Nehalem quietly

I love deliveries. Especially this time of year. UPS, FedEx, AirTrans, carrier pigeon… I don’t care – it’s usually something expensive and always something that is going to make my job easier.

Today, FedEx delivered a pallet of new HP servers and parts for our new campus. The pallet also contained a few parts for servers we had just got last week.Xeon5500

So I’ve got five new HP DL360 servers, sixth generation. HP just released their new line last month with the new Intel 5500 Xeon processors. I like to compare them like the pro version of the i7 consumer chips. Four hyperthreading cores with onboard memory controller per chip.  Yeah, and even though it matches clock speed with our existing G5 servers – it’s smoking fast.

Opening the little 1U server chassis, shows a lot of room for expansion – given the amount of gear this unit has already. It has an onboard raid control card that can address up to eight 2.5” SAS or SATA drives. It also has an IDE controller for optical media. It also includes a USB port and SD Card slot on the motherboard… great for those moronic copy protection dongles or emergency boot drives or utilities.

I’m not going sit here and try and sell you a server by just spewing specs… what HP really did to impress me is cut the noise and power usage so drastically I seriously thought there was something wrong with it. c01668139

These servers are usually so loud I can’t build them at my desk – I had to take them and bench build them in our staging room. Not anymore.

I actually had this DL360 G6 installing windows 2008 64bit from DVD on a bench next to a Dell OptiPlex 755 sitting idle. When I placed my head between the two to check if the fans were actually spinning on the HP – the Dell was louder. I have never actually heard an SAS drive until today… amazing.

After diving into the onboard monitoring systems, I found out how they are able to keep the fans spinning at 19% while keeping cool – 28 onboard temp sensors watching everything in the box… if a section gets warmer – only the fans dedicated to that area increase their speed and only as much needed to move more air to cool it.

With a single quad core processor, three 2GB memory cards, four 10,000 rpm hard drives, and a four port gig nic PCI-x card – this server only pulled 130 watts of power out of both power supplies at its peak. When it was idling it sat at 93 watts. The only time I ever heard the fans is when I started the server after that near silence.

Yes, I’m that impressed with this new line – I’m looking forward to the next year when we upgrade our ESX environment to G6 host servers… Maybe I won’t be able to hear the server room from down the hall.

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