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.

With the lid removed we could see that a fair amount of interior redesign has occurred as the motherboard is now covered by a massive metal plate. This is used to fit riser cards to provide a selection of expansion slot choices. You start with a single riser offering three PCI-Express slots and you can add a second to bring the slot count up to six.

With the expansion cage and the large plastic cooling shroud removed you'll find the two processor sockets underneath with each accompanied by a bank of nine dedicated DIMM sockets. The price includes a single 2.4GHz E5530 module and the whole processor assembly is covered in a large clamping mechanism, which holds the heatsinks firmly in place.

No surprises that virtualisation is a high priority and HP has included an embedded SD memory card slot on the motherboard which can be used to boot up embedded hypervisors. Dell has taken the same tack with its PowerEdge R610 but goes one step further with its Lifecycle Controller an embedded chunk of NVRAM that can be used to boot the server into Dell's UEFI (unified extensible firmware interface).

Power fault tolerance is available as the DL380 supports two hot-plug supplies and HP proudly claims the DL360 and DL380 G6 as the only servers currently in the Energy Star program. HP's Thermal Logic uses up to 32 sensors to monitor and report on power consumption and the supplies share a common slot type so you can choose from three different output models.

HP has done a good job in reducing power demands with our in-line power meter recording a draw of only 8W in standby and 97W with Windows Server 2003 R2 running in idle. With SiSoft Sandra pushing all eight logical cores to the max this peaked at only 154W. True, the review system only had a basic spec but still very low nonetheless.

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.