still rate the System x3755 M3 as a top choice as a four-processor server platform since it's power efficient, well designed and has a high storage capacity.

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So what's our verdict?

Verdict

IBM’s new x3755 M3 brings together a fine combination of high processing density and low power consumption. It's well-made and well-designed with very good power redundancy for a 2U rack server. It doesn’t support SFF hard disks but IBM’s crafty design means it can pack in eight hot-swap 3.5in drives giving it great internal storage capacity. It can’t match the low price of Dell’s PowerEdge R815 or HP’s DL585 G7 for expansion potential, but its lower power consumption makes it a fine server that's well worth the price premium.

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Chassis: 2U rack CPU: 4 x 2.1GHz AMD Opteron 6172 Memory: 64GB DDR3 1,333MHz RDIMM expandable to 512GB Storage: 250GB SATA hard disk in hot-swap carrier (max. 8) RAID: IBM ServeRAID-M1015 PCI-e card Array support: RAID 0, 1, (optional RAID 5) Expansion: 3 x PCI Express Network: 4 x Gigabit Ethernet Power: 3 x 1100W hot-plug supplies Management: Embedded IMM with 10/100 port Software: IBM ServerGuide 8.4, Systems Director 6.2.1

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