Broadberry CyberServe XE5-R2216

In an exclusive review, Dave Mitchell looks at Intel’s Server System R2000GZ 2U rack server, which has memory and storage capacity high on its agenda.

Price
£5,880

Intel has released a number of unremarkable chassis and motherboards to support its server processors, but the launch of the Xeon E5 CPUs sees a radical shift in direction.

The chip-maker is now going head-to-head with manufacturers such as Supermicro by announcing a huge range of server platforms to house the latest Xeon processors.

We take a look at the Broadberry Data Systems CyberServe XE5-R2216, which showcases Intel's Server System R2000GZ. Codenamed Bighorn Peak', this 2U rack server chassis is one of Intel's premium platforms and comes equipped with its Grizzly Pass' S2600GZ motherboard.

Broadberry XE5-R2216 - 8 bay

The 8-bay model comes with an optical drive and control panel on the front.

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Xeon power under the hood

Broadberry has kitted the system out with a tasty pair of 2.6GHz Xeon E5-2670 processors. These use the new 32nm Sandy Bridge-EP' (efficient performance) architecture which sees the number of inter-socket QPI links doubled and speeds pushed up to 8.0GT/sec.

These 8-core models have a generous 20MB of L3 cache and support the new Turbo Boost 2.0 feature which allows cores to be sped up briefly beyond their TDP rating. During idle periods, the system accumulates a thermal budget and in times of increased activity, uses it to boost core performance for up to 25 seconds.

The E5-2600 Xeons have four memory channels per socket and the XE5-R2216 has the full 24 DIMM slots onboard. In dual CPU systems you can boost memory up to 768GB using RDIMMs or the new LR-DIMM (load reduced) modules. The latter use a buffer chip instead of the register so more memory can be put on each channel and it can run faster.

This particular system shows Intel is taking server storage very seriously as it has an impressive range of expansion options that rival Dell's slinky new PowerEdge R720. The system on review was supplied with 16 hot-swap SFF drive bays but you can opt for 8-bay or 24-bay versions.

The 24-bay model has a slightly different chassis design as you lose the optical drive and control panel at the front. The power and ID buttons have also been moved over to the right-hand edge. Two other models are available that support 8 or 12 hot-swap LFF drives.

Broadberry XE5-R2216 - 24 bay

The 24-bay version has a redesigned front panel to handle the extra drives.

The motherboard has pair of 4-port mini-SAS connectors, which can handle the latest 6Gbps hard disks. To accommodate the extra drives in the high capacity chassis there's a small SAS expander board mounted behind the drive bays.

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