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HP ProLiant DL180 G6 review

Verdict

Basic specification for the price - but storage is the name of the game, with a massive choice of drive options

Review Date: 27 Nov 2009

Reviewed By: Dave Mitchell

Price when reviewed: £1,508 (£1,734 inc VAT)

Overall Rating
4 stars out of 6

Features & Design
5 stars out of 6

Value for Money
4 stars out of 6

Performance
4 stars out of 6

HP claims its latest ProLiant DL180 G6 not only stands out from similar offerings from Dell and IBM, but also offers a range of innovative features that sets it apart from other models in its own DL100 range of rack servers.

It can function as a compute node, but it's as a storage server that the DL180 scores points. The front panel has room for up to 12 3.5in hard disks, but HP offers SAS/SATA backplane options to enable the server to take up to 25 SFF hard disks.

Before buying, however, think carefully about your future storage requirements, as you need to make sure you get the right hard disk backplane and expansion options. The system on review is the base model, which came with a four-drive backplane fitted. This allows the lower four bays to be used, is cabled directly to four of the motherboard's six internal SATA ports, but it doesn't support hot-swap.

For 3.5in drives you have eight-port and 12-port backplanes, and with the latter you lose the optical drive at the front. SFF drive support starts with a 12-port backplane, or you can go for the 25-bay backplane.

HP ProLiant DL180 G6

The 3.5in drive count can be expanded to 14 with a rear drive tray, and HP also offers one for an optical drive. Go beyond four drives and you'll also need to include a Smart Array RAID controller. There's a good choice of cards on offer with support for RAID5 and 6 arrays, plus different cache memory and battery backup options.

Your choice of drive support will also affect general expansion. The base model has the standard riser card at the rear with room for three PCI Express cards, but HP offers four other options with PCI-X slots also available.

The DL180 isn't a performance powerhouse, since HP offers only four processor options pulled from the lower end of the Series 5500 quad-core family. The single 2.26GHz Xeon L5520 in the review system is the only one of the four available options that supports Hyper-Threading and TurboBoost, plus it has a low TDP of 60W and supports 1,066MHz memory speeds.

Internally, the server is well designed with easy access to all components. Each processor socket is accompanied by six DIMM sockets and memory can be pushed to a maximum of 96GB of 1,066MHz DDR3. The processor and memory sockets are covered with a plastic air shroud and all cooling is handled by a bank of four cold-swap fans at the front, which we found intrusive.

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