Dell PowerEdge R815 review

Dell’s updated PowerEdge R815 introduces AMD’s latest Opteron 6300 CPUs to its 4P server platform.

Price
£7,469
  • High core count; Low power consumption; Good expansion potential; Top value
  • No iDRAC7 support; Dell Fresh Air initiative not supported; PCI-e 2.0 slots

Of all the blue chips, Dell is one of AMD's fervant supporters and has always maintained a good range of Opteron based servers. Dell was one of the first to deliver Opteron 6100 and 6200 production servers to market and it does it again as the new PowerEdge R815 has AMD's latest Abu Dhabi' Opteron 6300.

The R815 is a four socket (4P) system and targets a wide range of data centre duties including virtualisation and server consolidation. A main competitor is HP's ProLiant DL580 Gen8 but this 4P E5-4600 Xeon system can't match the R815's higher physical core potential.

It's also expensive as the DL560 we reviewed costs more than double the R815 we have here. However, the DL560 wins out if you want the highest memory capacity for virtualisation as its supports 1.5TB as opposed to the 1TB of the R815.

Good internal design provides easy access to all key components for maintenance and upgrades 

 What's new about the Opteron 6300?

Eighteen months ago AMD was talking up its 10-core Sepang' and 20-core Terramar' CPUs but less than six months later and they were on ice. Instead, AMD took its second generation Piledriver' modular core architecture and produced the slightly faster and more energy efficient Abu Dhabi' Opterons.

These use the same G34 socket as the 6100 and 6200s and so can be used as drop-in upgrades. Dell advised IT Pro that it can provide an upgrade kit to existing customers with older R815 servers.

The Opteron 6300 family offers a 200MHz speed boost over corresponding 6200s although core counts and TDPs remain the same. The Piledriver core delivers four main enhancements primarily designed to increase performance and reduce power consumption.

The 6300 family comprises ten models offering a choice of 4-, 8-, 12- and 16-cores. The review system came with four 16-core Opteron 6380s with a 115W TDP but other 16-core options extend from the 85W 1.8GHz 6366HE to the 140W 2.8GHz 6386SE.

The review system looks good value as the price includes a quartet of 2.5GHz 16-core Opteron 6380 CPUs

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