Dell PowerEdge 6850 review
Expansion potential is extremely good too. Between the pairs of memory riser cards are no fewer than three PCI-X slots and four hot-plug PCI Express slots. The network connection is handled by a pair of Broadcom Gigabit Ethernet adapters, which the bundled Advanced Control Suite 2 can join together in fault-tolerant or load-balanced teams. Server management tools are as good as HP’s System Insight, with Dell’s comprehensive OpenManage suite comprising the Server Assistant and Administrator, IT Assistant and Array Manager utilities.
Installation is simple enough. Dell supplies one CD-ROM that automatically sets up a server to be managed and another that turns a networked system into a management console. The price also includes Dell’s DRAC 4 remote management card, which allows the server to be accessed securely via a web browser and controlled irrespective of its condition.
For comparison, the PowerEdge 6850 must be stacked up against HP’s ProLiant DL580 G3, which is its closest competitor. Processor support is identical, but access to the processors and hot-plug memory in the DL580 is far superior, as these are located in modules in the front panel. HP also offers an eight-drive SAS variant. However, Intel’s latest Xeon MP processor does command a hefty premium, so value isn’t a strong point of either product. It’s a close call, but we would go for the DL580, although there’s no denying the PowerEdge 6850 has what it takes to handle business-critical applications and the warranty is unbeatable.