Supermicro RTG RX-M140i review

6 Dec 2012

If you need a low-cost Xeon E3 pedestal server in a hurry, Supermicro's RTG system could save the day

Price when reviewed: 
931(£931 inc VAT)
5

The new Ready To Go (RTG) servers from Supermicro UK are designed for businesses that want a server quickly. As long as you place an order by 3pm, you should have one the next business day.

The RTG family comprises three rack and two pedestal models with a choice of Xeon processors, memory and storage. To ensure they can be shifted quickly, however, they’re available only in fixed configurations.

The servers come with a silver warranty as standard, which provides three-year, on-site NBD cover during the hours of 9-5pm on weekdays. Supermicro UK handles all service requests and you can increase your cover with Gold or Platinum Health Pack upgrades.

In this exclusive review, we look at the RX-M140i pedestal server, which offers a good hardware package for the price, along with room to expand. It claims to be whisper-quiet, with small offices firmly on its hit list.

Supermicro RTG RX-M140i

Horsepower is supplied by a 3.3GHz quad-core Xeon E3-1230V2 processor, which speed-wise sits in the middle of a family of 11 models. It supports Hyper-Threading and has a low TDP of 69W. Also included is 8GB of 1,600MHz unbuffered DDR3 memory, which can be expanded to a maximum of 32GB. This comes in the form of two 4GB DIMMs, so you can go up to 24GB without replacing them. This leads to minimal power usage, with our meter recording a draw of only 34W in idle. Running SiSoft Sandra to stress the CPU saw this peak at only 80W.

The midi-tower chassis is well built and capable of handling the rigours of a small office. Physical security extends to padlocking the side panel or using the chassis’ Kensington lock, but the power button and pair of USB ports at the front can’t be protected.

The front panel can’t be easily removed, but you can get at the pair of 5.25in device bays at the top by removing a couple of pop-out panels. The side panel is secured with screws, but everything else uses tool-free clips and levers.

A spacious interior awaits, with plenty of room to get at the important bits. The compact ATX Supermicro X9SCA motherboard doesn’t take up much space, and has the processor mounted centrally with an active heatsink on top.

A 120mm fan sits at the rear of the chassis, and there’s one more in the fixed 500W power supply above. They don’t make much noise, though: we had to turn everything else off in the lab before we could hear any hint of a whirr from the RTG’s compact chassis.

Supermicro RTG RX-M140i

Meanwhile, a cage behind the front panel supports up to four hard disks and the price includes a single 1TB WD Enterprise SATA II hard disk. The cage can be released and swung out for easy access and the remaining bays have quick-mount drive sleds, plus interface and power cables.

The C204 chipset, meanwhile, has four SATA II and two SATA III ports on the motherboard, with support for RAID5 on the SATA II ports, and mirrors or stripes on the SATA III ports.

There isn’t any remote server management hardware – Supermicro’s embedded RMM is only available on the X9SCA-F motherboard variant – but you can use Supermicro’s freely available SuperO Doctor III tool, which provides remote web browser access for monitoring. It’s looking dated now, though.

Considering the server is available for next-day delivery, the price is good. You can pick up an HP ProLiant ML110 G7, but with an older 3.3GHz E3-1240 CPU, 4GB of RAM and a 250GB hard disk for around £815. Next-day delivery adds £20 and you get only a one-year on-site NBD warranty. A PowerEdge T110 II with the same specification and three-year warranty as the RTG is cheaper, at around £610. However, there’s a £30 delivery charge and Dell won’t give you an estimated delivery date until you’ve paid.

There are times when you need a server in a hurry. A failed critical system, a sudden high-priority IT project, or a need for an extra test bed means there’s no time to lose, and the RTG RX-M140i is a good way of solving that – at a reasonable price.

Details

Price ex VAT £776

Warranty

Warranty 3yr on-site

Ratings

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

Physical

Server format Pedestal
Server configuration Pedestal chassis

Processor

CPU family Intel Xeon
CPU nominal frequency 3.30GHz
Processors supplied 1
CPU socket count 1

Memory

RAM capacity 32GB
Memory type DDR3

Storage

Hard disk configuration 1 x 1TB Western Digital SATA II Enterprise cold-swap
Total hard disk capacity 1,000GB
RAID levels supported 0, 1, 5

Networking

Gigabit LAN ports 2

Motherboard

Conventional PCI slots total 3
PCI-E x16 slots total 1
PCI-E x8 slots total 2

Noise and power

Idle power consumption 34W
Peak power consumption 80W