Fujitsu Server Primergy TX1320 M3 review

Quiet, small and very powerful – Fujitsu’s highly affordable TX1320 M3 is the perfect first server

Editor's Choice
Price
£593
  • Smart, space-efficient design; Great value; Powerful

Hailed as Fujitsu's smallest ever tower server, the TX1320 M3 will immediately appeal to space-poor SMBs. Even better, it has a price tag to match its compact dimensions, yet squeezes in a remarkable range of business-class features.

Power-wise, it's the match of servers twice its size, with support for the latest Xeon E3-1200 v6 processors and up to 64GB of fast 2,400MHz DDR4 memory. Our review system came equipped with an entry-level 3GHz Xeon E3-1220 v6 CPU, but you can choose any of six models, including the premium 3.9GHz E3-1280 v6 via special order.

What's more, while the system we tested came with two cold-swap hard disks, other versions of the TX1320 M3 can handle up to eight hot-swap SFF drives - four in an internal cage, and the rest added via an extension box as required. You'll need an upgraded RAID controller to handle this many drives, and Fujitsu offers several PCI-Express SATA/SAS3 options. The CP400i supports RAID5 and 50, while the top-dog EP420i adds RAID6 and 60 to the mix, plus an optional battery backup pack to protect its 2GB of cache.

Our more basic system came with a pair of 1TB LFF SATA drives; cabled directly to the motherboard's four-port SATA connector. These can be configured as a striped or mirrored array, and the cage is large enough to accommodate 10TB drives.

A lot of thought has clearly gone into the design of the TX1320. For physical security, the side panel can be padlocked shut, and the front bezel can be locked with a supplied key to prevent access to the power and reset buttons and drive bays.

Internally, meanwhile, a lot is crammed into the petite chassis. Even with a discrete RAID card installed, you still have three PCI-Express slots available, and all cards are firmly secured with a flip-down metal bracket. The hard disks are held in place with two simple-to-remove thumbscrews, while up above is a clip-in slimline optical drive. A spare bay supports an optional RDX backup drive and the removable cage next to the front USB 3 ports isn't wasted as it has clips inside for the RAID card battery pack.

Cooling is handled by a single fan for the LFF drive bay (or two for each SFF cage), with another cleverly sandwiched inside the CPU's heatsink. These are so quiet as to be barely audible: we measured sound levels of just 35.5dB from one metre in front.

Base units start with a fixed 250W PSU, or you can use a redundant bay to accommodate two 450W Platinum PSUs. The fixed PSU version can be upgraded with a converter kit, and one bay accepts Fujitsu's integrated battery backup unit (FJBU) which comes with Windows management software. Fujitsu claims this will keep you up and running for four minutes at a 280W power draw. We measured the server consuming an incredibly low 20W when idle, and only 51W at peak usage - so as long as you're not hammering the TX1320 with a heavy workload you may well get half an hour or more out of the FJBU before the server safely shuts down.

Remote monitoring is taken care of by the embedded iRMC S4 controller, which has its own dedicated Gigabit Ethernet port, and works in partnership with Fujitsu's free ServerView Suite software. Alternatively, you can use the simple Server Monitor tool, which runs on the server itself and provides at-a-glance details of critical components and system alerts

In short, the Primergy TX1320 M3 is the perfect first server for a small office. It's compact and quiet, yet bursting with features and options - and it's excellent value too.

This review originally appeared in PC Pro issue 277

Verdict

The Fujitsu Primergy TX1320 M3 is the perfect first server for a small office. It’s compact and quiet, yet bursting with features and options – and it’s excellent value too.

Tower chassis 3GHz Xeon E3-1220 v6 8GB 2,400MHz DDR4 RAM (max 64GB) 2 x 1TB Seagate Barracuda SATA cold-swap HDDs (max 2 LFF or 8 SFF) Intel C236 supports RAID0, 1, 5, 10 4 x PCI-E 3 2 x Gigabit Ethernet iRMC S4 with Gigabit Ethernet 250W fixed PSU 98 x 415 x 345mm (WDH) 1yr on-site NBD warranty Power: 20W idle, 51W peak

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