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Dell PowerEdge R415 review


The first Opteron 4100 rack server to hit the market, this quiet little package offers good value for small businesses

Review Date: 8 Mar 2011

Reviewed By: Dave Mitchell

Price when reviewed: £1,049 (£1,259 inc VAT)

Overall Rating
4 stars out of 6

Features & Design
4 stars out of 6

Value for Money
5 stars out of 6

4 stars out of 6

Despite being launched last year, there have been surprisingly few takers for AMD’s Opteron 4100 series of processors. Gateway was first through the doors last month with its powerful little GT115 F1 pedestal server, and Dell is now targeting small businesses on a tight budget with the PowerEdge R415.

The system is a fairly basic affair as it comes equipped with a single 2.2GHz Opteron 4122, but it does support dual processors. The Opteron 4100 family is a mixed bag of models, with the 4122 coming in at the bottom of the 75W range. Dell also offers a choice of two low-power HE models with a 50W rating and you can be even greener with the ultra low-power EE models, rated at only 32W.

The 4122 is one of only two four-core processors in this series, with all the rest of the standard HE and EE models sporting six cores. A big advantage over Intel’s 5500 and 5600 Xeons is that the 4100 Opterons all support memory speeds of 1,333MHz – some Xeons only support 800MHz speeds.

Dell PowerEdge R415

The R415 has eight DIMM slots and can handle up to 64GB of RDIMM memory, but if you opt for cheaper UDIMM memory, the maximum supported is only 32GB.

The R415 accommodates up to four hard disks in removable carriers, which can be either 3.5in or 2.5in models. The system includes a pair of 250GB SATA drives, but Dell also offers near-line SAS, standard SAS or, for those with deep pockets, SSDs.

You don’t need to upgrade the server to support SAS drives as the R415 has a SAS 6/iR controller as standard. This employs a 3Gb/s LSI controller chip and fits into a dedicated slot on a small internal riser card. It activates the riser’s four-port connector, which is cabled directly to the hard disk backplane.

This card only offers stripes and mirrors but does support hot-swap. If you want 6Gb/s SAS speeds plus RAID10 then consider the modular PERC H200 PCI Express card, which is also certified for SSDs.

For RAID5 or 6 you’ll have to go the whole hog and order a PERC H700 controller. This is excessive for the R415 as it comes with a minimum of 512MB of onboard cache memory and adds at least £365 to the asking price.

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