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Many of today's rack servers include removable air ducts to maximize air flow over processors, memory and other heat-generating components. Dell adds extra utility to its shrouds by labeling them where appropriate to help simplify memory placement. The underside of the R720's cover also is home to additional servicing information, including a motherboard layout, memory population diagram, jumper settings and component installation and removal.
Outdoing itself again, Dell was able to pack an amazing amount of computing power into this 2U chassis. The R720 can accept as many as 16 internal hard drives for a maximum hard drive capacity of 24 TB (compared with the R710's eight drives and 18 TB capacity). Combine as many as four optional hot-plug PCIe SSDs with dual RAID controller capability and the R720 alone is capable of multi-tiered, front-accessible storage.
For the PowerEdge R720, Dell also offers all of the redundancy features that resellers have come to expect from servers these days, redundant, including hot-swap power supplies in 495, 750 and 1100 watt models, hot-swap 3.5-inch or 2.5-inch drive chassis options, several dual- and quad-port Gbit Ethernet options plus out-of-band management, and of course Dell's iDRAC lifecycle controller and remote management systems.
As tested, the PowerEdge R720 included two, 1-Gb and two 10-Gb Ethernet ports, 128 GB of DDR3 1600 MHz SDRAM, an 8GB iDRAC SD card and a 1 GB redundant SD card, a PERC H710P mini RAID controller, and an 8-port disk backplane with five of its 16 drive bays occupied by 300-GB, 2.5-inch, 10k SAS 6Gbps drives. Total list price: $13,759. The CRN Test Center recommends the PowerEdge R720 as a faster, more expandable replacement for the R710 or as a highly capable server for virtualization, transaction processing, HPC or general computing needs.
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