Viglen HX110i review

£1291
Price when reviewed

Aimed primarily at the server cluster node market, the Viglen HX110i certainly looks a top candidate for these duties. This low-profile offering delivers a number of interesting technologies. Comprising an all-Supermicro SuperServer 6014L-M package, it offers one of the smallest server chassis currently on the market, while a brace of Intel’s Xeon LV processors provide four cores but with a cool head.

Viglen HX110i review

Introduced at the beginning of 2006, the Xeon LV made its first PC Pro appearance in the A-Listed Viglen SX145. Codenamed Sossamon, this dual-core processor is based on the Yonah Core Duo T2500 and employs a 65nm fabrication process. With the HX110i, we see the very same 2GHz processors under the hood. Cool running is the order of the day, as the chips have a thermal design power (TDP) of only 31W.

With such a low power requirement, the biggest impact the processors have is on cooling, making them a perfect partner for this slimline chassis. When we reviewed the dual Xeon-equipped SilverEDGE 500SCR SATA from Evesham Technology , we were certainly impressed with the fine specification that had been squeezed into its 14in-deep chassis. But the high cooling requirements also made it one of the noisiest 1U servers we’d ever heard. With Xeon LVs in the driving seat, the number of fans and their speed can be reduced, resulting in a server that’s a lot quieter. As we pointed out with the SX145, the only real drawbacks of the Xeon LV processors are their slower 667MHz FSB and lack of Intel’s EM64T technology, so only 32-bit computing is possible.

This package comprises a Supermicro SC512LF-260 chassis and X6DLP-EG2 motherboard. The chassis is fairly basic, as unlike that employed by the 500SCR it has all its ports at the rear and not at the front. However, as the “M” designation on the chassis indicates, this is the rack-dense version and is a mere 14in deep. It’s actually possible to fit two of these servers facing each other into a single 1U rack space to give a processing density to rival many blade servers.

Underneath the lid, you’ll find the two processors are partnered by a bank of two small fans and simple passive heatsinks. The latter is another cost-reducing benefit of the Xeon LVs, as Supermicro has used aluminium heatsinks rather than the more expensive copper versions. Storage is minimal, though. The system came supplied with a single 80GB Western Digital SATA hard disk, which was tucked away underneath the low-profile CD-ROM drive. The motherboard has an embedded dual-port SATA controller, which supports striped and mirrored arrays, but there isn’t enough room to fit another 3.5in hard disk. However, we were advised by the distributor, Boston, that dual 2.5in hard disks are an alternative configuration. Basic expansion options are available as, although not supplied with the review system, it’s possible to fit a horizontal riser card to the motherboard, and Supermicro offers a choice of PCI Express 8x or PCI-X 64-bit/66MHz models.

As with all Supermicro servers, general monitoring is handled by the bundled SuperO Doctor III utility. It offers a smart remote web browser interface with plenty of operational data. You can keep a close eye on general system health, monitor critical system components and send out warnings if failures or problems such as high temperatures are detected. The alerting feature supports both pager and email messaging. You can pick and choose to monitor fan speeds, voltages, processor and chassis temperatures, plus chassis intrusion items. A SODIMM socket is also provided for Supermicro’s optional IPMI 2 baseboard controller, which is accessed remotely with its IPMI View utility, allowing the server to be controlled irrespective of its condition.

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