Boston Value Series 570 review

£1871
Price when reviewed

Barely had Intel announced its new Sandy Bridge server processors when Boston flew through our lab doors with the first Xeon E3-1200 production server. We put its Supermicro-based Value Series 570 on test to see what benefits it offers over current Xeon server choices.

Intel has its eye on a number of applications for the Xeon E3-1200 series of processors. It has a sharp focus on the emerging microserver market, where it sees these processors providing a rack density capable of rivalling blade servers. Intel also sees them suited to common tasks such as web and email serving, dedicated hosting and SaaS provisioning. Boston has pitched the 570 firmly at these applications, but the server is also capable of providing a low-cost solution as an AD domain controller for basic file, print and general network services.

The E3 family comprises seven 32nm models, ranging in speed from 2.2GHz right up to a feisty 3.5GHz. All are quad-core except for the E3-1220L, which has two cores, a smaller 3MB L3 cache and a 20W TDP. All support Intel’s Turbo Boost – the E3-1220L can rise to an impressive 3.4GHz when needed.

Boston Value Series 570

The E3 series also offers a superior performance-per-watt ratio than Intel’s own 3400 Xeons. The quad-core E3-1270 in this review system clocks in at 3.4GHz, but with a TDP of only 80W; by contrast, the X3450 in the HP ProLiant DL120 G6 has a lower speed of 2.67GHz but a higher 95W TDP.

Boston has opted for Supermicro’s X9SCI-LN4F motherboard – a new model, not blighted by the Sandy Bridge SATA controller glitch. Three Cougar Point chipsets are available, of which the Boston uses the C204, and the SATA controller has four 3Gb/s and two 6Gb/s embedded ports that are colour coded on the motherboard. The four 3Gb/s ports let you create stripes, mirrors or RAID5 arrays, while the pair of 6Gb/s ports can handle mirrors or stripes.

The LGA 1155 processor socket is centralised on the motherboard, with four DIMM sockets to one side. Despite the chipset supporting 32GB of memory, Supermicro has only passed the board for 4GB UDIMM modules so maximum expansion is currently 16GB. Only unbuffered ECC memory can be used at the maximum 1,333MHz speed; registered memory is not supported.

For storage you have four 3.5in disk bays, with a DVD-ROM drive squeezed in above them. The price includes a triplet of 1TB Western Digital Enterprise 3Gb/s SATA hard disks in hot-swap carriers. Expansion is limited by the inclusion of only a single PCI Express x16 slot on the internal riser card, but there’s a quartet of Gigabit Ethernet ports at the rear.

Warranty

Warranty 3yr on-site next business day

Ratings

Physical

Server format Rack
Server configuration 1U

Processor

CPU family Intel Xeon
CPU nominal frequency 3.40GHz
Processors supplied 1

Memory

RAM capacity 16GB
Memory type DDR3

Storage

Hard disk configuration 3 x 1TB WD Enterprise SATA hard disks
Total hard disk capacity 3,000GB
RAID levels supported 0, 1, 5, 10

Networking

Gigabit LAN ports 4

Power supply

Power supply rating 330W

Noise and power

Idle power consumption 54W
Peak power consumption 129W

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