IBM System x3650 M3 review

Price when reviewed

Unlike HP’s new iLO3 controller, the IMM power metering tools and more are included in its System Director software. This is less cumbersome than Dell’s Management Console and provides a smart web interface with a host of utilities for general systems and network management.

It runs network discoveries, deploys management agents to IBM and non-IBM systems and includes inventory, file transfer and VNC-based remote control tools. The Active Energy Manager plugin talks to the IMM and provides power capping plus trend graphs of power consumption and system temperatures.

IBM hasn’t made any improvements for virtualisation support as you still only get an internal USB port for loading an embedded hypervisor. HP’s DL380 G7 has an embedded SD memory card slot and Dell’s R710 goes even further as it has a pair of redundant SD slots.

For the price, IBM delivers a very powerful server that includes a pair of high-performance 2.93GHz Xeon X5670 processors. These were teamed up with 24GB of DDR3 memory that can be upgraded to a maximum of 192GB.

IBM System x3650 M3

We’d expected this partnership to suck up a fair bit of juice but were impressed with the results of our power tests. With Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise idling along, we recorded a draw of 144W and with SiSoft Sandra putting the processors under maximum load this peaked at 274W.

By comparison, Boston’s thirsty dual X5650-equipped Igloo server pulled 200W in idle and 360W under maximum load. IBM looks even better as we tested the x3650 with both 675W power supplies installed.

A pair of internal riser cards aids further expansion, with each offering two PCI Express slots. This is on a par with Dell’s R710, but beaten by HP as the DL380 G7 support up to six PCI Express cards. The x3650 M3 starts with a pair of embedded Gigabit ports and you can double the port count by adding an optional dual-port Gigabit daughter card that slots into the motherboard.

Internal cooling is handled by a bank of three dual-rotor hot-plug fan modules arranged in front of the processors. HP uses smaller hot-plug fans and with both servers sitting on the bench next to each other we found the DL380 G7 to be the quieter of the two.

Don’t judge the x3650 M3 on price alone as IBM is packing in a choice hardware package with performance as a high priority. It comes a very close second to HP’s ProLiant DL380 G7 for features, has equally good storage potential and will lower costs as a replacement for your older rack servers.


Warranty 3yr on-site next business day



Server format Rack
Server configuration 2U


CPU family Intel Xeon
CPU nominal frequency 2.93GHz
Processors supplied 2


RAM capacity 192GB
Memory type DDR3


Hard disk configuration 2 x 146GB IBM 10K 6Gbits/sec SAS SFF hard disks in hot-swap carriers
Total hard disk capacity 292
RAID module IBM ServeRAID-BR10il v2
RAID levels supported 0, 1, 1E


Gigabit LAN ports 2

Power supply

Power supply rating 675W

Noise and power

Idle power consumption 144W
Peak power consumption 274W

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