Viglen SX145 review
Expect cool running and big savings on utility bills, as Viglen delivers a fine rack-server package high on specification but low on power consumption and heat output
Review Date: 20 Apr 2006
Reviewed By: Dave Mitchell
Price when reviewed: exc VAT
This year could prove to be one of the most interesting in the server market, as Intel is threatening us with a whole raft of new processors. In issue 137, we showed you three implementations of its 2.8GHz Paxville Xeon DP processor, which was launched at the end of 2005. Now we bring you yet another exclusive with Viglen's SS145 - the first rack server to market sporting the latest Intel Sossaman processors.
Sossaman is a dual-core chip based on the Yonah Core Duo T2500 and is being pitched by Intel as the Xeon LV processor. It uses a 65nm fabrication process and is compatible with current Xeon chipsets, so is supported by the Intel E7520. The key focus areas of the Sossaman are power consumption and heat output. Operating at 2GHz, the dual-core Sossaman has a Thermal Design Power (TDP) of a mere 31W, and there's even a 1.67GHz version on the cards with a TDP of only 15W. The bottom line is that power consumption will be radically reduced, making this platform a top choice for rack-dense environments such as data centres, where it could have a major impact on overall power costs. There's some debate about whether Sossaman will be superseded by Woodcrest, which is due out later this year. Suffice to say at the moment that the latter's TDP is expected to be around the 80W mark and therefore isn't aimed at the same markets as the Sossaman.
ISPs renting slots in their rack cabinets used to charge only for the space required for a customer's rack servers. But as processing power has gone up with a commensurate reduction in chassis height, most now charge on power consumption as well. As our power tests show, these new servers could also make significant reductions in service charges. With such a low TDP, heat output will be significantly lowered as well, so server-room air-conditioning requirements could be reduced. So far so good, but there are some flies in the ointment. The Sossaman has a slower 667MHz FSB and doesn't incorporate EM64T technology, so is purely for 32-bit applications. However, with the current dearth of 64-bit Windows apps or the lack of inclination of many businesses to use them, we don't see this as a major issue in the short term.
The SS145 is a smart amalgamation of Supermicro's SC-813M 1U chassis and X6DLP-4G2 motherboard. This comes as no surprise, as this particular manufacturer has consistently had the courage to deliver new server technology to the market well in advance of most other blue-chip vendors. The 'M' designation on the chassis also indicates that this is the rack-dense version aimed at storage and data-centre applications and is only 504mm deep. Plus, there's plenty of storage, as the system came supplied with a trio of the latest 400GB RE2 (RAID Edition 2) SATA/150 hard disks from Western Digital. These were hooked up to an LSI Logic RAID card and configured in a RAID5 array. Hot-spare capacity is available, as the front panel even has room for a fourth drive.
Internally, everything is neat and tidy, with the compact processor chips located behind a bank of four fans and mounted with small passive heatsinks. Even here costs are reduced, as Supermicro only needed to fit aluminium heatsinks rather than the more efficient but more costly copper variety. The new CPUs certainly deliver on Intel's claims. Using a PeakTech 9024 in-line power meter, we tested the server's total power consumption in idle mode and also with SiSoft's Sandra generating a heavy CPU load of between 80 and 90 per cent. When idle, the SS145 drew 119W, and under load this rose to 160W. We compared this with a standard 2.4GHz dual Xeon 1U rack server equipped with three Ultra320 hard disks and saw this pulling 228W at idle and a hefty 244W with the CPUs loaded.
- Microsoft reveals Windows 10... no, really
- eBay and PayPal split up
- iOS 8.0.2: old problems remain, new bugs added
- Technopop: London sci-tech festival is just for kids
- Windows 10: release date, features, free update and cloud version
- Chromebooks get version of Photoshop
- Retina display iMacs "coming soon"
- Apple patches ShellShock Bash bug
- Should the UK be a sharing economy?
- Want free Wi-Fi? It'll cost your first-born child
- Michael Dell: Cloud infrastructure is the roads, bridges and highways of the 21st century
- How to check your identity hasn’t been sold to the hackers
- Tim Cook: this is how much TV has changed since the 70s
- Westminster wins the .London battle
- 20 years of PC Pro: from deep pan pizza to virtualisation
- Five reasons why the Apple Watch leaves me cold
- Apple Watch, iPhone 6 and 6 Plus: Tim Cook's Apple back with a bang?
- BT Home Hub 5: how to get maximum speed
- 20 years of PC Pro: one-star reviews (including "the worst tablet we've ever seen")
- 20 years of PC Pro: our best covers
- Smartphone benchmarks 2014: what's the fastest smartphone?
- What is Kindle Unlimited and how does it work?
- BlackBerry Passport release date, UK price and specs
- OS X Yosemite release date, price and key new features
- How to change keyboard in iOS 8: customise the iPhone 6 keyboard
- The 7 best Chromebooks of 2014
- Apple iPhone 6 vs Samsung Galaxy S5: is the new iPhone 6 better than the Galaxy S5?
- How to install iOS 8 without deleting apps and data
- The best smartwatches of 2014: what's the best smartwatch?
- Nexus 6/X release date, specs and rumoured UK price
- How to sell more ebooks on Amazon
- 10 ways to make your business more secure
- Top five VoIP mistakes
- 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