Tower servers tend to be big and bulky but, when we unboxed the Primergy TX120 S3 we thought there'd been a mix up. It looked more like a desktop PC.
However, appearances can be deceptive and that "desktop" turned out to be a very compact yet highly configurable network server designed for space-constrained small businesses and branch office deployment.
Although it can be rack-mounted if wanted, the compact Primergy chassis is unassuming and easy to locate in most small offices. The unit can be stood upright using plastic feet supplied or placed horizontally. Just remember: the DVD drive, if included, may jam if used sideways.
The front is protected by a couple of pull-off plastic grills which can be locked in place to prevent unauthorised access. These grills cover the storage, on-off switch and other controls.
Two versions of the chassis are available, populated with bays to take either two 3.5in or four 2.5in disks. Ours came with the latter, fitted with a pair of 450GB hot-swappable serial-attached SCSI (SAS) disks, leaving two bays free for further expansion. However, be sure you choose the right format up front as it's not possible to swap to a different disk size later on.
A couple of screws round at the back are used to secure the casing (there's a fitting for a lock if required) and once removed the top cover simply slides off to reveal a neat and surprisingly spacious interior. The storage compartment can also be swung up and out of the way if needed.
The motherboard is a single-socket design capable of accommodating a variety of Intel processors from the humble Celeron G530, through to members of the Core i3-2100 family and the Sandy Bridge Xeon line-up - the Xeon E3-1200.
Our review unit came with 3.1GHz E3-1220 (quad-core, four-threads) which presents itself as four logical processors under Windows Server 2008 R2. However, other versions can be specified, including the top-of-the-range 3.2 E3-1240 which, with eight threads on offer, doubles the logical processor count shown by Windows Task Manager and available for virtualisation duties. Low energy implementations of the Xeon can also be fitted.
Four DIMM slots are provided for memory. Ours had 8GB of ECC-protected DDR3 RAM on two modules, the maximum being 32GB, effectively giving 4GB per virtual core with the Xeon E3-1240 fitted.
Something of a work of art, the motherboard is highly integrated with processors and memory slots. The chipset support for a total of 10 USB ports - six at the back, two at the front and a couple more inside - plus two Gigabit Ethernet interfaces. Unfortunately, the second of the LAN ports wasn't picked up when we installed Windows Server on the test machine, but that was easily solved by downloading a driver pack from the Fujitsu website.