By Francis Chu  |  Posted 2004-09-13 Print this article Print

Hewlett-Packard Co.s ProLiant DL380 G4 sports high-performance Intel Corp. Xeon EM64T processors, large internal storage capacity and solid management features that make it a powerful two-way server platform. In addition, its compact footprint will fit well in crowded data centers.

The DL380 G4, released last month, is among several ProLiant systems that HP has upgraded with Intels Extended Memory 64 Technology processors. Aside from the new EM64T chip sets and processors, however, the ProLiant DL380 G4 isnt very different from its predecessor, the DL380 G3.

Still, HPs addition of 64-bit capability is an important improvement on an already-well-designed general-purpose midrange server. The DL380 G4 allows IT managers to get ready for a transition to 64-bit applications while providing a nice performance boost to current 32-bit environments.

Click here to read about HPs other 64-bit initiatives. The DL380 G4s 2U (3.5-inch) form factor will appeal to space-constrained server rooms because as many as 21 G4s can fit into an industry-standard rack. And even with the very compact chassis, there is still enough room to accommodate six hard drives or, optionally, five hard drives and one tape drive for backups.

The DL380 G4 offers impressive flexibility: It capably handles Web applications and could also be a strong system for running databases or providing file storage.

The server comes standard with an integrated Smart Array 6i RAID controller with the option of adding 128MB of battery backup cache for better data protection and redundancy. All the drives are hot-swappable, and an optional dual-channel backplane can boost I/O performance.

The $6,437 ProLiant DL380 G4 we tested has dual 3.4GHz Xeon EM64T chips and 1MB of Level 2 cache with Intels E7520 chip set to support an 800MHz front-side bus and PCI Express slots. The basic DL380 G4, with a single processor, 1GB of memory and a 36GB hard drive, costs $3,300.

The ProLiant DL380 G4 holds its own against two-way Xeon EM64T-powered servers such as IBMs xSeries 346 and Dell Inc.s PowerEdge 2850. Our well-equipped test system also included 1GB of PC3200 double-data-rate synchronous dynamic RAM, an integrated Smart Array 6i controller, a 36.4GB Ultra320 SCSI drive, dual on-board Gigabit Ethernet ports and an iLO (integrated Lights-Out) remote management processor.

The x86 64-bit server space is heating up. Click here to read more. The DL380 G4 has six dual in-line memory module slots and can scale up to 12GB of memory using 2GB DIMMs. This DIMM capacity lags behind that of competing servers.

The servers toolless chassis design is handy. Internal fans can be easily accessed and swapped out, and we could remove the PCI-X riser cage (the hardware bracket that holds the PCI cards) to add expansion cards.

The DL380 G4 supports three PCI-X slots or two PCI Express slots. Hot-pluggable PCI-X capability is also available as an option.

Technical Analyst Francis Chu can be reached at francis_chu@ziffdavis.com.

Check out eWEEK.coms Infrastructure Center at http://infrastructure.eweek.com for the latest news, views and analysis on servers, switches and networking protocols for the enterprise and small businesses.


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