Boston Fenway 1232-06 review

This Fenway rack server targets heavy-duty enterprise apps and combines quad E5-4600 Xeons and a 1TB memory capacity. There are a few compromises but at this low price we think they’re acceptable.

Price
£9,995

Boston's latest enterprise class rack server features a quartet of E5-4600 Xeons, and is designed to handle demanding mission critical apps, cloud services, as well as host virtualisation and simulations.

The E5-4600 family of CPUs is positioned by Intel as a better choice than the costly E7 Xeon where an equal balance of cost, performance, power consumption and memory capacity is required. There are eight models available ranging in speeds from 2GHz up to 2.9GHz with 4, 6 or 8 cores and 10MB, 12MB, 15MB, 16MB or 20MB L3 caches.

The Fenway comes equipped with a feisty foursome of 2.2GHz E5-4620 CPUs. This model sits in the middle of the family as it has eight cores, a 7.2GT/sec QPI, 16MB of L3 cache and a 95W TDP.

Along with Hyperthreading, it supports Intel's Turbo Boost 2.0 which allows the cores to be speeded up from 2.2GHz to 2.6GHz when there is sufficient thermal budget. They also have two QPI links per socket and in a 4P system connect with adjacent sockets in a ring architecture.

Boston Fenway 1232-06

The Fenway as room for six LFF SAS or SATA hard disks and the two networks ports are the rear are the 10-Gigabit variety

Memory and storage

The Fenway is an all-Supermicro affair comprising its SuperServer SYS-8027R-7RFT+ 2U platform and X9QR7-TF+ motherboard. This is a good partnership which brings together a solid build quality along with plenty of processing power and features.

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The E5-4600 Xeons can support up to 1.5TB of DDR3 memory but the Fenway tops out at 1TB. Unlike Dell's PowerEdge R820 which has 48 DIMM sockets, the Fenway only has 32. Even so, Boston's generosity extends to filling them all with 8GB modules so the price includes a very usable 256GB.

Presenting all this processing power to the network won't be a problem as the motherboard has dual embedded 10GBase-T adapters. If you need more, there's plenty of room with four PCI-e Gen 3 slots up for grabs.

Boston Fenway 1232-06 - 1

The server has embedded SAS 2 ports and the RAID controller can be managed locally or remotely using LSI's Storage Manager

Storage options are good as the motherboard has two SATA 3 and four SATA 2 ports onboard and its Intel C602 chipset can manage mirrors, stripes and RAID-5 arrays. These lie idle as Boston has sensibly employed the embedded LSI SAS 2208 controller which presents a pair of 4-port SAS connectors on the motherboard.

The ports are cabled through to the hard disk backplane and RAID choices extend to dual drive redundant RAID-6 arrays. There's more as the price includes a full house of 2TB Toshiba 6Gbps SAS drives.

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