Lenovo ThinkServer TD100x review

£1668
Price when reviewed

Lenovo’s move into the SMB server market last year may have caused much speculation but it does make good sense. Taking over IBM??s laptop and desktop business has given it a healthy worldwide share of this market but it needs to offer server solutions as well if it wants to provide a complete IT service to smaller businesses.

Since the launch of the ThinkServer family we’ve brought you exclusive reviews of all Lenovo’s entry level models and now we take another exclusive look at the TD100x. This represents the pinnacle of the ThinkServer pedestal server range and its main target is SMBs and branch offices that want a reliable platform to run mission critical applications.

Lenovo’s support package makes it stand out as along with the standard three year on-site warranty you get a 90-day taster of its Thinkplus Priority Support (TPS). This aims to get small businesses with limited IT expertise over the first few installation hurdles at no extra cost as it brings in 24/7 telephone support for the OS and installed applications and an upgrade option to four hour responses to hardware problems.

The ThinkServer family 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 very keen to point out to us that this agreement is not an OEM deal but that it is actually manufacturing the servers itself in China.

Measuring 75cms deep, the TD100x is a chunky floor standing server and although IBM’s design isn’t particularly inspiring it does deliver the same high standard of build quality as the System x3500. Security is limited as although you can key lock the side panel, the front door can’t be secured against wandering fingers. A useful feature is the light path diagnostics unit built into the side panel allowing you to see at a glance where errors have occurred.

There are plenty of storage options as the behind the front panel you have a hot-swap bay with room for up to eight 3.5in SAS or SATA hard disks. The hard disk bay is wired directly through to edge connectors on the motherboard and the embedded ServeRAID-8k controller comes with a healthy 256MB of cache memory along with a battery backup pack. This arrangement delivers support for the usual RAID array types plus dual-drive redundant RAID-6.

Internal design is good with plenty of access afforded to all critical components. To maximise space, the location of the twelve DIMM sockets is slightly unusual as they are all hidden behind the power supply carrier. To access them you need to remove both power supplies which then allows the entire carrier to be swung outwards. This manoeuvre can’t be done with the power supplies in place as they have locking tabs that mate with the carrier to prevent it being opened.

Cooling is well catered for as the chassis has a total of six hot-plug fan modules located in key positions and the two processor sockets are covered in a transparent plastic shroud. Overall noise levels are low enough to make it suitable for most offices. Power consumption is quite reasonable as well as our in-line power meter showed the TD100x drawing 36W in standby and 150W with the OS in idle. With SiSoft Sandra pummelling the single quad-core Xeon, power usage peaked at a modest 208W.

First time installation is helped along by Lenovo’s EasyStartup disc which provides plenty of help with RAID configuration, disk partitioning, loading drivers and OS installation. EasyUpdate looks after server updates and you can set this to a schedule where it will regularly check Lenovo’s support site and download updates and install them for you.

Warranty

Warranty 3yr on-site next business day

Ratings

Physical

Server format Pedestal
Server configuration Pedestal chassis

Processor

CPU family Intel Xeon
CPU nominal frequency 2.33GHz
Processors supplied 1
CPU socket count 2

Memory

RAM capacity 48GB
Memory type FBDIMM

Storage

Hard disk configuration 146GB IBM 10K SAS in hot-swap carrier
Total hard disk capacity 146
RAID module IBM ServeRAID-8k
RAID levels supported 0, 1, 10, 5, 6

Networking

Gigabit LAN ports 2
ILO? no

Power supply

Power supply rating 835W

Noise and power

Idle power consumption 150W
Peak power consumption 208W

Software

OS family None

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