IBM System x3650 M3 review

Price when reviewed

IBM has been posting some respectable revenue increases this year, with its System x servers showing particularly good growth. On the back of this, it’s now launched its M3 family of rack servers. In this exclusive review we see how well the new x3650 M3 stacks up against HP’s latest seventh generation ProLiant DL380.

IBM has pushed on in the storage department; the x3650 matches the DL380 as it too supports up to 16 SFF hard disks. The system on review came with a single quad-drive bay but IBM offers a wide range of expansion options to increase capacity

You can choose between four-Pac or eight-Pac HDD expansion kits to increase the drive count and introduce hot-swap capabilities. IBM supplied a ServeRAID-BR10il v2 controller card that supports cold-swap mirrors and stripes. There’s more on offer with five other RAID controller options including support for RAID5 and 6 arrays, 512MB cache memory and a battery backup pack.

IBM System x3650 M3

IBM’s front panel design makes better use of available space than the DL380. If you go for all 16 bays on the x3650 you still have plenty of room to the right for an optical drive and the pop-out light path diagnostics panel.

Upgrade a DL380 G7 to 16 bays and you won’t have room for other components. IBM also puts one over on Dell’s PowerEdge R710 2U rack server which only supports eight hot-swap drives.

We were pleased to see that IBM now provides a universal ServerGuide utility for installing an OS on the server. You still have to download the image and burn a DVD, but at least the same one can be used for all System x servers where you choose your OS, set up the RAID controller and leave it to get on with loading the software.

The server sports IBM’s new UEFI (unified extensible firmware interface), which offers a setup menu for general server configuration, a boot device manager and a diagnostics GUI. You also get its embedded IMM, which provides web browser access to the server for remote monitoring and control.


Warranty3yr on-site next business day



Server formatRack
Server configuration2U


CPU familyIntel Xeon
CPU nominal frequency2.93GHz
Processors supplied2


RAM capacity192GB
Memory typeDDR3


Hard disk configuration2 x 146GB IBM 10K 6Gbits/sec SAS SFF hard disks in hot-swap carriers
Total hard disk capacity292
RAID moduleIBM ServeRAID-BR10il v2
RAID levels supported0, 1, 1E


Gigabit LAN ports2

Power supply

Power supply rating675W

Noise and power

Idle power consumption144W
Peak power consumption274W

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