Asus RS700-E6/RS4

  • Editors' rating
    Not yet rated

If you're building your own server, Asus offers a few options to get you started.

Your typical 1RU server chassis. (Credit: CBS Interactive)

The RS700-E6/RS4 1RU bare-bones server, for example, comes with its own Z8PS-D12-1U motherboard, featuring dual-socket Xeon 5500 series support (although the heatsinks are optional), and 12 DDR3 1066/1333 sockets for a maximum 96GB RAM. You'll need to bring your own components to fit these though, depending on your needs.

Bring your own CPUs — heatsinks are optional too. (Credit: CBS Interactive)

Expansion is limited down to pure lack of space, with two PCI-E x16 (one operating at 8x) slots and one PCI-e x8 slot, with daughterboards used to rotate the slot 90 degrees so full-sized cards can fit. Two Intel 82574L gigabit Ethernet ports are present, as is a third for management as well as a serial port.

The front of the server features four 3.5-inch quick-removable bays, space for a slimline optical drive, two USB ports, status lights, and three buttons — power, reset, and location, for switching off the flashing light you can set going remotely.

Top ZDNET Reviews

Flipping around to the back reveals the included 770W power supply, of which a second can be added for redundancy. PS2 ports are here too for mouse and keyboard, as is VGA out, two USB ports, three RJ45 jacks and a serial port. Annoyingly, none of these network ports are labelled, leaving you to guess which two are for the LAN, and which is for management — although popping the cover and checking what chipset each is plugged into soon solves that — the management port is on the right. You won't be able to use this out of the box — you'll need to purchase the optional ASMB4-iKVM module.

The server comes with one PSU — you'll have to supply another for redundancy.
(Credit: CBS Interactive)

It'd be nice if they labelled the network ports. You can either play roulette and eventually find which one is the management port, or you can just lift the lid and follow the chipsets. Hint: it's on the right. (Credit: CBS Interactive)

Storage-wise, out of the box you're limited to the RAID options that Intel's ICH10R offers, only being able to use five out of the six channels it usually offers (four drives at the front plus DVD+-RW). You can add in one of Asus' PIKE boards to enable support for SAS and/or hardware RAID. Its PIKE 1064E supports four SAS drives and software RAID, while the 1078 supports eight SAS drives and hardware RAID, with four of those channels going to waste if you opt to put that particular card in this particular chassis. The specs also mention an LSI controller, but we could find no evidence of this — and can only assume that the PIKE cards are therefore LSI based. A USB port is supplied on the motherboard itself, in case you need to install a hardware dongle.

Graphics are handled by the Aspeed AST2050, which can best be described as functional — although we had some issues during testing with the mouse cursor disappearing thanks to the video driver, so perhaps even that's a stretch. It'll limit you to 4:3 resolutions, a maximum of 1280x1024 @ 32-bit colour, or 1600x1200 @ 16-bit.

The Aspeed graphics chip. It works. Kinda. (Credit: CBS Interactive)

Cooling-wise, Asus has decked out the RS700 with seven removable fan modules, each containing two Nidec Ultraflow 40mm fans each to compensate for failure. A plastic baffle is installed over the processor/memory area to better direct airflow out the rear, while a single fan out of the seven is used to push air towards the power supplies, which in turn feature dual Delta 40mm redundant fans.

The 40mm Nidec Ultraflow fans used in the RS700 aren't listed on Nidec's web page. Usually there's a plastic baffle covering the CPU heatsinks and RAM. (Credit: CBS Interactive)

Asus claims Window Server 2008 32/64-bit, Windows Server 2003 32/64-bit, RHEL AS5.0 32/64-bit and SuSE LES 10 32/64-bit support, and the bare-bones server is available for AU$1999.