- Review Price: £880.08
Evesham Technology has always been a big player in the entry-level server market and its latest SilverEdge 300AH aims to deliver support for Intel’s dual- and quad-core Xeon processors but at a price the small business can afford.
With the hype surrounding dual- (DP) and multi-socket (MP) Xeon systems, it’s easy to forget that Intel also offers single socket versions which specifically target companies on a tight budget. The series 3000 dual-core and 3200 quad-core Xeons are designed to provide an affordable processing platform for businesses looking for a server that can handle multiple applications such as file and print, web serving, email services and maybe light database duties as well. The 300AH on review came supplied with a dual-core Xeon but versatility is its middle name as the server also supports Celeron, Pentium D and series 3200 processors as well, enabling it to cover a lot of bases.
The server is an all-Intel affair and comes clothed in its SC5299-E chassis and powered by its Server Board S3000AH motherboard. For sheer build quality Intel will never beat the likes of HP and Dell but it does come a close third. Expansion options are good. The front panel is home to a DVD-RW drive and there’s a spare 5.25in. bay beneath for which Evesham offers a range of tape drives. Hard disk storage options look good as the cage beneath has room for no less than six hard disks. A couple of USB ports have been routed through to the front panel and the door protecting the hard disk cage can be locked shut. The side panel doesn’t have a key lock but a flange at the rear accepts a small padlock. With this removed you’ll find plenty of room inside for carrying out upgrades or maintenance manoeuvres.
The single processor socket sits in the centre of the chassis and the speedy 2.13GHz 3010 module included in the price is mounted by a large active heatsink. Cooling is further aided by a chunky 12cms diameter fan at the rear and noise levels aren’t overly intrusive. The main chassis fan is responsible for most of the operational noise and could be quieter but it’s worth noting that it does have enough grunt to shift a lot of air and will be required if the drive cage is fully populated. The motherboard sports a quartet of DIMM sockets with two occupied by 512MB 667MHz ECC modules. Intel’s 3000 chipset is in residence and this supports up to 8GB of memory. Intel also offers a 3010 chipset variant but the only significant difference we can see between the two is the latter offers a more advanced PCI-e slot combination.
A number of storage related options are up for grabs as the system comes supplied as standard with a pair of 160GB Western Digital WD1600YS SATA hard disks. The motherboard sports an embedded SATA controller which provides four ports so you’ve room to add a couple more drives. The cage can be released from inside the chassis and slid out the front once the bezel has been unclipped and popped off. The RAID controller chip supports RAID-0 stripes and RAID-1 mirrors as well. If you want the full monty, you’ll need to get the eight-port MegaRAID SATA RAID card being offered by Evesham and there’s also an optional six-drive hot-swap bay available as well.
Intel has been working on its server management tools and now bundles its Active System Console with all its motherboards, which opens with a screen full of chunky icons for quick access to each key component. If all is well then there’s nothing to see but if a fault is detected the relevant icon changes to a warning and clicking on it brings up a windows with a log of the errors. For general monitoring, the system information page provides a complete rundown on all installed components with easy access to details such as temperatures, voltages, fan speeds, hard disk space and CPU status. Preset thresholds for many components are already provided and if any are breached the console can fire off a warning email. You can also set custom warning and critical thresholds for space on each disk volume and virtual memory if you wish.
For RAID management you get a RAIDmon utility which sits in the System Tray and watches the drives and arrays. It ties in with the management software so any disk errors and array degradations will be posted as an alert and can be used to send out warning messages. For an even greater insight into server operations you can use the bundled LANDesk Server Manager. In terms of features this is far superior to the Active System Console but it is overkill for single server businesses as its overheads include loading fourteen local Windows services and an SQL database for inventory data that can be collected from multiple systems.
The SilverEdge 300AH is a smart little package well suited to small businesses looking for their first server. Build quality is above average, it support an extensive range of storage options and the price includes a one year on-site maintenance warranty.
The bundled Active System Console provides easy access to the status of key server components
Selecting individual components provides good levels of information about them
Errors and faults are flagged up as they occur and a log provides more details about the problem
Thresholds for hard disk volumes can be customised to warn when space if getting low
Score in detail