2U Rack Servers

Fujitsu Siemens caught much of the competition napping earlier in 2006 as it was one of the first vendors to deliver a 5100 Woodcrest equipped rack server to market. Things have moved on since then with the main bunch catching up quickly but the PRIMERGY RX300 S3 still takes a lot of beating for its classy build quality.

Management options are on a par with HP as the RX300 S3 is also equipped with an embedded IPMI compliant controller allowing it to be managed remotely from another system. The ServerStart utility provides all the help you need in installing and configuring your chosen OS whilst the ServerView software provides an SNMP-based server management platform. Compared with the likes of Dell and HP it is in need of graphical refreshment but ServerView does provide plenty of information about critical components, offers a comprehensive alerting system and can manage any server with the appropriate agent installed. Internally, the server is extremely designed with the processors fitted with large passive, copper heatsinks. Further back is a bank of eight DIMM sockets and Fujitsu Siemens' generosity extends to providing 8GB of 667Mhz fully buffered modules.

Two options are available for expansion as you can use a riser card offered in PCI-e and PCI-X versions or go for a different back-plate assembly which allows all the motherboard slots to be used with half-height cards. The server is also SAN ready as the price includes a QLogic 2Gbps PCI-X HBA. Cooling is handled efficiently and quietly by a bank of eight hot-swap fans behind the drive bays although we found the power supply fan was excessively loud.

The storage picture looks rosy as the server has room for six hard disks arranged in two groups on each side of the central grill which provides an uninterrupted air flow through the chassis. Even better is the fact that the price includes a quintet of 73GB Seagate Cheetah high performance 15K SAS hard disks. Internal cabling is kept to an absolute minimum as the drive backplane is linked directly to the motherboard which is kitted out with an embedded LSI Logic SAS controller.

The controller supports for mirrors and stripes but Fujitsu Siemens has also added the iButton enabler which brings RAID-5 and -50 into play and the package also includes a 256MB cache module and integral battery backup unit. There's more on the horizon as Fujitsu Siemens expects to have two new drive cages available in March which will each support six 2.5in. drives apiece. It'll have to improve the embedded controller, though, as this is currently only the eight-port version.


The RX300 S3 delivers a quality hardware specification for the price which includes exemplary build quality and design, high performance storage and a good helping of memory.

Motherboard - Fujitsu Siemens D2119 CPU - 2 x 2.33GHz Xeon 5345 Chipset - Intel 5000P Memory - 8GB 667MHz FB-DIMMs expandable to 32GB Storage controller - LSI Logic Disk interface - SAS Disk drives - 5 x 73GB Seagate Cheetah 15K.4 SAS RAID controller - embedded LSI Logic with iButton and 256MB Cache Expansion slots - 3 x 133MHz PCI-X Network ports - 2 x Broadcom Gigabit Power - 1 x 700W Management software - ServerView Other - embedded iRMC controller, QLogic 2Gbps FC card Warranty - Three yrs on-site NBD

Dave Mitchell

Dave is an IT consultant and freelance journalist specialising in hands-on reviews of computer networking products covering all market sectors from small businesses to enterprises. Founder of Binary Testing Ltd – the UK’s premier independent network testing laboratory - Dave has over 45 years of experience in the IT industry.

Dave has produced many thousands of in-depth business networking product reviews from his lab which have been reproduced globally. Writing for ITPro and its sister title, PC Pro, he covers all areas of business IT infrastructure, including servers, storage, network security, data protection, cloud, infrastructure and services.