HP ProLiant ML370 G5 review

£1943
Price when reviewed

Stacking up the ML370 G5 next to Dell’s PowerEdge 2900 shows there’s nothing between the two in the construction stakes. Both exude sheer quality. HP’s plastic front panel isn’t as aesthetically pleasing as Dell’s sculpted metal cover, but otherwise there’s nothing to criticise.

Where the ML370 G5 does win out, though, is for storage flexibility. Its front panel is home to a pair of cages, each capable of holding eight low-profile SAS or SATA hard disks. HP has done away with embedded disk controllers, so the drives are managed by a Smart Array 400 dual-channel PCI Express controller. Each cage is connected to separate channels on the controller, which also accepts an optional battery pack.

Internally, the server presents a very different picture to the 2900, which is packed full of dedicated fans and shrouds. HP has kept it much simpler, making access a lot easier. A large bank of fans divides the chassis vertically and comes as standard with three hot-swap modules. However, the price for the review system includes three extra redundant fans that sit behind them. Overall noise levels are reasonably low, making the server a good office partner.

The single 2.33GHz Xeon is fitted with a massive heatsink and the entire area is cordoned off by a large transparent plastic air shroud. Memory arrangements are a cut above the rest, as the FB-DIMM modules are fitted on separate horizontal daughtercards located further back behind the processors. Each has eight sockets, allowing the server to support up to 64GB of memory along with options for mirroring and online spares. Expansion is also impressive, as the mainboard has a pair of PCI-X slots and seven PCI Express 4x slots. The price includes both hot-plug power supplies.

IBM has always been proud of its light-path diagnostics, but HP’s ML370 G5 goes one better with its System Insight Display. This is a large panel that contains status LEDs for virtually every key component in the server, including power supplies, fans, processors, each DIMM socket and all expansion slots. HP has cunningly concealed the panel inside the server, but it can be viewed without removing the side panel, as it pops out the front and can be swivelled through 90 degrees.

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