HP ProLiant DL380 G5 review

£1908
Price when reviewed
HP has consistently claimed the DL380 is the world’s largest-selling server, so why is it so popular? For starters, potential storage capacity is high, but it’s also well built and delivers plenty of expansion options. The server now employs 2.5in hard disks and HP has capitalised on the smaller form factor, as the drive cage has room for eight hot-swap SAS or SATA hard disks. The reduced space requirements have also allowed the entire cage to be tucked to one side of the front panel, leaving plenty of room for an unobstructed airflow path through the chassis. The system on review was supplied diskless, but both 72GB SAS and 60GB SATA drives are on offer for about £189 and £135 respectively.

A feature that’s difficult to miss is the new Systems Insight status panel by the side of the drive bay. This provides at-a-glance information about critical components, including processors, individual DIMM slots, power supplies and expansion cards. It can even advise if memory mirroring and the online spare are enabled. With the lid removed, it’s clear a major redesign has taken place. The processor sockets have been positioned to the far left so they can benefit from the unobstructed airflow. The single 2.67GHz Xeon 5150 processor supplied for review came mounted with a large passive heatsink and both sockets were covered by a sturdy clamping bracket.

Eight DIMM sockets are located to the right and covered in a plastic air shroud to aid cooling. And cooling aplenty there is, as processors and memory get the benefits of eight hot-plug fans, while four more look after the rest of the chassis. Despite all this air movement, overall noise levels have been kept low. The motherboard doesn’t have any embedded storage controllers, so these duties fall to a Smart Array 400 PCI Express card installed in a large riser cage. There’s plenty of room for more, as the cage has two spare PCI Express 8x slots, while the motherboard accepts two low-profile PCI Express cards. Power redundancy is also on the cards, as the server accepts a pair of hot-plug supplies and even these have been reduced in size so they don’t take up too much internal space.

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