HP ProLiant DL380 G6 server review

HP is a late arrival at the Xeon 5500 party and in this exclusive review we see whether the wait for the new sixth generation ProLiants was worthwhile.

IT Pro Verdict

HP’s sixth generation ProLiant DL380 builds on an already impressive reputation and delivers plenty of new features with power management and performance as key criteria. Storage potential is very good, power consumption is amongst the lowest we’ve seen for a 2U rack server and the sophisticated remote management tools now include some valuable dynamic power controls.


Recommended Award

Naturally, the DL380 supports Intel's new 5500 Series processors, which introduce the QPI (quick path interconnect) that replaces the aging FSB with a new high-speed backbone between the processors and the chipset's memory controllers and I/O bus. Hyper-Threading is back and enables each processor to simultaneously run two threads per core. This can power down a core if it isn't being used and pass this spare thermal/power headroom on to the other cores boost their speed.

The 5500 Series also supports triple-channel DDR3 memory and performance improvements can be had by installing them in packs of three per DIMM bank although you don't have to.

Storage capacity for the DL380 goes up massively as the base system has a hot-swap bay, which supports up to eight SFF SAS and SATA hard disks. RAID sees some big improvements with the new embedded P410i controller offering a pair of SAS ports on the motherboard.

The system starts with no extra cache memory and support for stripes and mirrors. The review unit though, included the extra 256MB cache module, which fits in a dedicated slot and adds support for RAID-5. Go for the optional software key and you can bring dual drive redundant RAID-6 into the mix.

A second eight-drive bay can be added at the front and you have two options for connecting it. A SAS expander card attaches to the embedded ports and increases support to 24 drives. It also has an extra 4x mini-SAS port allowing a SAS tape drive to be connected. Alternatively, you can install an extra P410 RAID controller card to support the second bay.

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.