Dell PowerEdge R815 review

Price when reviewed

For virtualisation duties, the R815 sports Dell’s unique internal SD memory card controller, and you get not one but two internal SD cards for booting into a hypervisor. The controller keeps an onboard copy of the boot media in case it fails and the process is fully automated. We tested this by removing and reinserting the second card and saw the boot-up process resynchronise its contents with the primary card.

The R815 sports Dell’s Lifecycle Controller and its 1GB of NVRAM memory. This comes into its own for OS installation: we were able to boot the server into Dell’s UEFI environment and deploy an OS without needing to use any boot media. Along with a deployment wizard, the Dell controller also provides diagnostics and server update tools.

The iDRAC6 Enterprise management controller in the review system provides a dedicated network port and full remote access to the server. Dell also includes its Management Console software, which provides automated discovery of all SNMP devices, inventory and system monitoring.

The R815 offers a tool-free internal design for easy upgrades and maintenance. The motherboard has four banks of DIMM sockets, and the front pair are accessed by releasing the hard disk bay and sliding it forward.

Dell PowerEdge R815 - interior shot

Cooling is handled by a row of six hot-swap fans in the centre of the chassis, and the entire assembly can be removed after releasing clamps on each side. During testing, we also found the R815 to be commendably quiet.

Expansion potential is very good. The server offers six PCI Express slots, but you probably won’t need them all since the R815 already has quad-embedded Gigabit ports, and the RAID card has its own dedicated slot as well.

As we’ve shown in our processor performance tests, AMD’s Opteron 6100 has the measure of Intel’s 5600 Xeons and stacks up well against the 6500 and 7500s. Quad-socket applications are where it really scores, though, and Dell’s aggressive pricing for the PowerEdge R815 makes this a reality for SMBs looking to move up to 4P servers and get more processing density out of their rack cabinets.


Warranty 3yr on-site next business day



Server format Rack
Server configuration 2U


CPU family AMD Opteron
CPU nominal frequency 2.20GHz
Processors supplied 4
CPU socket count 4


RAM capacity 256GB
Memory type DDR3


Hard disk configuration 5 x 147GB Dell 10K.3 SFF 6Gbits/sec SAS hard disks in hot-swap carriers
Total hard disk capacity 735
RAID module Dell PERC H700
RAID levels supported 0, 1, 10, 5, 6


Gigabit LAN ports 4

Power supply

Power supply rating 1,023W

Noise and power

Idle power consumption 335W
Peak power consumption 618W

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