Dell PowerEdge R210 II review

Dell's new PowerEdge R210 II is its first rack server to use the Xeon E3 processor and delivers it in an ultra-compact chassis aimed at a wide range of uses. In this exclusive review Dave Mitchell puts this 1U server on the lab bench and sees whether it's as versatile as Dell claims.

Price
£1,383

Despite being launched by Intel some months ago it's taken a while for servers fitted with its new Xeon E3 processor to actually come to market and Dell is the first. Its latest PowerEdge R210 II is designed for a range of environments from SMBs to enterprises and remote offices, but one thing they'll all appreciate is its compact dimensions.

ITPRO Recommended awardThe interior of the Dell PowerEdge R210 II as seen from above.

The server is available with a good choice of processors, starting with a low-cost 3.1GHz Core i3. The server has seven Xeon E3 options starting with a 3.1GHz E3-1220. The system on review was specced out for performance and came with the top of the range 3.5GHz Xeon E3-1280. You'll pay for the privilege though, as this processor costs a hefty 390 extra. SMBs will be better off considering the 3.3GHz E3-1240 as this'll shave at least 260 off the price.

The server is very solidly built with most of the front panel acting as a grill to improve air flow. Dell's four-pack LED diagnostics panel is fitted as standard, but the LCD control panel as used by the higher-end PowerEdge servers is not an option.

Despite its compact dimensions, internal design is nice and tidy with easy access to all key components. A new feature we were very pleased to see (and hear) is the acoustic improvements. The original R210 had problems cooling its Xeon 3400 processor and the end result was excessive noise levels from the cooling fan making it unsuitable for small offices. The R210 II has four small fans cooling the power supply, processor and expansion bay, but they run much slower and are therefore a lot quieter.

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