Dell PowerEdge T110 II review
Good build quality, a fair price and plenty of features make this our favourite as a small business server
Review Date: 31 Aug 2011
Reviewed By: Dave Mitchell
Price when reviewed: £1,123 (£1,348 inc VAT)
Features & Design
Value for Money
The PowerEdge T110 II is Dell’s first server to support Intel’s new Xeon E3 processors, and is aimed squarely at small businesses looking for their first purpose-built server. Prices start at only £289 exc VAT for a basic system, with a dual-core 3.1GHz core i3-2100 processor, 1GB of RAM, a 250GB SATA hard disk, no OS and a one year on-site NBD warranty.
The system Dell sent us for this exclusive review costs a lot more than that, but it includes plenty of extra goodies. For starters, it was supplied with a top of the range quad-core 3.4GHz Xeon E3-1270. Of the 12 members of the Xeon E3 family, Dell offers four with the T110 II, so you can save up to £110 by opting for the slightly slower 3.1GHz Xeon E3-1220.
You can cut costs further with the OS, as Dell will give you a T110 II with Windows Server 2008 R2 Foundation preinstalled for only £146 extra. Foundation has some limitations you need to be aware of. It’s 64-bit only, and supports a single processor socket and a maximum of 8GB of memory. It can handle up to 30 simultaneous inbound connections and supports a maximum of 15 Windows user accounts. Still, it’s a good deal, so we’ve included this in the price of the review system.
The T110 II is well built and small enough to fit under a desk, although from our experience you’re better off keeping it off the floor where it will suck up grot and carpet dust. It’s quiet as well, with the large rear-mounted cooling fan making very little noise.
The side panel is removed by pushing back a locking lever on the top panel, and this can be padlocked shut. The hole on the locking tab is large enough to accept a security cable, to stop the server itself being stolen.
The internals are tidy, with good access afforded to all key components. The server has room for up to four hard disks mounted in a cage at the front. Each drive is fitted in a plastic carrier which we found easy to remove, and Dell provides combined power/interface cables next to each bay.
Drive controller options start with the embedded PERC S100 controller, which requires the hard disks to be cabled directly to the motherboard’s SATA interfaces. This supports striped, mirrored and RAID5 arrays, and is sufficient for small businesses who don’t want expensive SAS hard disks.
Xeon vs Core i3/i5 etc
I doubt I'm alone in wondering how Sandy Bridge Core i5 and i7 processors compare in performance terms to the Xeon E3 series? They appear fairly similar, but are they? (e.g. you can find both with 6 & 8 L3 cache, at similar clock speeds, similar memory support etc).
By IT4SmallBiz on 31 Aug 2011
How noisy is the server - could it sit in the same office people are working in?
(Why does the basic spec for servers always have 1Gb RAM - can anything run with 1Gb anymore??)
By NickS on 1 Sep 2011
Don't forget the i5 and i7 processors don't support ECC server grade memory.
By DaveMitchell on 1 Sep 2011
As I said in the review, the T110 II is very quiet. It will be fine in a small office.
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By herrysam on 2 Sep 2011
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