Fujitsu Primergy RX100 S6 review
In all the excitement surrounding Intel’s latest Xeon 5600 processors it’s easy to forget that its 3400 series is the one to go for if you want a single socket server offering low costs and minimal power consumption. Fujitsu’s latest Primergy RX100 S6 aims to hit the spot in both cases and looks to offer some interesting expansion options in the process.
The RX100 targets SMEs looking for a multi-purpose server that can handle non mission-critical duties such as terminal services, web server farming or just basic file, print or messaging functions. Fujitsu’s Cool-safe technology is in evidence as the front panel and drive carriers use its honeycomb design, which aims to improve airflow through the chassis.
The design works well in practice as even with five cooling fans inside it, we found the review server to be incredibly quiet. In fact, it made less noise that an HP ProCurve 48-port Gigabit switch sitting in the rack above it.
Processor choices are extensive as along with the quad-core Xeon 3400 family, the RX100 supports dual-core Core i3 and Pentium G6950 desktop models plus the cheaper Celeron G1101. The system on review came equipped with a 1.86GHz L3426 module that has a low TDP of 45W, supports memory speeds up to 1,333MHz and with Intel’s Turbo Boost on the case, can be clocked up to a stonking 3.2GHz.
Storage options are basic as the RX100 only supports four SFF hard disks. The motherboard offers five embedded SATA ports so it can service all four drive bays plus an optical drive, and the controller supports mirrored and striped arrays. Fujitsu opted to showcase its 6Gbits/sec SAS options as the server included a quartet of 147GB SAS SSF drives in the price.
These were handled by Fujitsu’s new SAS RAID card, which sports 512MB of cache memory and came with the optional battery backup pack. It supports mirrors, stripes and RAID5 arrays and although not so applicable for a basic four drive server, it will do dual-drive redundant RAID6 as well.
The RAID card occupies one of a pair of PCI Express slots in a riser card located at the rear of the chassis but Fujitsu has been quite canny with internal design. It has managed to squeeze an extra PCI Express x4 slot in by fitting a second riser card inside the metal air shroud covering the processor.
The riser and shroud slot into a separate interface on the motherboard and are solidly secured. To remove it you need to release a couple of clips at the front of the shroud but note that the processor’s heatsink, although very small, does limit expansion cards to half-length only.
The spare bay above the optical drive also offers a couple of expansion options. Our server came with the VGA module that extends monitor and USB ports to the front panel, but Fujitsu also offers its LSP (local service panel) module. The panel provides an LED readout on critical components so you can quickly identify any that have failed.
The RX100 uses a single, cold-swap 350W power supply and it’s frugal with power consumption. Our in-line meter measured a draw of 71W with Windows Server 2008 R2 in idle and with SiSoft Sandra brutalising the eight logical processor cores, this peaked at only 112W.
Fujitsu can’t match Dell in the server deployment and remote management departments as the PowerEdge rack servers are blessed with the unique Lifecycle Controller and accept either the iDRAC6 Express or Enterprise management controllers.
Even so, the RX100 doesn’t disappoint as it sports an embedded iRMC2 management controller and dedicated network port. This provides a smart web interface with comprehensive status views of critical components and environmental values, along with graphs showing power consumption in periods ranging from one hour to a whole year.
You can also apply power management to the server by opting for best performance, minimum power consumption or by setting a specific ceiling in Watts. For the latter, the server can issue a warning if it breaches this threshold and you can have it gracefully power down after so many minutes or turn itself off immediately.
Go for the advanced iRMC2 upgrade as featured in the review system as it activates KVM over IP and virtual media features. These allow you to remotely control the server, access its BIOS menus or OS, and present devices on other hosts to the server as boot media.
For general systems management Fujitsu provides its ServerView Suite software, which focuses purely on server management. The ServerList option allows you to view all servers and provides a complete listing of hardware components along with their status and current power consumption.
Competition for the RX100 S6 comes from the Dell PowerEdge R210, which offers an equally well-priced package but in an even smaller chassis. However, the R210 only supports a pair of 3.5in hard disks and during testing we found it to be noisy, making the RX100 S6 a better choice if you want more storage options, greater expansion potential plus peace and quiet.
|CPU family||Intel Xeon|
|CPU nominal frequency||1.86GHz|
|CPU socket count||1|
|Hard disk configuration||4 x Fujitsu 147GB 6Gbits/sec SAS SFF hard disks in hot-swap carriers|
|Total hard disk capacity||588,000|
|RAID module||Fujitsu SAS-MLC2 RAID PCI-E controller with 512MB cache and BBU|
|RAID levels supported||0, 1, 10, 5, 6, JBODs|
|Gigabit LAN ports||2|
Noise and power
|Idle power consumption||71W|
|Peak power consumption||112W|