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Broadberry CyberServe X34-RS100 review

Verdict

Broadberry beats Dell at its own game, as the X34-RS100 delivers a compact server package at a very low price

Review Date: 18 Feb 2010

Reviewed By: Dave Mitchell

Price when reviewed: exc VAT

Overall Rating
5 stars out of 6

PCPRO Recommended

Broadberry's new low-profile rack server not only brings us an early look at Intel's latest "Lynnfield" Series 3400 Xeon processor, but also aims to hit Dell where it hurts most. At a snip over £700, the CyberServe X34-RS100 competes well on price with Dell's PowerEdge R210 but offers a number of advantages.

At only 38cm deep, the compact 1U chassis is small enough to fit in a 60cm-deep rack cabinet. Extremely low noise levels make it well suited to small office deployments, and Broadberry has targeted workgroup and SMB applications such as file, print, mail and web services.

The X34-RS100 is an all-Asus package comprising its RS100-E6/PI2 server system, which employs a P7F-M microATX motherboard sporting a 2.53GHz X3440 Xeon. These processors are aimed specifically at entry-level uniprocessor server platforms and use the new LGA 1156 socket. The X3440 sits in the middle of this family of six processors, offers a 95W TDP, and supports Intel's Turbo Boost and Hyper-Threading.

Two chipsets are available, and the X34-RS100 has the higher-end 3420 in situ. Along with support for up to six SATA interfaces, it has an integrated LSI MegaRAID controller, which supports stripes, mirrors and RAID5 arrays.

Most of the front panel is used as a grille to ensure maximum airflow through the chassis. The price includes a low-profile DVD writer, which has a pair of USB ports located below it. A power switch to the right is accompanied by status LEDs for power, network ports, temperature warnings and disk activity.

The lid is easily removed and underneath lies a tidy interior with all cabling neatly tied up. Despite the cramped conditions, the server offers a good range of storage permutations, with a 3.5in bay underneath the optical drive and another on the other side.

Broadberry has been imaginative here, as the left bay is home to a pair of 320GB SFF SATA drives and it's replaced the other bay with one that accepts two more SFF drives. With the LSI RAID controller on the case it's quite feasible for this server to support a triple-drive RAID5 array with a spare drive.

Broadberry CyberServe X34-RS100

The processor sits in the centre of the motherboard and is accompanied by four DIMM sockets. The price includes 4GB of 1,333MHz DDR3 UDIMM memory, which can be boosted to 16GB or 32GB if you opt for the RDIMM variety. There's room to expand, as a small riser card offers a PCI Express x16 slot that supports a full-height, half-length card.

The processor's passive heatsink has cooling pipes routed through to a radiator matrix. This is positioned behind two small cooling fans directly behind the front grille. Once the fans had settled down the server barely whispered.

The server uses a 220W 80 Plus compliant power supply - certified as highly energy efficient at 20, 50 and 100% of its rated load. It drew a modest 36W with Windows Server 2008 R2 in idle, and with SiSoft Sandra pummelling all eight logical cores, this rose to 122W. This is lower than the Boston GP M100 reviewed last month (web ID: 355159), since that X3470-equipped pedestal server pulled 52W in idle and 130W under load.

For remote management, the CyberServe includes Asus' ASMB4 controller. Usefully, it not only shares access with one of the pair of Gigabit ports, but also activates the third network port at the rear for dedicated remote access.

The controller provides a tidy web interface offering full control over the server: you can switch the server on and off, cycle power and reset it. The interface provides plenty of information about all motherboard sensors, which can be linked up to email alerts and SNMP traps. Access controls are also good: you can create groups, users and administrators, determine levels of access and use AD authentication.

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