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Dell PowerEdge R420 review

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Dell PowerEdge R420

Despite the limitations of the 1U format, the PowerEdge R420 is a very scalable rack mount server, capable of supporting demanding workloads in space-constrained environments. Correctly specified, it’s a real force to be reckoned with.

Pros:

Dual sockets for Xeon E5-2400 processors; up to 384GB RAM; eight hot-swap drive bays; iDRAC 7 management; optional embedded hypervisor

Cons:

No hot-swap fans; RAID configuration a little complicated

Overall Rating:

4 Star Rating: Recommended

Price: £7,371 + VAT (As reviewed)

Manufacturer: Dell

The latest addition to Dell’s ever-expanding line-up of twelfth generation servers, the 1U PowerEdge R420, has been a long time coming. However, the wait has been worth it. Indeed, it turns out to be something of a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

The R420's starting price of £800+VAT puts it within the reach of small business buyers, while with sockets for two Intel Xeon E5-2400 processors, up to 384GB of RAM and 12TB of internal storage, it can also be scaled to handle really quite demanding workloads in space-constrained datacentre and branch office environments.

Built to the usual high Dell standards, the PowerEdge R420 comes in a well-designed, all metal, rack mount chassis. The internal layout is incredibly neat with minimal cabling in evidence and a full length lift-off lid which allowed us easy access to everything inside.

There are few hot-swappable components, but that’s compensated for by built-in redundancy, including dual-rotor fans, six of which keep the internal temperature within bounds.

Dell PowerEdge R420 inside

These can be noisy, especially at start up, but not excessively so given that rack servers are mostly deployed in self-contained cupboards, rooms or datacentres.

Hot-plug power supplies can also be specified, the review system shipping with dual 550 Watt supplies to cope with the demands of the full range of Xeon E5-2400 processors.

According to Dell few buyers ever leave a socket empty when ordering a 2P server, so ours came with two Xeon E5-2400s installed. Clocked at 2.1GHz, these chips sit towards the top of the E5-2400 range, delivering eight cores each plus support for Intel Hyper-Threading technology, equating to an impressive 32 virtual processors overall when viewed from the Windows Task Manager.

1U rack-mount chassis with slots for eight 2.5in hot-plug disks
Dual redundant 550W hot-plug power supplies
Two x Intel Xeon E5-2450 processors (eight-cores/16-threads, 2.1GHz, 20MB L3 cache, 95W TDP)
48GB memory on 12 x 4 GB DDR3 1600MHz RDIMMs
Dell PERC H710p RAID controller with 1GB non-volatile cache
Six 300GB 15K SAS hard disks; two Gigabit NICs
iDRAC 7 Enterprise remote management controller with vFlash and dedicated Gigabit management port
Three year on-site hardware warranty (next day)

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