The Dell PowerEdge R720 2U rack-mount server scored impressive results in eWEEK Labs' benchmark tests and comes with a bevy of enhanced features that make the 12th-generation server system a worthy replacement for the R710.
Compared with a similarly configured Hewlett-Packard DL380 Gen8 server using the Geekbench performance benchmark, the Dell PowerEdge R720 scored 40064, or 12 percent higher than the 35202 score achieved by the HP system. For a comparison, you can read my HP DL380 Gen 8 review and see the related slide show here.
The Dell PowerEdge R720 became available in March and as tested cost $13,079. Many of the performance increases now available in the Dell PowerEdge R720 come from Intels March release of the Xeon E5-2600 processors and the C6xx chip set family. IT managers have competitive choices, including the HP ProLiant DL30 and the IBM System x3650 M4, both of which use the E5-2600 family processors.
IT managers who are looking at replacing workhorse data center servers with the latest Intel Xeon E5-2600 family of processor and motherboard technology should add the Dell PowerEdge R720 to their short list. Even shops running primarily HP equipment should consider the PowerEdge R720, which comes with the ability to emulate HP system management operations so that the Dell equipment can fit into existing management framework platforms that are geared for HP servers.
The Dell PowerEdge R720 uses a Dell custom daughter card to provide a LAN on motherboard (LOM) subsystem and is called a Select Network Adapter family. The rack-mount Select Network Adapter used in my test system could be configured in a variety of ways to carve up the four network ports in a mix of 1GbE (Gigabit Ethernet) and 10GbE port options. Select network adapters are currently available from Intel and Broadcom and can be configured as 1000Base-T, 10GBASE-T and 10Gb SFP+.
There were some differences between the LOM implementation of the PowerEdge R720 and the HP DL380 Gen8 systems. Whereas all routine operations that I performed on the HP system were tool-free, I needed a screwdriver to change out the Dell Select Network adapter.
As tested, my PowerEdge R720 was equipped with two Intel Xeon E5-2690 processors running at 2.90GHz with 64GB of 1,600MHz RAM. Much like competitors that use Intels processor chips and QuickPath interconnect, the system can be configured with a maximum of 768GB RAM. My test system was equipped with five 300GB 10k SAS drives.
The PowerEdge R720 doubles the onboard 2.5-inch disk capacity over the previous generation R710 from 8 to 16 drives. The PowerEdge R720 also has seven Gen 3 PCI slots.