Dell PowerEdge R720 review
Versatility is the R720’s great strength, and it sets a high standard for 2U rack server design and features
Review Date: 1 May 2012
Reviewed By: Dave Mitchell
Price when reviewed: £7,463 (£8,956 inc VAT)
Features & Design
Value for Money
Dell has consistently beaten HP and IBM to the punch when it comes to supporting the latest processors – and it does it yet again. Not only does the PowerEdge R720 2U rack server support Intel’s Xeon E5-2600 processors, it also represents a major redesign over the R710.
Our review system features a pair of 2.7GHz Xeon E5-2680 processors. These use the new 32nm Sandy Bridge-EP (efficient performance) architecture, which sees inter-socket QPI links doubled and speeds boosted to 8GT/sec.
Near the top of this family of eight-core server CPUs, the E5-2680 has a 20MB L3 cache and supports Intel’s new Turbo Boost 2, allowing cores to peak briefly beyond their TDP rating. During idle periods, the system accumulates a thermal budget to later be used to boost core performance for up to 25 seconds.
The E5-2600 Xeons have four memory channels per socket, and the R720 comes with the full 24 DIMM sockets onboard. In dual-CPU systems memory can be boosted to 768GB, using RDIMMs or the new LR-DIMM (load-reduced) modules.
Hypervisor redundancy is available via Dell’s optional dual-SD card controller. It’s been redesigned to fit into a dedicated slot at the rear, where it automatically keeps an onboard copy of the primary boot media.
For storage, the chassis now has room for eight hot-swap LFF or 16 SFF hard disks – twice that of the R710. Dell also offers a version with four standard SFF bays and four hotplug PCI Express flash SSDs. And then there’s the R720xd (extreme disk) version. Available as a separate order, its chassis is modified to provide 24 hot-swap SFF bays at the front and two more at the rear.
RAID options start with the entry-level PERC S110 controller, which links to the motherboard’s four-port SATA II connector and supports stripes, mirrors and RAID5 arrays in Windows. Our review system came with the PERC H710P Mini card, which snaps into a dedicated slot and offers RAID6 for 6Gbits/sec SAS and SATA drives.
- Will the next Windows 8.1 update arrive next month?
- BT One Phone lets SMBs ditch landlines for mobiles
- Microsoft shows Modern apps running in desktop windows
- Apple and IBM buddy up for enterprise push
- Windows Phone 8.1 starts rolling out to Nokia phones
- Government broadband plans "lack ambition"
- SMBs get Office 365 price cuts, new plans
- Windows 7: you can keep it until 2020
- BlackBerry Passport's square for spreadsheets
- Microsoft to release six updates this Patch Tuesday
- How Google Glass ruined my lunch hour
- Smartphone battery packs: can a USB power pack beat the festival battery blues?
- Windows Easy Transfer – not so "easy" in Windows 8.1
- Formula 1: what a difference virtualisation makes
- Office of the future: comfy chairs and tablets everywhere
- I went to Glastonbury and the only thing that got high was my smartphone
- Meet the robots helping teach children
- PaperLater: would you pay to print the internet?
- Amazon vs Kobo: how much to make the ebook switch?
- Phishing emails: how I nearly got caught out
- Five worst SMB security threats... and how to solve them
- Doing business in a social era
- How to configure SysLookup for your network
- The 18 best Outlook tips for increasing productivity: become an Outlook expert with these lesser-known tips
- Office: should you buy it, rent it - or dump it?
- Small server vs cloud: which is best for SMBs?
- The best mobile apps for business
- Windows XP: Microsoft’s ticking time bomb
- gTLDs: what your business should know about new domain names
- Can Microsoft survive? A look at servers and tools
- How to add in-app purchasing to an iPhone, Android or Windows app
- Remote-control ransomware: TeamViewer and software hardball
- Why laptops with serial ports matter to the Internet of Things
- Make your mobile battery last longer
- Small steps into handling Big Data
- Nexus 5: does it really run stock Android?
- How to get broadband to a garden office
- How to write your company's IT security policy
- Raspberry Pi and Wolfram: a must-have for every child
- Could you get by with Office Web Apps?