HP ProLiant ML330 G6 review
HP's ProLiant ML330 G6 has every base covered for SMBs as its unique design allows them keep the price down
Review Date: 1 Feb 2010
Reviewed By: Dave Mitchell
Price when reviewed: £1,004 (£1,180 inc VAT)
Features & Design
Value for Money
HP's latest ProLiant tower server may look like an entry-level model but it has a number of crafty tricks up its sleeve that can transform it from simple general purpose system into a real beast.
SMBs that don't see a need for anything more than a single socket system and don't care about power consumption can specify the ML330 with an Intel W3500 Series Xeon workstation processor. These may be an odd choice for a server, especially as they all have TDPs around 130W, but with speeds starting at 2.66GHz performance won't be an issue.
We think you'd be better off with a Xeon 5500 instead as this opens more expansion doors. The base system has a single socket motherboard with nine DIMM slots. When you feel the need for more speed you can plug in an optional mezzanine card alongside, which adds a second processor socket.
The ML330 could even make a good job of server virtualisation. Memory is a key factor here and the mezzanine card doubles the DIMM slot count, allowing the server to support up to 144GB of DDR3 RDIMM memory. The motherboard also has an onboard SD memory card slot and internal USB port, allowing the server to be booted into an embedded hypervisor.
The base system has a four-drive cold-swap cage with room for a second four-drive cage, and you can specify two sets of hot-swap versions if you wish. Only 3.5in drives are supported, but with the right RAID controller you can go for SAS as well as SATA.
RAID options start with the embedded Smart Array B110i controller, which supports mirrors and stripes for SATA drives. Next up is HP's Smart Array P212 PCI Express card that supports up to eight 6Gbits/sec SAS or 3Gbits/sec SATA drives.
It has options for 256MB of 800MHz DDR2 cache memory plus battery backup pack, and an advanced upgrade brings in RAID6 dual-drive redundant arrays. There are also the P410 and P410i cards and the main differences are these cards have internal SAS ports, the P212 has internal plus external ports and the P410i supports HP's new flash-backed write cache.
For remote management, the ML330 has HP's embedded iLO2 controller, which shares the second Gigabit port. From its smart web interface you can view the server status, reset it, cycle the power and emulate pressing the power button.
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