Fujitsu Primergy TX100 S3p
Fujitsu goes head to head with Dell and HP in the Xeon E3 entry level server market and comes out the winner by a country mile for value.
RAID and cooling
The embedded C202 chipset provides six SATA ports on the motherboard and supports stripes and mirrors. If you want RAID-5 or -6 then you'll need Fujitsu's optional D2616 SAS/SATA RAID card which costs around 200. Note that the chassis is not designed to support SAS drives and their extra heat output.
The server comes up short on storage features when stacked up against HP's ProLiant ML110 G7 (web ID:636430) and Dell's PowerEdge T110 II (web ID:635968). The ML110 can be fitted with an optional bay for eight hot-swap SFF drives while the T110 II can be ordered with a cold-swap 6-bay SFF cage.
Cooling is handled by an active CPU heatsink, a large 12cms diameter fan at the front and another one underneath which looks after the lower drive bays. Fujitsu's thermal design works very well as we found the server is almost silent making it a good choice for a small office.
Fujitsu includes its ServerView Suite software which provides some basic remote server monitoring tools
The TX100 S3p is also aimed at remote or branch office duties but remote management features are thin on the ground as the server doesn't have Fujitsu's embedded iRMC controller and there isn't an option to upgrade. You do get its ServerView software suite but this provides limited remote monitoring of critical components.
The suite is easy enough to install and provides a dashboard where you can select critical hardware components and view utilisation. Included in the suite is Fujitsu's RAID Manager that allows you to manage your storage arrays locally and remotely from a web browser.
Dell's T110 II isn't any better as its embedded BMC (baseboard management controller) only provides remote CLI access to control power. If you want the best remote management the ProLiant ML110 G7 is the one to go for. It has an iLO3 chip which provides remote diagnostics and, with the optional upgrade, full KVM-over-IP remote control.
The ProLiant ML110 G7 is a good choice if you want the highest storage capacity and full remote server management but there is a catch. Remarkably, HP still hasn't updated this server in readiness for the Ivy Bridge-class processors, so it doesn't support the Xeon E3 V2 CPUs.
From the ServerView console you can keep a close eye on CPU, memory and hard disk utilization
If you want a low cost entry-level pedestal server with the latest Ivy Bridge CPUs then your choices are limited to Fujitsu or Dell. The PowerEdge T110 II does have a superior storage potential but the TX100 S3p trounces it for value.
A similarly specified T110 II costs around 230 more and this only includes Dell's basic one-year warranty. Ebuyer is currently selling the TX100 S3p with the same specification for only 458 excluding VAT. Even better is the price includes a free upgrade to Fujitsu's five-year onsite 9x5 warranty and Ebuyer is currently offering a 100 cashback deal.
Small businesses looking for their first purpose server should put the Primergy TX100 S3p at the top of their shopping list. It combines a solid build quality and near silent running with plenty of storage and a good helping of memory. Even better is the low price making this little pedestal server an absolute steal.
Chassis: Pedestal CPU: 3.1GHz Xeon E3-1220V2 Memory: 8GB DDR3 1600MHz ECC UDIMM expandable to 32GB Storage: 2 x 500GB Seagate Barracuda SATA II cold-swap hard disks (max. 4) RAID: Intel C202 chipset Array support: RAID 0, 1, 10 Expansion: 4 x PCI-e Gen3 slots Network: 2 x Gigabit Other: 9 x USB2 (1 internal) Software: Fujitsu ServerView Suite Warranty: 5yrs 9x5 on-site (limited offer)