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The CRN Test Center's 2014 Products Of The Year

The technological leaps and bounds continue as the CRN Test Center faces the tough task of selecting the best products to come through its labs this year. This is one winner's circle with a big wow factor.

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Data Center

Winner: Dell PowerEdge R730

Haswell processors made their way into servers this year, and Dell's 13th-gen PowerEdge R730 made its way onto the CRN Test Center's Top 10 Servers of all time. With capacities of 768 GB of 2,133MHz DDR4 RAM in 24 DIMM slots, 48 TB of SAS, SATA or SSD storage in 24 bays, and 36 cores across two Intel Xeon E5-2500 v3 series processors, this 2U rack server gives new meaning to high-density. The system also can accept as many as seven PCI cards, including GPUs for servicing virtual desktops with high-performance graphics.

The CRN Test Center evaluated an R730 with two 12-core, 2.6GHz Xeon E5-2690 v3 processors running Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter with 64 GB of high-speed DDR4 RAM. For storage, there were five 300-GB 10K SAS drives connected to a PERC embedded RAID controller. IOmeter tests were performed against three drives configured in a RAID-0 array. When serving 32K packets, the system delivered more than 2 GBps serving a single client performing sequential reads, dropping gradually as the number of workers climbed. With 10 simulated clients, the R730 sustained 1 GBps while using just 4 percent of available CPU bandwidth.

Far more power efficient than its predecessor, its dual hot-swap power supplies hovered around 86 watts during testing and settled at 56 watts when idle. Fans were quiet. Simple to service, the unit is documented throughout and features at-server diagnostics via NFC and an Android app. Dell has moved support for PCIe-based SSDs to the new PowerEdge R730XD, a storage-optimized version of the R730 that can combine 1.8-inch SSDs with a layer of 3.5-inch SAS or SATA drives, providing the capability to deploy tiered storage within a server. The R730 also is available in 1U and tower form factors. Base pricing starts at $2,249.

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