Dell PowerEdge T620 review

Dell PowerEdge T620 review

Summary: The tower equivalent of the rack-mounted R720, Dell's PowerEdge T620 sports the same processor, RAM and management options plus even more flexible storage. It's a powerful and versatile platform that can cope with everything from standard file and print duties through distributed branch office applications to private cloud deployment.

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TOPICS: Servers, Dell, Reviews
4
  • Editors' rating:
    8.7
  • User rating:
    5.7
  • RRP:
    £7,895.00

Pros

  • Dual Xeon E5-2600 processors
  • Up to 768GB memory
  • Huge storage capacity with dual controller option
  • Very quiet in operation
  • iDRAC7 remote management
  • Embedded hypervisor option

Cons

  • Big and bulky tower casing

If you thought tower servers were low-spec systems best suited to small businesses and simple file and print sharing, think again. With sockets for two Intel Xeon E5-2600 processors and up to 768GB of RAM, the Dell PowerEdge T620 is capable of handling demanding application workloads, just like the rack-mounted R720 we reviewed in April. The tower chassis has room for a huge amount of storage — plus, of course, all the availability, management and virtualisation options expected of the PowerEdge marque.

Design
The T620 chassis is a huge, very solid and impressive-looking piece of kit, calling for two people to lift it into position. Ours came with redundant 750-watt power supplies, with even higher outputs available should the specification require it.

dell-t620-1
Dell's PowerEdge T620 is a large tower server that also has an optional fitting for 5U rack-mount deployment.

Access to the interior comes via a lockable side panel that lifts off to reveal an incredibly tidy and spacious interior, mostly shrouded by a large plastic baffle to direct the airflow.

Two big hot-swap fans plug in at the rear handle all the cooling, apart from a fan in each power supply. However, that's not an issue as the T620 is a remarkably cool and quiet server — not something you'd want to sit next to, perhaps, but it could be located in a cupboard and not be too intrusive.

CPU & RAM
The dual-socket motherboard can accommodate any of the Xeon E5-2600 (Sandy Bridge EP) processors. Ours came with a pair of 8-core E5-2650 chips clocked at 2GHz, this variant featuring 20MB of L3 cache, Intel Turbo Boost 2 technology and a maximum QPI of 8GT/s, enabling the T620 to record an impressive score of 22182 on the Geekbench 64-bit processor benchmark. That's not far off the 24329 returned by the very similar PowerEdge R720 we tested earlier this year — the R720's higher score coming courtesy of slightly faster 2.7GHz Xeon E5-2680 processors.

dell-T620-taskmgr
Two 8-core Xeon processors with HyperThreading means that Windows sees 32 logical cores.

An impressive 24 DIMM slots are located in banks on either side of the processors. Our review unit had a relatively modest 64GB of ECC-protected DDR3 memory installed, but you can go a lot higher. However, be prepared to pay handsomely to do so and try to specify the correct amount right from the start as swapping out existing DIMMs for bigger ones later on is even more costly. It's also worth noting that the memory on the review system had a 1333MHz rating, even though the E5-2650 can handle 1600MHz RAM.

Storage and expansion
When it comes to storage you're really spoilt for choice, with the disks all located behind a snap-off bezel at the front of the tower and several configurations available.

dell-t620-2
Our review unit had 32 2.5in. hot-swap drive bays, 12 occupied by 300GB SAS drives.

Go for 3.5in. disks, for example, and you'll get up to 12 hot-swap bays, with either 16 or 32 bays on offer if you opt for 2.5in. SFF drives. The 32-bay chassis can also be had with two backplanes, each with its own RAID controller — our review system shipped with twin PERC H710P adapters for just this purpose. And if you just can't resist it, the T620 can even be flipped on its side and slid into a rack server, with separate 5U chassis options to switch the disk orientation to match.

Finally, as with the rack-mount R720, you can also specify a chassis to take four hot-plug Dell Express Flash PCIe solid-state drives, delivering fast storage without the processor overheads of conventional SSDs.

The bulk of the storage, meanwhile, can be SATA or SAS, with a number of SSDs also available to order. Our review unit came with twelve 300GB 10,000rpm SAS disks, with larger and faster alternatives if required, plus copious SATA options for buyers on a budget.

A PERC S110 controller is built onto the motherboard, delivering RAID 0,1 and 5 — but this is limited to SATA, and just four disks at that. Most buyers will therefore need to specify a plug-in RAID controller, like the two PERC H710P cards on the review system.

There are seven PCI Express 3.0 slots available for expansion, two of which were already filled on our T620 by the RAID adapters. Even then, that left plenty of slots free, whether for yet more storage controllers, add-on LAN cards or multi-core GPU accelerator cards from NVidia and AMD, which can be used to further boost performance — assuming, of course, you're running compatible software.

