Boston Value Series 361 G8 review

£5999
Price when reviewed

Boston’s Value Series 361 G8 delivers a couple of firsts: not only is it the first production server to market with the new Xeon E5-2600 V2 ‘Ivy Bridge-EP’ processors, but it also has some unique power protection features. In this exclusive review, we look at the first rack server to include integrated battery backup units (BBUs).

Intel’s new processors are the undisputed stars of the show. The move to a 22nm fabrication process has allowed them to pack in more CPU cores without a significant increase in power demands. Each core has 2.5MB of dedicated L3 cache, and Intel has also added support for 1,866MHz DDR3 memory.

Boston Ltd supplied the VS 361 G8 to us with a pair of 10-core 2.5GHz E5-2670 V2 Xeons each sporting a whopping 25MB of L3 cache. It’s a significant improvement on the first generation chips: the equivalent model from the previous generation, the E5-2670, has a 100MHz higher clockspeed, but squeezes only 8 cores and 20MB of L3 cache into an identical 115W TDP rating.

Aimed at dual-processor server applications, the V2 family has 18 members with clockspeeds ranging from 1.7GHz to 3.5GHz. At the very top of the range are the 2.4GHz E5-2695 V2 and 2.7GHz E5-2697 V2 which deliver 12 physical cores, 30MB of L3 cache and sport 115W and 130W TDP ratings respectively.

Boston Value Series 361 G8

Boston has showcased the new Xeons by packing them into a 1U all-Supermicro system which is bristling with features. The front panel supports eight SATA III/SAS 2 SFF hot-swap hard disks and the carrier release catches have been redesigned so they’re easier to remove.

Storage arrangements are far better than those in Boston’s water-cooled VS 160 G8, too. The hard disk backplane is cabled directly to both SAS2 storage control unit (SCU) ports on the X9DRW-7TPF motherboard and managed by an embedded LSI 2208 RAID chip.

Internal design is tidy with the LGA 2011 CPU sockets staggered down the board to maximise air flow from the six dual rotor cooling fans. Each socket has eight DIMM slots and the price includes a healthy 64GB of fast 1,866MHz ECC DDR3 memory.

There’s also plenty of room for expansion. The central riser has two 16X PCI-Express 3.0 full-height slots on one side and an 8X low-profile slot on the other. Network connections simply don’t get any better, as the motherboard has dual embedded Gigabit ports and two Broadcom 10-Gigabit SFP ports.

We have one gripe about build quality, though, as the tight-fitting lid is tricky to replace – it’s too tight a fit at the sides. Supermicro should take a look at HP’s and Dell’s 1U rack servers to see how to do it properly.

Warranty

Warranty 3yr on-site

Ratings

Physical

Server configuration 1U

Processor

CPU family Intel Xeon
CPU nominal frequency 2.50GHz
Processors supplied 2
CPU socket count 2

Memory

RAM capacity 512GB
Memory type DDR3

Storage

Hard disk configuration Toshiba SAS 2 SFF
Total hard disk capacity 8GB
RAID module LSI 2208 SAS 2
RAID levels supported 0, 1, 10, 5, 6, 50, 60

Networking

Gigabit LAN ports 2

Motherboard

PCI-E x16 slots total 2
PCI-E x8 slots total 1

Noise and power

Idle power consumption 135W
Peak power consumption 330W

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