Performance Of Dell's PowerEdge C6145 Rack Server Off The Charts


Dell Sled



Dell has really outdone itself. On Tuesday, the company begins shipping a machine that the CRN Test Center can only describe as 2010 Server of the Year squared.

"Capacities of the unit officially known as the PowerEdge C6145 greatly surpass last year's leading PowerEdge, and just one of the C6145's two server nodes nearly doubled the Geekbench score of the reigning champ, the Dell R810."

The C6145 is actually two 4-socket servers in one 2U chassis, each with 32 DIMM slots for a total DDR3 memory capacity of 1TB and 96 total processor cores. It's aimed squarely at HPC applications, virtualization, VDI and EDA workloads, and with a peak Geekbench 2.1.11 score of 22,607, we'd say it's well qualified. For our tests, we configured each node as a stand-alone server running 64-bit Windows Server 2008 R2.

Each server was populated with four AMD 6132HE 12-core processors, and each with its own 128 GB of memory. However, Windows addressed only a maximum of 32 GB. The peak results were observed when running the 64-bit version of Geekbench on node 2. Node 1's high water mark was 21,257.

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Dell Sled



From most outward appearances, the C6145 looks like many other rack-mount servers. Its front panel is occupied by drives -- as many as 24 2.5-inch drives or 12 3.5-inch drives--and its top cover slides backward to reveal processors, fans, memory and its three half-length PCIe x16 expansion slots.

What's less obvious is that the fans and power supplies are shared by two motherboards, which mounted to sleds that slide out rearward. More on these later. The only hint given by the front panel about the machine's two-node nature is its dual-button control plate at the unit's far left. Its weight also might provide a clue; the C6145 weighs about 80 pounds without mounting rails.

The C6145's rear panel is really where the action is. All rear-facing components are hot-swappable, including the twin 1023W power supplies and its upper and lower server nodes, each of which slides out in its 1U sled for upgrades and service. Ports built into the motherboards include dual Gigabit Ethernet, dual USB 2.0 and VGA output. A third RJ-45 connector is dedicated to out-of-band management and administration. On the far right-hand side is an IPASS connector for attaching PCIe devices or a PCI bus extender.

For a machine that's intended to be used for virtualization, we would have liked to see more than just two networking interfaces per server node out of the box. There's one spot that Dell may have fallen a bit short. But its ample expansion capability -- five PCI slots per server in all -- more than make up for this shortcoming. We'll be doing much more testing of the C6145 in the coming days, as we flex the drive arrays and measure throughput and transaction processing.

After a quick first look, the CRN Test Center is already prepared to recommend the Dell PowerEdge C6145 for any installation in need of a high-density, high-performance server with plenty of redundancy features. The C6145 as tested here at CRN carries a list price of $19,502.