Dell PowerEdge T620 review

Dell’s first E5-2600 Xeon pedestal server has versatility high on its agenda. The PowerEdge T620 also has a monstrous expansion capacity with the ability to support up to 32 SFF drive bays.

Dell's iDRAC7

The server comes as standard with the iDRAC7 Express controller which presents a freshly designed web interface with more operational data and improved power monitoring features. However, in our review of HP's latest ProLiant DL360p Gen8 we found its new iLO4 controller offers the best server management and monitoring capabilities.

If you want remote control and virtual media services you need to upgrade to the iDRAC7 Enterprise version. This has been simplified as the dedicated management port and vFlash slots are already in place so you just add a license to activate it.

The T620 looks set for virtualisation duties as dual CPU systems support up 764GB using 1.35V or 1.5V LR-DIMMs. Be careful if you pick RDIMMs or UDIMMs as these max out at 512GB and 128GB respectively.

Hypervisor redundancy is also on the menu as Dell's dual SD memory card controller snaps into a slot at the top of the motherboard. A mirrored mode automatically keeps an onboard copy of the primary boot media in case it fails. This is unique to PowerEdge servers as no other vendor offers this feature.

Dell PowerEdge T620 - 2

Dell's dual SD card module uniquely provides full hypervisor redundancy

Silent running

Internally, everything is neat and tidy. The passive heatsinks on the processors are covered with a large shroud. Our review system came with a pair of 8-core 2GHz E5-2650 Xeons which have the top QPI speed of 8GT/sec, a 20MB L3 cache and support Intel's new Turbo Boost 2 feature.

They're also one of four 8-core models with a low 95W TDP which made its presence felt in our power tests. With Windows Server 2008 R2 in idle, we measured the review server sipping 126W and with the SiSoft Sandra benchmarking app maxing out all 32 logical cores, this rose to only 278W.

Offices with no dedicated server room and a need for tranquillity should consider the T620 as it's remarkably quiet. Noise levels for the review system were so low we had to turn everything else off in the lab before we could hear it.

If you want the server to be mobile you can fit optional wheels to the chassis. Dell also offers the T620 as a 5U rack server version but you can't convert the pedestal chassis to rackmount.

Dell PowerEdge T620 - 3

The iDRAC7 provides a lot more information than its predecessor about the server's storage hardware

The server supports dual, load balanced power supplies and the review system included a pair of 750W hot-plug units. Dell also offers 495W models for light duties and 1100W versions for high specifications such as where more than two of Dell's nVidia GPU cards are installed.

There's plenty of room to expand as even with the RAID card in residence there are still six spare full-length, full-height PCI-e Gen3 slots. The newly designed Sandy Bridge-EP IOH (I/O Hub) means you'll need both CPUs to use all of them as a single CPU only activates the top four slots.

Overall

Dell's PowerEdge T620 pedestal server offers one of the best expansion potentials in its class and combines this with a classy build quality and design. It's clearly capable of handling a wide variety of tasks and its low noise levels make it a good choice for SMBs and remote offices.

ITPRO Recommended award

Verdict

If it‘s storage potential you’re after then the PowerEdge T620 won’t disappoint as it offers up to 768GB capacity. It’s highly suited to a broad range of SMB and enterprise IT duties including server consolidation and virtualization and its low noise levels will appeal to small offices.

Chassis: Pedestal chassis with 16 SFF drive bays (max. 32) CPU: 2 x 2GHz Xeon E5-2650 Memory: 64GB DDR3 RDIMM expandable to 512GB (768GB with LR-DIMMs) Storage: 2 x 250GB Dell SATA SFF hot-swap hard disks (max. 32) RAID: Dell PERC H710P with 1GB NVRAM cache Array support: RAID0, 1, 10, 5, 6 Expansion: 7 x PCI-e Gen3 slots (with dual CPUs) Network: 2 x Gigabit Power: 2 x 750W hot-plug power supplies Management: Dell iDRAC7 Enterprise with 10/100 Software: Dell Management Console Warranty: 3yrs on site NBD

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