Dell PowerEdge R815 review

29 Feb 2012

An affordable and highly expandable 4P system with a massive core count, making it perfect for virtualisation and consolidation

Price when reviewed 
10,537
5

Of all the blue-chip vendors, Dell offers by far the largest choice of AMD-based systems. Its latest showcases the new Bulldozer technology and 16-core Opteron 6200 processors. In this review we see whether a 4P, 64-core PowerEdge R815 is suitable for virtualisation and server consolidation.

Dell supports the entire Opteron 6200 range, with one four-core, two eight-core, two 12-core and five 16-core models available. The four 2.1GHz Opteron 6272 modules in our system are rated at 115W; other 16-core options extend from the 85W 1.6GHz 6262 HE up to the power-hungry 140W 2.6GHz 6282 SE.

Along with virtualisation, Dell is aiming the R815 at businesses looking to consolidate existing servers into fewer, more energy-efficient systems. With two 1,100W hotplug power supplies, our inline meter recorded a draw of 297W with Windows Server 2008 R2 in idle; using the SiSoft Sandra benchmarking app, peak power usage rose to 660W.

Dell PowerEdge R815

To put this in perspective, the older Dell PowerEdge R810 with a pair of 2GHz Intel X6550 Xeons and the same memory drew 392W in idle and 558W under load. Considering that’s only 16 cores as opposed to the R815’s 64, the benefits of the new Opteron are clear.

The Opteron 6200 uses the same G34 socket as the 6100, and is essentially a drop-in upgrade for existing systems. In reality, few businesses will do this, but Dell offers kits for those that want to.

The chassis is well designed. The front is split horizontally, with the lower half letting air flow through the chassis. To the right are six hot-swap SFF disk bays, with a choice of SATA, 6Gbits/sec SAS, near-line SAS and SSD drives.

Details

Price ex VAT £8,781

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 AMD Opteron
CPU nominal frequency 2.10GHz
Processors supplied 4
CPU socket count 4

Memory

RAM capacity 512GB
Memory type DDR3

Storage

Hard disk configuration 6 x 73GB Dell 15K SFF 6Gbit/s SAS hot-swap hard disks
RAID module Dell embedded
RAID levels supported 0, 1, 10, 5, 6

Networking

Gigabit LAN ports 4

Motherboard

PCI-E x16 slots total 6

Power supply

Power supply rating 2,200W

Noise and power

Idle power consumption 297W
Peak power consumption 660W