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.
- IDC: iPad intertia opens door for Windows tablets
- Office 365 goes social with "Oslo" news feed
- Windows XP: upgrading 30,000 PCs in 30 days
- LibreOffice: ignore Microsoft's "nonsense" on government's open source plans
- Intel Xeon E7 v2 servers support 6TB of RAM
- Microsoft promises video calls between Skype and Lync
- Office for iPad due before July
- Windows 7 on business PCs gets an extension
- Windows apps land on Chromebooks with VMware
- Office 365 gets two-factor authentication
- Move over Delia: IBM Watson is cooking tonight
- Eric Schmidt on the double-edged smartphone: friend and foe
- Getty joins the race to the bottom
- Hour of Code: five steps to learn how to code
- Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet review: first look
- Sony Xperia Z2 review: first look
- Samsung Galaxy Gear 2 review: first look
- Nokia XL review: first look
- Samsung Galaxy S5 review: first look
- Nokia X review: first look
- 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
- Can Microsoft survive? The future of Office
- A real-world guide to business VoIP
- Sack your PA: how to stay on top of your work life
- Power lies with the internet giants, not the governments
- Software subscriptions return us to a life of servitude
- Windows Server 2012 R2: how the Datacenter edition could change SMBs
- Invoices and VAT: how to set up your documents correctly
- Nexus 5 vs Samsung Galaxy S4 Active: the best phone for avoiding screen burn
- How much is a social user worth?
- The key to choosing a secure password
- Thunderbolt Bridge: a fast Mac migration tool
- Should you advertise on Twitter?
- How to track a lost smartphone
- Self-publishing success: the best way to sell your book
- 1.6TB SSD: why would you need one?