Transtec 1002W review

Price when reviewed

Over the past few years, Transtec has expanded to become a truly pan-European server vendor. It offers an impressive range of pedestal and rack-server products, traditionally sourced from Supermicro and Intel. The 1002W comes courtesy of the latter and aims to deliver a high-performance rack-mount package at a very affordable price.

Transtec 1002W review

The 1002W comprises Intel’s SR2500AL solution and we tested the LX version, which has an active disk drive midplane incorporating an 8-port SAS controller that supports hot-swap plus stripes and mirrors. RAID5 and 50 arrays come into play, as Transtec has included the optional activation key and mini-DIMM cache memory module, and you get the battery backup pack as well.

The front panel has room for five hot-swap bays supporting 3.5in drives and Transtec has filled them all with 73GB Seagate Cheetah 15K.5 high-performance SAS drives. There’s room for another, but the sixth bay can only be activated with an optional conversion kit. There’s a move among nearly all blue-chip server vendors to support 2.5in disks in the drive to reduce power consumption and heat output. These smaller drives have limited capacity, but with green issues now high on the agenda Intel will need to provide support for these drives soon if its servers are to keep a competitive edge.

Internally, everything looks neat and tidy, with all cabling reduced to a minimum and kept well out of the way of the airflow. A neat arrangement is used to link the disk backplane to the S5000PAL motherboard, as a separate midplane board is placed between them. Edge connectors link it directly to the vertical backplane, while a separate bridge board connects it to a proprietary socket on the motherboard.

The server offers good performance, as it’s equipped with a pair of 2.33GHz quad-core Xeon processors partnered by 4GB of FB-DIMM memory. These are covered in large passive heatsinks and a plastic shroud ensures the memory modules get plenty of air. Cooling is handled by a bank of four fans behind the processors and two alongside – all are hot-swappable. And although the 1002W isn’t as noisy as some of its predecessors, it won’t be worrying the likes of HP, as the ProLiant DL380 G5 (web ID: 97777) is significantly quieter.

Expansion options abound, as the butterfly cage accepts a riser card on each side so you can mix and match four different types – the review system supports four PCI-E cards and one PCI-X card. A useful feature that improves your expansion options is the 50-pin mezzanine-style connector at the rear of the motherboard. Intel currently offers three optional I/O controller modules for this, which add external dual Gigabit Ethernet, four SAS parts or a single InfiniBand port. The module utilises its own slot at the rear of the chassis and adding one won’t lose you any expansion room on the riser card.

Management prospects look good as this is an area in which Intel has been working hard. The bundled System Management Software 1.5 suite includes its Active System Console, which opens with a screen full of chunky icons for quick access to each key component and, if any faults are detected, the relevant icon changes colour. LANDesk System Manager provides a more detailed view of the server and can run scheduled discoveries on the network, collect hardware inventory information and monitor selected systems using custom rules sets that determine its behaviour when problems are detected.

The additional remote management and RMM NIC modules mean you can remotely manage the server via a secure web browser session using the dedicated network port. The web interface is nicely designed and lets you view the system sensors, load up system logs and remotely turn the server on and off, reset it or cycle power. The virtual media feature is better than many, as not only will it allow you to share the floppy and optical drives on the local system with the remote server, but also your hard disks and even removable drives. The integral Raritan KVM chip on the controller card delivers full remote-control capabilities and these functions are neatly integrated into the main web console.

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