REVIEW: Lenovo RD210 Server Shows Well in 1U Ranks

Lenovo's RD210 midrange server packs a management punch while using power-efficient components to keep cool while processing general-purpose workloads.

Lenovo's rack-mount ThinkServer RD210 adds Intel "Nehalem" Xeon processors and management tools to a workhorse data center server to make it an able competitor in the tightly competitive 1U arena.

The two-socket ThinkServer RD210, which began shipping in May 2009, joins a crowded field of general-purpose servers that have been revamped to take advantage of Intel's Xeon 5500 family of processors. As is the hallmark for servers in this class, the ThinkServer RD210 lays the groundwork for boosted RAM configurations by providing 16 DIMM (dual in-line memory module) slots. More RAM enables greater virtual machine density. By marrying this greater RAM capacity to more efficient power use made possible by Intel's processors, the RD210 becomes a cooler running, energy-sipping and quieter system compared with previous-generation Lenovo rackable servers.

For images of the ThinkServer RD210, click here.

As tested, the RD210 was configured with two Intel Xeon E5540 2.53GHz processors and 12GB of DDR3 1,333MHz RAM. The RD210 comes with eight drive bays, and my test unit was equipped with four 146GB 2.5-inch 15K SAS drives in a RAID 10 configuration. There are 16 DIMM slots in the chassis, normal for this size system. This means the RD210 has a current maximum configuration of 128GB of RAM (8GB DDR3 1,333MHz x 16 slots). My test system listed at $6,247.

The ThinkServer RD210 fits in the middle of Lenovo's server family. On top of Energy Star 1.0 for Servers certification, the server employs 92 percent power-efficient power supplies, as well as temperature and airflow sensors that speed or reduce fan speed to cool system components. Along with the improved energy efficiency that is the hallmark of Intel Xeon 5500-based servers, the RD210 comes with extensive integrated hardware management tools.