Fujitsu Siemens PRIMERGY TX200 S2

Still running your network from a couple of workstations-turned-servers? You need an upgrade - Dave Mitchell digs out eight of the best starter models on the market

Price
£1,499
  • Superb build quality, top internal design, extremely quiet and a good warranty
  • Potentially too big for small offices, embedded SCSI chipset only supports mirroring

The TX200 S2 really does show what you can get for your money in today's competitive server marketplace. This system is not only huge but it's built like a tank as well. In fact we'd go as far as saying it's better built than the IBM server which is really saying something.

With a depth of around 74cms the TX200 S2 is a long and lean serving machine. The front panel is hidden behind Fujitsu Siemen's trademark silver mesh panels with the upper panel protecting the floppy and two 5.25in bays which can also be locked shut. The lower panel keeps the hard disks away from wandering fingers and this has a separate intrusion detection switch too. Behind this are six hot-swap drive bays and the server is offered in both SCSI and Serial ATA (SATA) variants.

The SCSI version was supplied for this test and the review system came with a pair of 73GB Fujitsu hard disks fitted in hot-swap carriers. It's not the most generous helping of storage here, and the embedded LSI SCSI chipset isn't that well featured either. It only supports RAID-1 mirroring - for more RAID options you'll need the optional RAID controller which fits in the dedicated ZCR (zero channel RAID) slot at the base of the motherboard.

The TX200 also came equipped with a single 3GHz Xeon processor partnered by 2GB of PC2700 memory, and the latter can be upgraded to 12GB. Internal design is extremely good and there's a keen focus on reducing noise here. The processor is fitted with an enormous passive heatsink rising some 15cms from the motherboard. This consists of a metal plate bolted to the processor which feeds a group of copper pipes filled with fluid, which are in turn connected to a multi-finned heatsink. The end result is a server that whispers like a zephyr. This is made all the more impressive as the server has a dedicated hot-plug fan for the processor and two more for the hard disk cage.

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Remote management features are particularly good as you get the standard ServerView software bundle included. This suite gives access to any system running the relevant agent component over SNMP (simple network management protocol) and provides a fine array of operational information. You can monitor processors, temperatures, voltages, fans and any expansion cards, and tie in alarms or errors to notifications by email, network messages and pagers. The power supply can also be remotely accessed so you can schedule server power cycles and use a watchdog timer to automatically reboot the server if its hangs. The ASR (automatic server restart) tool allows you to set thresholds on fans speeds and temperatures and force a server shutdown if these reach critical values. And the new Web Extensions tool allows ServerView to be accessed remotely over secure HTTPS sessions. LSI's GAM is not so good for RAID management, however, as it has no decent alerting features and is in dire need of graphical refreshment.

Other than this, though, Fujitsu-Siemens has a highly impressive system on its hands in the TX200. It is undeniably the best built server on review and, though it can't quite match the Evesham in terms of processor specification and the sheer amount of storage on offer, it's still worth considering for its extensive remote management tools, fast SCSI hard disks and whisper-quiet operation.

Verdict

It's cool, it's quiet and it's big - very big. The TX200 S2 is an excellent starter server that'll last in just about any office environment and offers a fine specification as well

Motherboard: Fujitsu-Siemens D1919 CPU: 1 x 3GHz Intel Xeon Chipset: Intel E7320 Memory: 2GB PC2700 expandable to 12GB Storage controller: LSI Logic dual channel Ultra320 SCSI Disk interface: Ultra320 SCSI Disk drives: 2 x 73GB Fujitsu Ultra320 SCSI RAID controller: embedded in LSI SCSI chipset Expansion slots: 2 x 64-bit/100MHz PCI-X, 2 x 64-bit/66MHz PCI-X, 1 x 32-bit/33MHz PCI Network ports: 1 x Intel Gigabit Ethernet Power: 1 x 700W Management software: Fujitsu Siemens ServerView Suite Other: embedded IPMI 1.5 BMC. Warranty: Three yrs on-site 48hr response

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