Management
Like other 12th-generation PowerEdge products, the T620 can be monitored and managed remotely using its built-in iDRAC 7 Express controller. One of our favourite management options, the latest implementation features an update to Dell's unique lifecycle controller and further improvements to the web interface, including enhanced power monitoring and management.

dell-t620-idrac
Dell's iDRAC 7 Express controller includes improvements to power monitoring and management.

The Express controller comes free, but if you upgrade to the iDRAC 7 Enterprise edition you also get a graphical remote console and virtual media. Moreover, this upgrade is now implemented in software at a cost of £250 (ex. VAT) — or £291 (ex. VAT) if you go for the iDRAC 7 Enterprise with VFlash option, which comes with an SD card to pop in alongside the LCD status panel on the front of the server.

A network port dedicated to the iDRAC 7 controller is located at the back of the server, alongside a pair of Gigabit Ethernet interfaces for LAN connectivity. There are also four USB ports at the rear with two more at the front of the unit.

Finally, our review unit had an embedded hypervisor in the form of a dual SD card module, tucked away inside the casing in a slot at the top of the motherboard. This came with a VMware ESXi hypervisor on each of the SD cards, the second providing extra redundancy should one of the hypervisors fail.

Choices
In terms of processor and memory specifications the PowerEdge T620 tower and rack-mount R720 are very similar, if not identical. However, they differ enormously in terms of storage, with the tower server offering greater capacity and more configuration options. It's also a much quieter server, making it a better choice where a high-performance system is required but can only be deployed in an office rather than datacentre environment.

As already mentioned, we wouldn't want to sit next to a T620, but we'd happily recommend it for all sorts of uses. Maybe not file and print, as it's massively overspecified for such a role, but definitely to host web, email and database servers, as a virtualisation host for server consolidation, in a branch office or to run a private cloud.

Correctly configured, the PowerEdge T620 can do all this and more.

Specifications

General
Manufacturer's specification http://www.dell.com/uk/business/p/poweredge-t620/pd?oc=pet620&model_id=poweredge-t620&
Case form factor tower
OS & software
Operating system Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 x64, Windows Small Business Server 2011, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server or Red Hat Enterprise Linux
Software included VMware ESXi
Chipset & memory
Chipset Intel C600
RAM installed 65536 MB
Number of memory slots 24
RAM capacity 768 GB
Storage
Storage controller dual Dell PERC H710P RAID controllers with 1GB Battery-backed cache
Interfaces supported SAS, SATA II
Number of drive bays 32
Maximum capacity 36 TB
Installed capacity 3.6 TB
Connections
USB 6 x USB 2.0 (2 at front, 4 at rear)
Expansion slots 7 x PCIe 3.0 (1 x16, full-length/full-height; 3 x8, full-length/full-height; 3 x8, half-length/half-height)
Flash card 2 x SD
Networking
Ethernet controller Intel Dual Port 1GbE NIC
Miscellaneous
Other dual redundant 750W power supplies, iDRAC7 Enterprise Remote Management
Hard drive
Form factor 2.5in.
Rotation speed 10000 rpm
Hard drive interface SAS
Hard drive capacity 300 GB
Number of hard drives installed 12
Optical storage
CD / DVD type CD-RW/DVD-ROM combo
Processor & memory
Clock speed 2 GHz
Number of processors installed 2
Number of processors supported 2
Processor manufacturer Intel
Processor model Xeon E5-2650
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Prices

There are currently no prices available for this product.

Topics: Servers, Dell, Reviews

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4 comments
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  • And it still sports the same lousy support

    3.0

    Not a fan after buying two rack mount servers from Dell. Switched to vendor XXX (not trying to advertise for them so I don't need to mention their name to make the point) after that and never looked back. This was all this year (i.e. not old hardware)
    happyharry_z
  • Boot up

    8.0

    We have a Dell 2900 we got in 2008, I shut it down every Friday and Boot it up on Mondays. I work in a school environment, no point in having it running over the weekends. Question, when booting it up, is extremely load? You mention quiet. With the 2900, I have to start it and get out of the server room because it sounds like a loud trailer truck going up a hill beside me. Its an impressive machine though and I bet it would do great where I work for multiple purpose, whether it is storage, since we don't let the students save locally, File and Print for General/Accounts, authentication. I notice it takes a long time especially with Group Policy to process log ons, since its about 100 machines we have on the network.
    adacosta38
    • Boot up

      6.0

      Most Servers will have loud noisy when booting up..think of it as the 'warming up' process...like you do with a car..

      I've got a Dell PowerEdge R210 II at home (don't ask why I have a rack server at home please)...and it's the same...

      Ditto for the servers that I am using at working using IBM...
      lord_lad
  • Quick question

    Hi there,

    I am surfing the net for a week now, trying to decide which route I should go?! I would like to build a computer for video editing and use a program called Resolve by Davinci and Adobe Premiere Pro. Anyhow, can I install Windows 7 on a machine like this?! You probably wonder why I want to do that, ha ha. Simply because I like the look of the case better, than any other case out there!

    thanks,

    G
    neavissa