Dell PowerEdge R420 review

Price when reviewed

With Intel’s new Xeon E5-2600 processors hogging the limelight, it’s easy to forget that there’s a lower-cost alternative. Showcasing the capabilities of Intel’s more affordable Xeon E5-2400 CPUs, Dell’s PowerEdge R420 is aimed at SMBs looking for a powerful entry-level rack server with plenty of expansion potential. It’s primed for virtualisation, workgroup collaboration, email, web and file serving – but also as a low-profile compute node for data centres.

Physically, the R420 isn’t as deep as Dell’s flagship R620 1U rack server, but it crams a decent specification and plenty of storage capacity into a well-designed 1U rack chassis. The front panel includes an optical drive, two USB ports and Dell’s nifty LCD panel and control pad. This displays the server’s status and can be used to set the remote management network address and view power consumption and system temperatures.

Inside, the twin CPU sockets house a pair of 2.1GHz E5-2450 processors. These eight- core CPUs have an 8GT/sec QPI, a 20MB L3 cache and support for RDIMM memory speeds of up to 1,600MHz. The key differences between these CPUs and the E5-2600 Xeons are that they use the Socket-B2 (LGA1356) package, which reduces costs with a single inter-socket QPI link. They have three DDR3 memory channels and support six DIMMs for each occupied processor socket, which limits the maximum memory to 192GB.

Dell PowerEdge R420

Six dual-rotor fans behind the drive backplane keep the server cool. Unlike the R620’s, they’re not hot-swappable, but they’re quiet, making the R420 a good choice for a small office.

Storage is well catered for. There’s room for eight hot-swap SATA or SAS SFF hard disks, and the price includes a pair of 300GB SAS 2 drives. Of course, you can always cut storage costs by opting for a base system with four LFF drives cabled directly to the motherboard’s SATA port. In this instance, RAID is provided by an embedded PERC S110, which supports software-managed stripes, mirrors and RAID5 arrays.


Warranty 3yr on-site Next business day



Server format Rack
Server configuration 1U


CPU family Intel Xeon
CPU nominal frequency 2.10GHz
Processors supplied 2
CPU socket count 2


RAM capacity 192GB
Memory type DDR3


Hard disk configuration 2 x 300GB 10K SFF SAS hot-swappable
Total hard disk capacity 600GB
RAID module PERC S300 PCI-e RAID card
RAID levels supported 0, 1, 5, 6, 10


Gigabit LAN ports 2


Conventional PCI slots total 2

Power supply

Power supply rating 550W

Noise and power

Idle power consumption 92W
Peak power consumption 252W

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