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Dell PowerEdge R815 review

Verdict

Dell delivers the first quad-socket Opteron 6100 server to market, offering SMBs a low-cost 4P solution

Review Date: 2 Aug 2010

Reviewed By: Dave Mitchell

Price when reviewed: £8,364 (£9,828 inc VAT)

Overall Rating
5 stars out of 6

Features & Design
6 stars out of 6

Value for Money
5 stars out of 6

Performance
5 stars out of 6

PCPRO Recommended

The high volume four-socket (4P) rack server space is without doubt the sweet spot for AMD's latest Opteron 6100 processors, and Dell takes the honours for delivering the very first example - the PowerEdge R815.

As we observed in last month's low-down on the Opteron 6100 series, AMD has removed the price barrier to 4P computing. For less than £8,500 exc VAT, the R815 comes with a quartet of 12-core Opterons in a 2U form factor, which equates to a processing density of 1,008 cores per 42U rack cabinet.

The R815 shares the same behavioural design concept offered by all the latest PowerEdge servers. The use of many similar components means that if support staff know how to service one PowerEdge server then most components should be easily recognisable on all other models.

In fact, this server takes many features from the higher-end Dell PowerEdge R810, which supports Intel's Xeon 6500 and 7500 processors. It comprises the same 2U rack chassis where the front panel is split into two sections horizontally, with the lower half providing clear airflow
through the chassis.

Dell PowerEdge R815

You have six hot-swap SFF disk bays in the upper half of the front panel and Dell offers a choice of SATA, SAS and SSD drives. The review system looks even better value, since it includes five 147GB 6Gbits/sec SAS SFF hard disks, plus Dell's PERC H700 RAID card.

The front panel also sports an LCD panel, which turns from blue to orange when problems are detected. Along with viewing power usage and temperatures, you can use its keypad to scroll through error logs to see which component caused the alert.

Power redundancy is also on the cards. The review system includes both 1,023W hot-plug supplies, which delivered the goods in our power tests. The Opteron 6174 processors have a low rating of 80W and our inline meter recorded 335W with Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise in idle. With all cores pushed to the limit by SiSoft Sandra, we saw this peak at 618W.

AMD has the edge over Intel's 6500 and 7500 Xeons in terms of power, as an R810 with a pair of 2GHz X6550 Xeons and twice the memory pulled 392W in idle and 558W under peak load. Considering the R810 had 16 physical cores as opposed to 48 in the R815, the benefits of the Opteron are clear.

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