Dell EMC PowerEdge T130
Basic storage features, but this little tower server is great value and offers super remote management tools
SCORE ✪✪✪✪✪ PRICE As reviewed, £1,541 exc VAT from dell.co.uk
Dell EMC’s PowerEdge T130 is a tempting proposition for small businesses with big demands. The system we tested came with a 3.9GHz Xeon E3-1280 v6 processor, and 16GB of DDR4 memory, yet only costs £1,541. The specification can be trimmed to suit any budget and workload, as Dell EMC’s Smart Value Flexi options let you swap the CPU for a cheaper 3GHz Xeon E3-1220 v6. Cut the memory to 4GB, and select a basic 1TB hard disk, and you can get a viable server for a hugely affordable £465.
The T130 is suited to businesses with modest storage requirements, as the chassis only supports cold-swap LFF hard disks. The lower bays of our test system came populated with a pair of 2TB SATA drives, and there’s another two-bay cage at the top of the chassis with preinstalled SATA and power cables, ready for extra disks. Pulling down the blue locking lever on the side allows you to slot in drives from the front. The case won’t accept 5.25in devices that require forwardfacing access, but there’s space for a slim DVD drive at the top of the cage.
The embedded PERC S130 RAID controller supports mirrors, stripes and RAID5 arrays; Dell EMC also offers a range of four optional PCI-Express RAID cards, so you could in theory add 12Gbits/sec SAS3 support – but if you want a low-cost server, the cost of the card and drives might put you off.
The server is only available with a 290W PSU, and the top-end E3-1280 v6 CPU is quite power-hungry. Sitting idle, our review system drew only 38W from the mains, but pushing it to 100% load in the SiSoft benchmarking app saw consumption shoot to 112W. We’d expect a similar server based on the 3GHz E3-1220 v6 to consume 70W or less under the same load.
The T130 is well built and its side panel can be padlocked shut, which also locks the front bezel. There are USB 2 and USB 3 ports at the front and rear, but you can disable them all in the BIOS to ensure unauthorised storage devices can’t be attached.
The smart design continues with easy internal access, while cooling is handled by an active CPU heatsink and a 9cm chassis fan. We recorded low noise levels of 37.4dB, making the T130 a fine choice for small offices.
“Cut the memory to 4GB, and select a basic 1TB hard disk, and you can get a viable server for a hugely affordable £465”
Setup is quick and easy thanks to the embedded LifeCycle controller and its OS deployment wizard. We used it to install Windows Server 2012 R2, and had the OS loaded with all the latest drivers inside 20 minutes. General systems management is handled by the free OpenManage Server Administrator (OMSA), which monitors local web-based servers. The OpenManage Essentials (OME) utility discovers and inventories network devices and monitors any SNMP-and WMI-enabled system.
Businesses considering the T130 for deployment in remote offices will like the integrated iDRAC8 controller. Sharing access with either of the server’s Gigabit Ethernet ports, this hosts a web interface providing detailed sensor readouts of all hardware components, and remote access for power controls. All T130 models come with an iDRAC8 Basic licence, although to get features such as email alerts, you need to spend £122 on an Express upgrade. Full remote control plus virtual media support requires an Enterprise upgrade, with prices starting at £294.
The lack of hot-swap storage means the T130 isn’t perfect for every role, but it packs a powerful spec into a space-saving tower. Its remote-management features make it a good choice for remote and branch offices, and a broad range of customisation options mean it’s worth considering.
SPECIFICATIONS Tower chassis 3.9GHz Xeon E3-1280 v6 16GB 2,400MHz DDR4 RAM (max 64GB) 2 x 2TB Dell SATA cold-swap HDDs (max 4) Dell PERC S130 RAID controller supports RAID0, 1, 5, 10 4 x PCI-E 3 2 x Gigabit 290W fixed PSU Dell iDRAC8 Basic 176 x 460 x 363mm (WDH) 1yr on-site NBD warranty Power: 38W idle, 112W peak
LEFT Management tools include OpenManage Essentials and the handy OpenManage Mobile iOS app
ABOVE The T130 has physical security covered: you can lock both the side panel and front bezel