Broadberry CyberServe TS100 review

More storage space would be good, but this quiet, low-energy server offers a fine package for the price

Price
£1,259
  • Super quiet; Incredibly power-efficient
  • No hot-swapping for drives; Not enough drive bays; Remote management is limited

Broadberry's CyberServe TS100 is the most energy-efficient small-business server we've ever seen. With the operating system idling, we measured this little tower drawing a mere 25W. Even with its 3GHz Intel Xeon E5-1220 v5 CPU being pummelled by SiSoftware Sandra, it still spiked at only 65W.

This means there's no need for noisy cooling: the SPLnFFT iOS app on our iPad recorded a noise level of only 36.5dB - that's whisper-quiet. The CyberServe TS100 is the perfect choice for small offices, or even libraries.

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It's built on Asus' TS100-E9-PI4 server platform, which couples a compact and sturdy chassis with Asus' P10S-X motherboard. The chassis offers three internal cold-swap drive bays at the front, with additional mount points at the base of the cage for an extra SFF drive.

There's no hot-swap capability, but Broadberry mitigates this by including dual mirrored 240GB Samsung SSDs in the price: these come fitted in the main cage, providing a speedy system drive for your OS. For general data storage, a 2TB Toshiba Enterprise SATA hard disk occupies the third drive bay.

The mirrored SSDs certainly are speedy: we saw Iometer report raw sequential read and write rates of 475MB/sec and 262MB/sec respectively. When it comes to adding data storage, RAID options are decent, thanks to the partnership of Intel's C232 chipset and its integrated RSTe (Rapid Storage Technology enterprise). You can set up stripes, mirrors and RAID5 arrays - it's just a shame that the chassis doesn't have room for more drives, as we really would have liked to protect the data storage drive with a mirror at the very least.

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The internals are super-tidy, making it easy to access the important parts for routine maintenance. You get a generous 32GB of DDR4 RAM, which should be more than enough for most SMB applications - although two free DIMM sockets provide the option of adding extra modules and maxing out the memory to 64GB.

There's a pair of 5.25in bays at the top and a 3.5in bay below. Broadberry has fitted an optical drive in the top bay and, with a total of six SATA ports on the motherboard, there are still two spare interfaces up for grabs.

For network connectivity, the TS100 has dual embedded Gigabit ports; connections can be upgraded further via the motherboard's two PCI Express slots (one full-width x16 slot and one shorter x8 slot). There are also four conventional PCI slots, which will almost certainly be excessive, but they do ensure that any legacy adapters can be kept in service.

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Remote management features are limited, however. The P10S-X motherboard doesn't have a dedicated slot for Asus' ASMB8-iKVM plugin controller, so you can't reach the server remotely via a web browser, control power, or access its BIOS screen and OS via remote control sessions. All is not lost, however: the server comes with the free ASWM Windows utility, which provides centralised server management, monitoring and alerting.

Setting up ASWM is easy. Each managed server requires an agent loaded, which we deployed to the TS100 from the ASWM web console. Installation is fully automated, and the console pulls in plenty of details on hardware status and performance from the agent. Its fault monitoring, meanwhile, can send out email alerts and SNMP traps. The interface is garish, but usability is much improved compared to previous versions.

The CyberServe TS100 is a strong starter package, and the price is reasonable considering you get fast SSD storage and a big helping of DDR4 memory. Storage expansion and remote management features are limited, but if you want a quiet and environmentally friendly server, the TS100 warrants closer inspection.

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This review originally appeared in PC Pro issue 265.

Verdict

The CyberServe TS100 is a strong starter package, and the price is reasonable considering you get fast SSD storage and a big helping of DDR4 memory. Storage expansion and remote management features are limited, but if you want a quiet and environmentally friendly server, the TS100 warrants closer inspection.

Tower chassis Asus P10S-X motherboard 3GHz Intel Xeon E5-1220v5 32GB 2,133MHz DDR4 (max 64GB) Intel C232/RSTe Supports RAID0, 1, 10, 5 2 x 240GB Intel S3510 SSDs 2TB Toshiba LFF HDD 3 x LFF/SFF cold-swap drive bays DVD rewriter 2 x PCI-E 3 4 x 32-bit PCI 2 x Gigabit Ethernet 300W fixed PSU Asus ASWM software 3yr on-site NBD warranty 190 x 469 x 424mm (WDH) Power 25W idle, 65W peak

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