The circular button has a rotating green disk activity ring whilst its multicolour centre LED shows the drive status and warns of impending failures. An LED on the carrier release button glows white to warn users it must not be removed where, for example, another drive in the same RAID-5 array has already failed.
The embedded Smart Array P420i RAID controller links up directly to the motherboard's SAS 2 ports and provides plenty of RAID and cache options. Our system had the full 2GB FBWC (flash backed write cache) module.
This does away with the need for a battery pack as it uses a small capacitor. It can fully charge itself in around five minutes and provides up to 80 seconds of power enough time to write the DDR cache contents to flash memory in the event of a power failure.
HP's Sea of Sensors 3D provides a remarkable amount of information about the server's status
Smart Guides and FlexLOMs
HP has worked on thermal design so it could get rid of the big air shroud in the G7 to improve access. It works well as even with eight fans in residence, we found the server to be extremely quiet.
Further back you have the two CPU sockets which feature HP's new Smart Socket guides. These are designed to reduce the risk of motherboard pin damage during upgrades or maintenance.
The CPUs are flanked by 24 DIMM slots and the full 768GB capacity can be realised in dual CPU systems using 1066MHz LR-DIMMs. Up to 256GB of 1600MHz RDIMM memory is supported or you can go up to 384GB of HP's high performance 1333MHz HDIMM memory.
HP's tool-free design means all components are easy to access and remove. The server has a riser at the back with X8 and X16 PCI-e Gen3 slots and the whole thing can be removed with just a flick of the wrist.
The iLO4 Power Metering feature keeps you posted on consumption but is an optional upgrade
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.