Broadberry CyberServe XE3-RS300 review

£1002
Price when reviewed

To add value, the controller provides KVM over IP remote control and virtual media services as standard. To get this on Dell’s servers requires the full iDRAC6 Enterprise module, while HP provides these features only as an upgrade to its iLO 3 controller.

Not only can management be placed on its own physical network port, but the server provides four Gigabit ports too. These can be used for standard networking duties, and the Intel PROSet utility allows them to be placed in load-balanced and failover teams.

The motherboard offers a splendid feast of storage ports, with the C204 chipset providing four SATA 3Gbits/sec and two SATA 6Gbits/sec interfaces, along with support for mirrors and stripes, plus RAID5 in Windows. Next door are eight embedded SAS 2 ports, but these come into play with only Asus’ optional Proprietary I/O Kit Expansion (PIKE) modules.

These boards plug into a couple of slots on the edge of the motherboard and enable the SAS ports. The latest PIKE 2008/IMR and 2108 modules add support for 6Gbits/sec SATA and SAS 2 drives, provide RAID5, 6, 50 and 60 in hardware, and cost £199 and £299 respectively.

Broadberry CyberServe XE3-RS300

Adding a PIKE module means both PCI Express slots are still free (see ), so even more expansion options are available. The right-hand slot has the processor in front of it, but since Asus has moved the heatsink further towards the front, there’s room over the top for a standard low-profile card.

You can also save cash by opting for one of Asus’ low-profile “SASsaby” PCI Express SAS controller cards.

Asus has also been working with VMware and is aiming this server at virtualisation duties. It has a sharp focus on VMware ESXi and has now fitted an internal USB connector on the motherboard, specifically for booting the server into this embedded hypervisor.

With the system here costing £835 exc VAT, the XE3-RS300 represents good value. It’s a shame the chassis can’t currently use SFF hard disks, as this would increase its potential further. It’s still packed with plenty of features, however, and is more cost effective than equivalent Xeon E3 servers from Dell and HP.

Warranty

Warranty3yr on-site next business day

Ratings

Physical

Server formatRack
Server configuration1U

Processor

CPU familyIntel Xeon
CPU nominal frequency3.30GHz
Processors supplied1

Memory

RAM capacity32GB
Memory typeDDR3

Storage

Hard disk configuration2 x 500GB Seagate SATA II hard disks
Total hard disk capacity1,000GB
RAID levels supported0, 1, 5

Networking

Gigabit LAN ports4

Noise and power

Idle power consumption55W
Peak power consumption135W

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