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Dell PowerEdge SC430 - Dell PowerEdge SC430
For storage you can go for either SCSI or SATA and we would recommend the latter for small businesses that aren’t planning on running anything heavy duty. SATA offers a far better ratio of performance, price and capacity and with two drive bays up for grabs you can go up to 1TB of internal storage. Unusually, the drive bays are located in trays at the base of the chassis although this does make them very accessible. The drives are connected to the motherboard’s embedded quad-port SATA controller and the price for the review system included a pair of 80GB Western Digital Caviar SE drives. Note that the controller does not support RAID functions and mirrored or striped arrays can only be implemented in software by using the operating system.
For network connections the motherboard sports a single Broadcom Gigabit Ethernet adapter but there is room to expand. The tape drive is connected to a Adaptec dual channel Ultra320 PCI card which occupies one of a pair of 32-bit PCI slots and you can also pick and choose from x8, x4 and x1 PCI Express slots if you want to add more cards.
Server management and monitoring facilities are conspicuous by their absence on the SC430 although in the entry-level server market these are not normally expected or required. You can boot the server from the bundled Server Assistant CD-ROM where it helps loads your chosen OS and it also contains a bunch of drivers for Windows and Linux along with a couple of diagnostics utilities. One can be run directly from Windows or Linux whilst the second is created from three floppy disks. After booting the server from them you get a menu offering the opportunity to runs tests on all or selected components. The symptom tree option could prove useful as you select a symptom from a list and the utility will test related components to see if it can locate the problem.
The SC430 is certainly a good candidate for very small businesses on a tight budget looking for their first server. You don’t get any management or monitoring features and the embedded SATA controller doesn’t support RAID arrays but the server is very well built, it includes a good specification for the price and workers in small offices will appreciate its near silent running.