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Dell PowerEdge R815 review


An affordable, expandable 4P system with a huge core count – it’s perfect for virtualisation and consolidation

Review Date: 14 Mar 2012

Reviewed By: Dave Mitchell

Price when reviewed: £8,781 (£10,537 inc VAT)

Overall Rating
5 stars out of 6

Features & Design
6 stars out of 6

Value for Money
5 stars out of 6

5 stars out of 6

PCPRO Recommended

Of all the blue-chip vendors, Dell offers by far the largest choice of AMD-based systems. Its latest is the first to showcase the new Bulldozer technology and 16-core Opteron 6200 processors, and 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, but 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 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 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, with the front split horizontally, 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.

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