- Review Price: £1114.90
Evesham Technology has always had a strong reputation for delivering a fine range of consumer PCs but this also extends to its business products and in particular its servers. The SilverEDGE 200NHR is one of the latest to join Evesham’s SilverEDGE rack server family and as always the company has a keen eye on the budget conscious SMB (small to medium business) market. The 200NHR is essentially a low-profile multi-purpose rack server as it is aimed at a range of functions such as firewall, VPN or web application duties or maybe as a domain controller or even a print server in larger businesses.
For these lighter duties you don’t need dual Xeons or Opterons so costs can be reduced by utilizing either a Pentium 4 or Pentium D processor. The 200NHR is offered in either variant with the review system coming equipped with a decent 2.8GHz Intel Pentium D 820 dual-core module. Along with this you get a speedy 1GB of PC-5400 memory which can be upgraded to 8GB. Evesham has traditionally used only Supermicro or Intel platforms for its servers and in this case the latter is running the entire show as the 200NHR comprises its SR1475NH1 rack server platform. The package is made up of Intel’s SR1400 rack chassis and its Entry Server Board SE7230NH1-E.
The chassis is built well enough although care should be taken when installing it in a rack as it does exhibit some flexing if not supported properly. The front panel has room for up to three hard disks and a simple low-profile DVD-ROM drive has been squeezed in above them. The small panel to the right has a bunch of LEDs for power, network and hard disk status and a USB port which will come in handy as the server has no room for a floppy drive.
For storage although SCSI is supported with the appropriate Intel motherboard Evesham only offers this product fitted with Serial ATA (SATA) drives. However, for the target range of applications SCSI would just be a waste of money as SATA easily has enough performance and capacity to satisfy these demands. The system came supplied with a pair of 160GB Western Digital WD1600SD drives which we felt was a bit stingy considering the price and would have expect 250GB drives at least.
Hot swap is not an option as the drives are wired directly through to the SATA interfaces on the motherboard. However, the caddies are easily removed by depressing a lever at the back and sliding out them out through the front. To add a third hard disk you just need to whip out the blanking plate and pop the drive in the caddy and Evesham has ensured that a spare SATA power connector is provided for this.
Internal design is reasonably tidy with all cabling secured in place. The compact motherboard takes up the rear half of the chassis with the processor plumb in the centre and covered with a solid copper passive heatsink. Cooling looks well handled as Intel has opted for no less than five banks of fans – four of which are the dual rotor variety. They are all variable speed but the cost of staying frosty is above average noise levels.
Storage is handled by an embedded four-port SATA controller which supports RAID-0, -1 and -10 arrays. The network connection is well served as you get a pair of embedded Gigabit Ethernet ports at the rear and the bundled Intel PROSet utility allows you to create adapter teams for fault tolerance or load balancing. Options for adding extra expansion cards are provided by the motherboard’s Intel Adaptive slot which has been converted into a single 64-bit/133MHz horizontal mount with a small riser card. You can also opt for a different riser card which offers a PCI Express slot instead.
Intel has made some considerable effort with improving its server management tools as its latest Server Manager 8.4 bundle delivers a smart web browser front end offering good local and remote monitoring facilities. It provides plenty of information about critical areas such as chassis and processor temperatures, system voltages, hard disk space and fan speeds and these can be linked to an extensive alerting system. Upper and lower thresholds can be set for, say the CPU core temperature or cooling fan speeds, and if either is breached then Server Manager will issue warnings ranging from a pop message and playing a sound to sending an email and running another application.
For RAID management you get the RAIDmon utility which sits in the System Tray and watches the drives and arrays. It ties in with Server Manager so any disk errors and array degradations will be posted as an alert and can be used to send out warning messages. We tested this by yanking the interface cable out of one of the drives and the utility’s icon promptly turned red while Server Manager prompted us with plenty of warnings.
A reasonably priced all-Intel rack server with a good specification although more storage for the price wouldn’t have gone amiss. Server management tools are plentiful and the price also includes a very useful one year on-site warranty.
Intel’s Server Manager provides plenty of operational information although those fan speeds can’t be right otherwise the server will take off.
Here’s what happened when we pulled a drive from the server’s mirrored RAID array.
The Server Manager system log keeps track of all changes to hardware and will warn if any new software is installed as well.
Each system component can have thresholds applied that if breached will set off alerts.
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