Boston Green Power 2200-T review

13 May 2011

Ridiculously low power consumption and a tempting price make this high-density Atom microserver perfect for low-demand business apps

Price when reviewed: 
6,719exc VAT
5

As server processors get ever more powerful and core counts increase, some businesses are finding they simply aren’t utilising the extra horsepower. With this in mind, Boston’s Green Power 2200-T finds an innovative use for Intel’s Atom, cramming no fewer than eight independent server nodes into a 2U rack chassis. It’s a low cost, high-density solution for applications such as mail, web serving and hosting, and BlackBerry services.

It’s built on Supermicro’s Twin Cubed server platform, which comprises four hot-swap trays each sporting an X7SPT-DF-D525 motherboard. Each motherboard has two embedded 1.8GHz Intel Atom D525 dual-core processors and is designed to present each one as a totally separate server.

It’s made simpler than it sounds. Two hot-swap 720W 80 Plus Gold-certified power supplies are cabled through to the hard disk backplane at the front. The motherboard interfaces are also hard-wired though to a hot-plug bridge bar on the side of the tray, which mates with the chassis backplane during insertion; this allows it to receive power and hard disk storage from a single connector.

Boston Green Power 2200-T

Due to memory limitations, each motherboard has just two SO-DIMM slots for each node. The Atom’s maximum supported memory is 4GB of 800MHz DDR3 – and that’s the unbuffered, non-ECC variety.

However, the big bonus of the Atom is its minuscule 13W TDP. With such a low heat output, the only heatsink required is for the processors themselves, making board design neat and tidy with little to impede air flow.

System cooling is handled by four large fans located between the trays and the backplane. They aren’t hot-swappable and each pair can only be removed when the lower trays have been pushed back slightly. With the Atoms staying frosty, the fans don’t need to shift much air and we found it surprisingly quiet.

It hits the spot for general power consumption as well. As the fans and supplies have their own consumption, we checked the system first with all nodes turned off and saw a baseline of 25W for the two supplies. With one node powered up and the four fans running, we saw idle power draw with Windows Server 2008 R2 settling at 89W. With SiSoft Sandra thrashing the Atom, usage peaked at only 97W.

Details

Price ex VAT £5,599

Warranty

Warranty 3yr on-site

Ratings

Overall rating 5
Performance 5
Features & Design 5
Value for Money 5

Physical

Server format Rack
Server configuration 2U

Processor

CPU family Intel Atom
CPU nominal frequency 1.80GHz
Processors supplied 8

Memory

Memory type DDR3

Storage

Hard disk configuration 2 x 500GB Seagate Constellation 3Gbits/sec SATA hard disks in hot-swap carriers per node
Total hard disk capacity 8,000GB
RAID levels supported 0, 1, 10, 5

Networking

Gigabit LAN ports 2

Power supply

Power supply rating 720W

Noise and power

Idle power consumption 235W
Peak power consumption 263W