Supermicro RTG RX-1240i review
We’ve already passed judgement on the RX-M140i entry-level pedestal and RZ-1280i scalable server. Now it’s the turn of the RX-1240i cloud server. As with its Ready To Go (RTG) stablemates, the RX-1240i is designed to deliver great value for money, and as long as you place an order by 3pm it will be with you the next business day.
The RX-1240i includes a basic specification that comprises a single Xeon E5 processor – the quad-core 1.8GHz E5-2603 – and 8GB of RAM. There are no dual-CPU configurations on offer, so if you want a second CPU you’ll have to install one yourself. Since all 16 DIMM sockets are only active with dual CPUs, you have no option but to add a second CPU if you need more than 256GB of memory.
Inside, the design is tidy, with the cable-free interior providing easy access to the key components. A clear plastic shroud covers the CPU and memory sockets, and it’s easy to remove, but it’s of a generic design so doesn’t fit perfectly flush with the motherboard.
All RTG rack servers include dual PSUs, and this one sports a pair of 700W hotplug models. Thankfully, the PSU fans run much slower than those in the RZ-1280i, and we found the RX-1240i’s noise levels were considerably lower. Power consumption is also modest: with Windows Server 2008 R2 idling we measured a draw of 67W, and with the SiSoft Sandra benchmarking app running this peaked at 85W.
Upfront are four 3.5in SATA hot-swap drive carriers, and the price includes a single 500GB WD Enterprise hard disk. The drive carriers have a couple of status LEDs that show drive activity and warn of a failure, or when it’s part of an array rebuild. The LEDs are useful, but not as informative as HP’s new ProLiant Gen8 SmartDrive carriers, which have an LED for every occasion. Still, it’s good to see that the embedded Intel controller supports the latest 4TB SATA drives.
The drive backplane is linked directly to the motherboard’s SATA II/SCU (storage controller unit) quad-port connector via an iPass fan-out cable. The SCU ports and arrays can be locally managed from Windows using Intel’s Rapid Storage Technology (RST) utility. This provides tools for creating and monitoring RAID arrays and sending email alerts if problems are detected.
RAID support for the SCU ports is confusing, however. Supermicro’s manual states it supports stripes and mirrors, whereas its website shows RAID5 as being available. To clear this up, we replaced the single drive with three of our own SATA drives and found we were able to create a RAID5 array using Intel’s RST BIOS interface.
Remote management is handled by the motherboard’s Supermicro RMM chip, and connected to via the dedicated network port at the rear. The web interface has been given a welcome overhaul, and provides more information than before.
An at-a-glance table of sensor readings for critical components can be found on the homepage, along with a thumbnail view of the server’s screen and a pie chart of the event log. Power can be controlled from here, too, but you still don’t get consumption graphs as you do with HP’s iLO4 controller. KVM-over-IP remote control can be accessed directly from the homepage, and this also provides virtual media services, so you can present a device on the host PC to the server and boot from it.
Set against the class-leaders – Dell’s PowerEdge R620 and HP’s DL360p Gen8 – the RX-1240i looks under-equipped. Take the low price and next-business-day delivery into account, however, and it’s easy to see the RX-1240i’s appeal. If you’re in urgent need of a 1U server, you’ll be hard pushed to find an E5-2600 Xeon unit for less.
|Warranty||3yr on-site NBD|
|CPU family||Intel Xeon|
|CPU nominal frequency||1.80GHz|
|CPU socket count||2|
|Hard disk configuration||500GB WD SATA Enterprise how-swap|
|Total hard disk capacity||500GB|
|RAID module||Intel C602|
|RAID levels supported||0, 1, 5, 10|
|Gigabit LAN ports||2|
|Power supply rating||700W|
Noise and power
|Idle power consumption||67W|
|Peak power consumption||85W|
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