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Test Drive:

 
 
By Frank Ohlhorst  |  Posted 2008-10-28
 
 
 

It may sound a little arrogant, but Supermicro feels that no name better suites their 1U server than "Super Server."

The Super Server 6015C-M3 may not be faster than a speeding bullet, able to leap tall buildings or more powerful than a locomotive, but it sure does make quick work of Windows Server 2008.

Some 1U (1.75-inch) servers treat Microsoft’s Windows Server like kryptonite and come grinding to a halt when asked to lift heavy operating system loads, such as SQL Server or Exchange. The Super Server avoids those perils by cranking up the horsepower with support for two dual-core/quad-core Intel Xeon Processor 5100/5200/5300/5400 sequence (with 2MB Level 2 integrated advanced transfer cache per core, 4MB L2 cache total, up to 3.40 GHz) and 48GB of DDR (double data rate) 2 533/667 registered memory.

Peeking under the cape reveals an Intel Blackford VS5100 chip set, two Intel Gigabit Ethernet LAN 82573L adapters, an LSI 1068E PCI-E SAS controller and a motherboard loaded with real-time sensors.

All of those components are crammed into a server that is not much bigger than a pizza box, measuring just 1.7 inches high, 17.2 inches wide and 19.8 inches in depth. Thanks to ample cooling, administrators will not have to worry about the unit burning the pepperoni or melting the cheese.

Even at that diminutive size, SuperMicro was able to make room for an optical drive and four 3.5-inch hot-swappable SAS drive trays, all accessible from the front of the unit. A 520-watt, high-efficiency power supply provides the electrons to fire the beast up and keep it running.

The Super Server uses a solid design that keeps the case rigid, yet provides easy access to the internals, thanks to sliding rail mounts and a push button accessed by the flip-up hood. Solution providers will find that the unit is easy to install and maintain and it will not need Lois Lane to turn it on. Those pesky Jimmy Olson types will appreciate all of the integrated device monitoring capabilities, which will provide a quick snapshot of the Super Server’s health.

Supermicro sent over Super Server for testing and equipped it with a pair of Harpertown (Xeon E5450 3GHz) CPUs, 6GB of DDR2 RAM and a Fujitsu 147GB SAS 15K 3.5-inch hard drive. That configuration that should cost an integrator around $1,500.

We installed Windows Server 2008 Standard Edition (64-bit) and took the unit for a test drive. Installation was quite fast and the system went from "no OS" to a member of our domain in less than an hour.

To take a peek at performance, we threw the 64-bit version of  Passmark’s Performance Test on the system and were rewarded with an impressive Passmark rating of 2885—performance ample enough to make short work of Microsoft’s new arrivals of Windows Small Business Server 2008 and Windows Essential Business Server 2008.

System builders can expect to pay around $750 for a bare-bones unit. Complete specs can be found at Supermicro.