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Dell PowerEdge T710

  • Editors' rating
    8.4 Excellent

Pros

  • Plenty of PCIe expansion and disk capacity
  • Four Gigabit Ethernet ports
  • Supports dual hot-plug power supplies
  • Rack-mount option

Cons

  • Bulky

Dell's foothold in the server market is strongest among small and medium-sized businesses, which are the prime candidates for tower-format servers such as the PowerEdge T710. Enterprises make use of towers too, especially in branch offices where rack-mount facilities are often absent. The T710 therefore boasts a number of enterprise-level manageability and software features, just like its rack-mounted sibling, the R710.

The PowerEdge T710 supports two Xeon 5500-series processors and up to 144GB of RAM. Our review sample came with 12GB of 1,066MHz DDR3 RAM in six 2GB DIMMs

The T710's six PCIe slots (two PCIe x16, four PCIe x8), 18 DIMM slots with 144GB maximum RAM, and dual Intel Xeon 5500 (Nehalem) processors have more space to breathe in the larger tower case, which means that Dell has been able to use larger 90cm fans. Bigger, slower-rotating fans mean less noise — although you still wouldn't want one of these boxes under your desk.

The key features on the front panel are a diagnostic LCD, which normally glows blue but turns red when warning of a fault, a reset button and a pair of USB ports, which are useful for plugging in a keyboard and mouse for occasional manual configuration.

 

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Internal components are easy to remove and replace, thanks to Dell's colour-coded latches.

The server can optionally include a pair of 1100W hot-pluggable power supplies — our review sample included only one — plus up to 16 hot-plug 2.5in. 146GB 10,000rpm SAS drives that sit behind the removable front panel. This configuration will provide a maximum of around 2.3TB: our review sample came with eight RAID 5-configured drives, providing around 1TB of storage. However, because tower servers are more likely to house their own rather than rely on external storage, you can install a 3.5in. drive cage that will allow up to 8TB to be installed.

Four Gigabit Ethernet NIC ports sit in the rear panel, along with a remote management network port and an SD slot: all are identical in function to those of the rack-mount edition.

Inside, a plastic shroud guides air over the memory and CPUs. Unlatch it, and the pair of Xeons with the Intel 5520 chipset dominate the motherboard. Behind them, from an airflow point of view, sit a quartet of hot-pluggable fans venting to the rear.

Everything is straightforward to remove and replace, thanks to Dell's colour-coded latches, and we found it easy to configure and use the system. This 35kg server with its swing-out feet feels solidly built and, if usage patterns or the environment change, you can buy a rack-mount kit to convert the T710 into a 5U system.

The PowerEdge T710 is ideal for branch office or medium-sized business use, where performance, expandability and flexibility are key attributes — and where downtime due to hardware failure is not an option.