Broadberry BDS-1300LV review

£4251
Price when reviewed

The BDS-1300LV delivers a slimline rack package with performance as a key priority. Both SATA and SCSI variants are available, but Broadberry plumped for the latter in this case and supplied a trio of Fujitsu Ultra320 drives in hot-swap carriers. At 300GB apiece, these are the biggest SCSI drives currently available, allowing the BDS-1300LV to deliver good overall capacity as well.

The front panel has room for four drives, so you could add another for hot-standby capabilities. There isn’t much room left, but Broadberry has managed to squeeze in a floppy and low-profile DVD-ROM drive above the bays. The lid is removed by depressing a couple of buttons, and underneath you’ll find a well-designed interior. The motherboard is rack-server specific and has been designed to allow for enough room to fit dual redundant power supplies. The review system was equipped with a pair of 700W hot-swap modules.

The embedded SCSI controller has one channel cabled to the drive backplane and the other sensibly routed through to the rear panel to allow external devices to be attached. RAID is on the menu, as the chipset offers Adaptec’s HostRAID feature. But this lies idle, since the 133MHz PCI-X slot is occupied by Supermicro’s ZCR (zero-channel RAID) controller, which commandeers both SCSI channels and provides support for RAID5 as well as mirrors and stripes. There’s plenty of room to expand, as the central riser card has another 100MHz PCI slot for half-height cards, or you can opt for a version with PCI Express slots on each side.

The 3GHz 5160 processors are topped off with passive heatsinks, and behind lies a bank of eight DIMM sockets. The price includes a generous 4GB of fully buffered memory and the system can be upgraded to a maximum of 32GB. Cooling is handled by a bank of five dual-rotor fans fitted in rubber mounting blocks behind the processors. They can certainly shunt plenty of air through the chassis, and the noise levels are reasonable once they’ve settled down after power-up. But they’ll still preclude this system from anywhere but a server room. In this environment, remote management becomes a must and, along with the bundled SuperO Doctor III software, an optional IPMI 2 controller can also be fitted.

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