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Boston VS 365 review

Verdict

One of the first Opteron 6200 rack servers offers a 1U chassis with a high core count – at a very good price

Review Date: 25 Jan 2012

Reviewed By: Dave Mitchell

Price when reviewed: £3,259 (£3,911 inc VAT)

Overall Rating
5 stars out of 6

Features & Design
5 stars out of 6

Value for Money
5 stars out of 6

Performance
5 stars out of 6

PCPRO Recommended

The official launch of Intel’s Xeon E5 processors is still a few months away, which means AMD’s new "Interlagos" Opteron 6200 takes the lead in the core war. It offers more physical cores at a similar price to the Xeon 5600, and in this exclusive review we’ll examine the first general-purpose production server to use the new 16-core chips.

The Boston VS 365 comprises a Supermicro 1U chassis and X8DGU-F motherboard. The latter was introduced in 2010 for the Magny Cours 6100 Opterons and gets a second outing here – the 6200 supports the G34 socket and is a drop-in upgrade.

The 6200 family offers a mixed bag of core counts: one four-core, two eight-core, two 12-core and five 16-core models. Our VS 365 came with two 2.1GHz 16-core Opteron 6272s, but options extend from the 85W 1.6GHz 6262HE up to the power-hungry 140W 2.6GHz 6282SE.

Boston VS 365

With 32 cores to play with, Boston is aiming this system at a wide range of duties, including cloud computing, HPC, database hosting, virtualisation, and as a platform for running general business applications. The server is well suited to virtualisation duties: its 16 DIMM sockets support up to 256GB of RAM, and the price above includes a generous 64GB.

At only 26in deep, the chassis will suit a range of cabinets and racks. Storage potential isn’t great, since the chassis doesn’t support SFF hard disks; it has four LFF hot-swap bays at the front.

The embedded AMD SP5100 controller has six internal 3Gbits/sec SATA II interfaces and the price includes a couple of 1TB Seagate SATA hard disks. RAID options are limited to stripes and mirrors, so if you want RAID5 you’ll need to factor in an extra PCI Express card.

There’s plenty of room for one: the central riser provides two PCI Express x8 slots, and the upper one can handle a full-height, full- length card. Alternatively, you can order the system with Supermicro’s UIO (universal I/O) riser.

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