Fujitsu Primergy TX100 S3p review

15 Oct 2012

The Primergy TX100 S3p combines all-round quality with an unbeatable price, making it a top choice as a small business server

Price when reviewed 
923
5

Fujitsu’s latest addition to its pedestal server line-up, the Primergy TX100 S3p, is targeted at budget-conscious SMBs that don’t want to skimp on quality. The appeal is obvious: with Fujitsu’s insistence on pushing every one of its servers through 5,000 boot-cycle torture tests, reliability goes hand in hand with one of Intel’s latest Ivy Bridge Xeon processors.

That isn’t all, though: Fujitsu is also keen to push the Primergy’s green credentials. The new Ivy Bridge-class Xeons do their bit for the environment, with the die shrink to 22nm lowering power consumption. While our review sample featured a 250W 84%-efficient power supply, it’s also possible to upgrade to a 94%-efficient model. The latter supports Fujitsu’s optional 0-Watt feature that allows the server to be placed in a zero-draw standby mode.

Our review system came with a 3.1GHz Xeon E3-1220V2 module, which has a TDP of 69W. Since the older Sandy Bridge 3.1GHz Xeon E3 32nm model has a higher TDP of 80W, the new generation should deliver significant power savings when the server is under load; the review system pulled only 30W in idle and 70W with the four logical cores pushed to the max.

Fujitsu Primergy TX100 S3p

Efficiency is married with excellent build quality. The solid-steel chassis feels set to last a lifetime, and the side panel is easily removable. Internally, the neat design provides easy access to all components, with all cabling tied out of the way. Physical security features are minimal: the Kensington lock at the back is the only security measure. It’s there to stop the side panel being removed or the entire unit being stolen.

The storage arrangement is unusual: two LFF drive bays are located at the bottom of the chassis, with two more at the front. Coined Easy Change by Fujitsu, the drives are held in plastic slides and can be unplugged and removed only when the server is powered down. The price for the review system includes a pair of 500GB Seagate SATA II drives, so there’s plenty of room to grow. Fujitsu offers 500GB, 1TB and 2TB enterprise SATA drives, and the power cables are already in place to receive them.

The embedded Intel C202 chipset provides six SATA ports on the motherboard, and supports stripes and mirrors. If you want RAID5 or 6 then you’ll need Fujitsu’s D2616 SAS/SATA RAID card, which costs around £200. Unfortunately, the chassis isn’t designed to support SAS drives.

Cooling is handled by an active CPU heatsink, a 120mm fan at the front and another 120mm fan below, which looks after the lower drive bays. The huge fans are a great choice, keeping noise down while still moving enough air to keep components cool.

Fujitsu Primergy TX100 S3p

The TX100 S3p slips up when it comes to remote management features, however. Despite being aimed at remote or branch office duties, Fujitsu hasn’t equipped the Primergy with its embedded iRMC controller. You get its ServerView Suite software, but since this provides only limited remote monitoring of critical components, it simply isn’t in the same class as some of its rivals.

Ultimately, the TX100 S3p comes up short against the competition. Pitted against the A-Listed HP ProLiant ML110 G7 and the Dell PowerEdge T110 II, the Primergy struggles to compete when it comes to storage options: the ML110 G7’s optional bay can accommodate eight hot-swap SFF drives, while the T110 II can be ordered with a cold-swap six-bay SFF cage. Of those two rivals, the HP’s flexible remote management and diagnostic features see it justify its place on our A-List.

Clearly, the ProLiant ML110 G7 is better if you want higher storage capacity and full remote management – but there’s a catch. HP hasn’t yet updated this server in readiness for the Ivy Bridge-class processors, so it doesn’t support Intel’s Xeon E3 v2 CPUs.

If you’re unwilling to settle for anything less than the latest Ivy Bridge CPUs, the choice is Fujitsu or Dell. In the final reckoning, Fujitsu takes a convincing win, trouncing the Dell for value for money. With the same specification and a five-year, on-site warranty for £280 less, the TX100 S3p is our top choice as a small business pedestal server.

Details

Price ex VAT £769

Warranty

Warranty 1yr on-site

Ratings

Overall rating 5
Performance 5
Features & Design 4
Value for Money 6

Physical

Server format Pedestal

Processor

CPU family Intel Xeon
CPU nominal frequency 3.10GHz
Processors supplied 1

Memory

RAM capacity 32GB
Memory type DDR3

Storage

Hard disk configuration 2 x 500GB Seagate Barracuda
Total hard disk capacity 1,000GB
RAID module Intel C202
RAID levels supported 0, 1, 10

Networking

Gigabit LAN ports 2

Motherboard

PCI-E x16 slots total 4

Noise and power

Idle power consumption 30W
Peak power consumption 70W