2U Rack Servers

Rather than go to the max with our price limit Rainbow Consultants has come into this group test with a very keen eye on value. The server supplied offers a particularly good specification which includes a good helping of RAID-protected storage and yet it slips in at a price point that is some 2,000 less than the other servers on review.

The server is a complete Tyan solution based around its provocatively named Tank TA26 bare bones system. It's true that Tyan doesn't have the same profile as Supermicro in the UK server market but it is working on this with a burgeoning range of bare-bones pedestal and rack systems. The chassis certainly lives up to its name as it is, indeed, very solidly built with very little flexing evident when out of the rack cabinet. The system offers better storage potential than Evesham's 2000AL as the front panel has room for up to eight 3.5in. hot-swap drive bays.

This industrial strength build quality extends to the interior with hardly any plastic components in evidence - even the cooling fan cases are made of pressed steel. The biggest drawback of this system becomes immediately apparent when you switch on as it incredibly noisy with the fans in the pair of 600W hot swap power supplies being the main culprits.

At the heart of the TA26 sits a good quality Tyan Tempest motherboard equipped with a pair of 2.33GHz 5345 Xeons and 4GB of memory. The latter can only be expanded to a maximum of 16GB - not as much as the rest but this should easily be enough for most applications. The motherboard uses an embedded six-port Intel SATA controller which supports RAID-5 arrays along with stripes and mirrors. For your money you're getting a quad of 500GB Hitachi Deskstar 3Gbps/SATA drives and these came preconfigured in a 2.5TB RAID-5 array.

The drive backplane is connected to the embedded SATA ports by individual cables which have been kept tidy enough. However, if you want to use all the drive bays you'll need to fit a suitable eight-port controller card. There's plenty of room as the motherboard offers a good range of PCI-e and PCI-X slots. No remote management tools are provided as standard but for an extra 100 you can go for Tyan's SMDC card. This takes its power from a PCI-X slot and is cabled to a couple of headers on the motherboard. It's not as slick as the solutions from Supermicro, HP or Dell but the bundled TSO (Tyan server operator) software does provide plenty of details on critical components plus full remote access to the server's power settings.


A very noisy customer but this sturdy server does deliver extreme value with a good hardware specification included in this low, low price.

Motherboard - Tyan Tempest i5000PX

CPU - 2 x 2.33GHz Xeon 5345

Chipset - Intel 5000P

Memory - 4GB 667MHx FB-DIMMs expandable to 16GB

Storage controller - Intel ESB2

Disk interface - SATA

Disk drives - 4 x 500GB Hitachi Deskstar SATA

RAID controller - Intel ESB2

Expansion slots - 2 x PCI-e16X, PCI-e8X, PCI-e4X, 2 x PCI-X

Network ports - 2 x Intel Gigabit

Power - 2 x 600W

Management software - None

Other - None

Warranty - Three yrs next day swap out

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.