Broadberry CyberServe XE5-R2216

In an exclusive review, Dave Mitchell looks at Intel’s Server System R2000GZ 2U rack server, which has memory and storage capacity high on its agenda.

Design and expansion

There are some design limitations though, as drives connected to the expander board cannot currently function as boot devices. Consequently, you'll need to link one of the motherboard's mini-SAS ports directly to the hard disk backplane.

Alternatively, you can mount a couple of SATA SSDs on the special cut-outs in the air shroud over the processors. Separate power connectors are provided and SSDs can be linked to the two on-board SATA ports.

The motherboard employs a C600-A Patsburg chipset and in its default configuration supports SATA drives plus stripes and mirrors and only enables the first mini-SAS connector. To enable the second connector along with SAS 2 and RAID-5 support, you'll need Intel's RAID C600 Upgrade Key which effectively turns the chipset into a Patsburg C600-T version.

Broadberry XE5-R2216 - internal

The internal layout is tidy and provides plenty of room for expansion.

More RAID options are available as a dedicated socket supports Intel's optional mezzanine cards. Five modules also offer a range of hardware managed array types plus SATA III or SAS 2 support.

There's plenty of room to expand as you have two riser cards at the back and a choice of up to three PCI-e Gen3 slots per riser. Bear in mind that the new Sandy Bridge-EP design has the IOH (I/O Hub) moved on-chip so you can only use both riser cards if two CPUs are installed.

Network connections are abound as the motherboard has four embedded Gigabit ports and a separate I/O connector at the back can be used to add even more. Options include quad-port Gigabit, dual 10GbE SFP or 10GBaseT, dual-port QDR Infiniband and the Cave Creek' module which adds Intel's Quick Assist hardware acceleration and data encryption technologies.

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.