Lenovo ThinkServer RD120 review

Price when reviewed

Along with a thriving PC and laptop business, Lenovo aims to increase its appeal to SMBs with its latest range of ThinkServer systems allowing it to offer a more comprehensive range of IT services. We’ve already brought you reviews of its entry-level TS100 and RS110 servers and now we cast our gaze over the mid-range ThinkServer RD120 rack server.

The ThinkServer is the result of an agreement with IBM where Lenovo will produce single- and dual-socket servers based on IBM’s xSeries technology. Lenovo was keen to point out this is not an OEM deal but it’s manufacturing the servers itself in China. Lenovo has targeted a range of SMB apps and the RD120 focuses not only on general-purpose duties such as web, file sharing and messaging but also at branch office deployments, as well as running databases or server virtualisation.

Lenovo aims to offer smaller businesses a good support package. For the RD120, this starts off with a standard one year on-site warranty augmented by a 90-day trial of its ThinkPlus Priority Support (TPS).

The TPS trial provides a free protective umbrella for this period as it includes 24/7 telephone support for the OS and apps installed on the server, an upgrade path to four-hour responses to hardware problems and an option to continue after the trial has ended. Data protection also comes into Lenovo’s support equation as it offers an optional online backup service.

On to the server itself and at its foundation the RD120 is essentially an IBM System x3650 and so delivers a classy build quality that easily rivals the likes of Dell and HP. For storage you have a good range of options as the review system has room for up to six 3.5in SATA or SAS hard disks mounted in sturdy hot-swap carriers.

More storage choices are available as Lenovo’s partnership extends to a number of ‘ThinkServer ready’ options where you can get hold of IBM upgrades. These include conversions to eight 2.5in SFF or four 3.5in hard disks and an internal tape drive plus external storage arrays. Also, the basic ServeRAID 8k-l controller and its 32MB cache module can be upgraded with more cache memory and a battery backup pack so bringing RAID5 and 6 arrays into play.

Sites concerned about the environment and general power consumption will find the RD120 is easy on the utility supply. With both supplies hooked up to our inline power meter we recorded the server drawing 45W in standby and 203W with the OS in idle. With SiSoft Sandra maxing out all eight processor cores this rose to only 289W.

As the server wasn’t supplied with a preinstalled OS it gave us a chance to try out Lenovo’s EasyStartup bootable CD-ROM. This provides a guide for streamlining OS installation, driver installation and creating response files for multiple deployments. Once up and running the Windows EasyUpdate utility looks after server specific updates. It checks with Lenovo’s support site at scheduled intervals and downloads and installs them for you.

For general management you don’t get the benefit of IBM’s Director as an agreement with Avocent means its LANDesk software is bundled with the server as Lenovo EasyManage. This is designed to manage entire networks of servers and workstations at local and remote sites. Standard services include inventory, remote control and monitoring but EasyManage provides scheduled network auto-discovery, software distribution, OS deployment, role based administration, licence and patch management plus detailed reporting.


Warranty1yr on-site next business day



Server formatRack
Server configuration2U


CPU familyIntel Xeon
CPU nominal frequency2.00GHz
Processors supplied2
CPU socket count2


RAM capacity48GB
Memory typeFBDIMM


Hard disk configuration1 x 146GB IBM 10k SAS disk
Total hard disk capacity146
RAID moduleIBM ServeRAID 8k-I
RAID levels supported0, 1, 10, 5


Gigabit LAN ports2


Conventional PCI slots total0
PCI-E x16 slots total0
PCI-E x8 slots total2
PCI-E x4 slots total2
PCI-E x1 slots total0

Power supply

Power supply rating835W

Noise and power

Idle power consumption203W
Peak power consumption289W


OS familyNone

Disclaimer: Some pages on this site may include an affiliate link. This does not effect our editorial in any way.

Todays Highlights
How to See Google Search History
how to download photos from google photos