Lenovo earlier this year unveiled a trio of powerful, new two-socket Xeon ThinkServer models designed for small businesses and departments on a budget. The CRN Test Center reviewed the ThinkServer TD340, a 5U-sized tower that houses eight hot-swap storage bays for up to 32 TB, redundant power and cooling systems, and support for as much as 192 GB of RAM. List pricing starts at $1,499. The series also includes the 1U RD340 and 2U RD440 rack-mount systems.
The first characteristic testers took note of was the TD340's quiet operation. Its cooling fans kicked into high gear when initially powered up, but once the server settled down, we barely knew it was there. Even with its dual Intel Xeon E5-2440 2.4GHz 6-core processors, 32 GB RAM and three-drive RAID array, the unit stayed quiet during all of our benchmarks. As for power, it drew between 100 and 130 watts of power during benchmark testing and occasionally peaked at 152 watts.
On the physical side, the TD340 is large and easy to service. A single thumbscrew holds the side panel in place and is retained when loosened. Removing the panel reveals a single PCIe x16 slot plus four of the x8 variety (one of which is limited to x4 electric) plus a legacy PCI slot. The IT department should take note that all slots are operation-only when a second processor is present. Also inside the roomy cabinet are 12 slots for low-voltage RDIMM or UDIMM memory modules of a maximum of 16 GB each for a total of 192 GB of total system memory. Memory slots are clearly marked for two channels. Fans for the rear of the drive bay are quick-release, as are drives in the two 5.25-inch external bays.
Around the exterior, a lockable door in the front panel hides the unit's eight 3.5-inch hot-swap storage bays, in which were three Seagate Constellation ES.3 1-TB drives preinstalled with caddies. Toward the top edge are two USB 2.0 ports, the power switch and status LEDs for CPU, memory, fans, temperature and power supplies. On the rear panel, there are four more USB 2.0 ports, two gigabit Ethernet ports and VGA output. The cabinet measures about 2 feet long, 17 inches high and 8 inches wide. No handles are built into the 62-pound cabinet.
The Lenovo ThinkServer TD340 performed well for a server in this price bracket. In Geekbench 2.3 tests, the server delivered a top score of 18.617, good enough for ninth place on the CRN Test Center's list of the top 10 fastest servers. The unit also performed well in tests of transaction processing and throughput. With sequential reads of 512-byte packets, the TD340 sustained a rate in excess of 84,000 IOps, and with 32K packets, it sustained a transfer rate of 317 MBps.
Performance at these levels would be adequate for file, print and email services at most small businesses, schools or departments. And that's with just three drives and 32 GB RAM. The ThinkServer TD340 can handle more than five times that much memory, more than 10 times the storage and as many as 20 processor cores.
With its low starting price and expansion and RAID options, this system is built to grow along with business need for years to come. Lenovo's ThinkServer TD340 is a recommended product.
PUBLISHED JUNE 17, 2014