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Review: Dell PowerEdge R430 An IO Maniac

Even with just one processor, Dell's latest departmental server, the PowerEdge R430, outperforms others in its class.


Dell has yet again proven its prowess at making high-performing servers for the small and midsize business. The company in November introduced the PowerEdge R430, a 1U, two-socket powerhouse that delivered impressive performance even with one socket tied behind its back. The forthcoming server is among Dell's 13th-gen servers built around the Xeon E5-2600 v3, Intel's family of processors for two-socket servers and workstations.

The tested unit had a single CPU: the 6-core Xeon E5-2609 1.9GHz processor running Windows Server 2012 R2 Data Center. Also on board was 32 GB of 2,133MHz DDR4 memory, the system's maximum. Four of the R430's 10 front-accessible 2.5-inch drive bays were populated with 500-GB 7.2K SATA drives configured as a RAID 0 array against which performance was tested.

IOmeter, which was on the server, and a high-performance laptop, were used to test performance. The server was configured to run IOMeter's Dynamo load generation utility and the laptop was set up to control the workload and measure performance. The Test Center's standard test scripts were employed for measuring throughput and transaction- processing capabilities.

[Related: Dell PowerEdge R730 Is Furious Fast]

The R430 delivered its highest sustained transaction rate of 1.620 million input-output operations per second (IOps) with sequential reads of 512-byte packets. This rate was reached when servicing 15 simulated database workers. With 10 workers, the rate dipped to 1.575 million IOps. In both cases, IOmeter reported CPU utilization at around 97 percent while power usage was around 83 watts. When testers increased writes and transaction randomness to 50 percent, the system still delivered a sustained rate of 507 IOps.

The R430 also excelled in throughput performance. With 32K-byte packets, testers observed a maximum sustained rate of 1.165 GBps, while using about 45 percent of available CPU bandwidth. This performance was reached with five clients doing sequential reads. Tests with one client delivered 1.07 GBps and with 10 clients sustained 989 MBps. Finally, the system exhibited 274K IOps and 598 MBps when tested with IOmeter's "All In One" setting, which performs sequential operations using 20 packet-size and read/write variations.

We continue to revel in the power efficiency of Haswell. Even when serving 15 networked clients with packets in excess of 1.6 million per second, or data at nearly 1.2 GBps, the R430 barely broke a sweat. One of the unit's two hot-swap power supplies never consumed more than 83 watts while the other remained at around 3 watts. Like other 13th-gen systems, the fans on the PowerEdge R430 remained quiet as a whisper.

For the SMB, the Dell PowerEdge R430 would be well worth considering, when it becomes available later this year. Dell has not yet disclosed pricing.


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