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Broadberry CyberServe XE5-R1208 review

Broadberry Data Systems delivers the latest E5-2600 v3 Xeons in an affordable all-Intel 1U rack package

  • Superb value; Big expansion potential; High storage capacity; 12Gbps SAS ready; 10GbE as standard
  • Above average power consumption

Intel has upped its game in the server market yet again by supporting the launch of its E5-2600 v3 Xeons with a veritable feast of motherboards and server systems. Broadberry Data Systems has always been a big fan and its latest CyberServe XE5-R1208 combines Intel's Wildcat Pass' R1000WT 1U rack server platform and S2600WTT motherboard.

It may be small but with a pair of 14-core 2GHz E5-2683 v3 Xeons in the driving seat, this compact package looks capable of handling a wide range of enterprise and mid-sized business applications. Typical targets include storage, big data, cloud services and CPU intensive workloads.

What makes the XE5-R1208 stand out, is its price. Our review unit included 64GB of fast DDR4 memory priced at 4,996. We moseyed over to Dell's web site, specced up a 1U PowerEdge T630 server with a similar hardware package and were surprised to find it costs nearly 4,000 more.

The CyberServe may be a lot cheaper but this certainly doesn't come at the expense of features. Its motherboard has all the goodies we'd expect to see including 24 DDR4 DIMM slots, 12Gbps SAS support, USB 3 all round and even dual embedded 10GbE ports.

This well-built Intel server platform has an excellent expansion potential

Storage choices

The motherboard is enclosed in a solidly built chassis with 8 x SFF hot-swap drive bays spread across the front. The server was supplied with Intel's control board which provides 2 x USB 3 and VGA ports upfront but you can swap this for an optical drive module.

Storage features look good as the board has two embedded mini-SAS connectors plus two separate SATA ports and can handle up to 10 SATA drives. Both mini-SAS ports are neatly cabled through to the hot-swap drive backplane at the front which is 12Gbps SAS ready.

Our system was supplied with a pair of mirrored 240GB Intel S3500 SATA SSDs for the OS so there's plenty of room to expand. The C612 SATA controller supports mirrors and stripes and plugging in an upgrade key at the back of the main board brings RAID5 into play.

Want SAS? No problem, as you can add one of Intel's SAS RAID mezzanine cards in the dedicated slot. You'll also need an extra cable kit but the RMS3CC080 module, for example, supports eight 12Gbps SAS drives, has 1GB of battery protected cache and supports RAID6.

 It's more basic than Dell and HP, but Intel's RMM provides remote control as standard

Remote power management 

Intel has upgraded its dedicated remote management port to Gigabit and the server came with the RMM4 Lite upgrade key. From its web interface, we could view general system information including the CPUs and memory, monitor system health and sensor data, secure remote access with a list of authorised users and control server power.

Whereas Dell and HP expect you to pay extra, Intel includes remote control and virtual media services as standard. We used the virtual front panel graphic in the interface to control power, reset the system and illuminate the server's blue ID button on its front panel. We were also able to create email alerts when sensor values breached their preset thresholds. 

The server's embedded Node Manager feature allowed us to link the server up with Intel's Datacenter Manager Energy Director. This provides a single console for server monitoring where we could view power and thermal values, control power and apply capping policies.

Intel's Energy Director provided us with a complete view of data centre, rack and server power usage

Power, networking and expansion

The system came with a single 750W Platinum hot-plug PSU which can be upgraded with a second unit for an extra 125. Cooling is handled by two banks of fans each with three dual-rotor modules but they aren't hot-swappable so you'll need to power the server down to replace failed units.

The server isn't as power efficient as HP's ProLiant DL380 Gen9 as we measured it drawing 150W in idle and peaking at 410W under heavy load from SiSoft Sandra. Idle load is 60W higher that the DL380 Gen9 we reviewed and peak load was also greater by 20W as the server's cooling fans ramped up to a noisy turbo mode during the load test.

The S1208WTT board has two 10Gbase-T ports as standard and the cut-out to the left accepts a range of even faster networking options. Intel offers dual 10GbE copper or SFP+ fibre I/O modules but if you feel the need for more speed, you can choose from dual-port 40GbE QSFP or 56GT/s Infiniband.

There's room to add even more as the motherboard has two risers each with PCI-Express 16X slots. These support any half-height, half-length card with Intel offering its own 12Gbps SAS RAID and expander HBAs.

The motherboard sprouts a wealth of SATA storage ports which can be managed using Intel's RSTe Windows utility


Apart from the  high power consumption, there's little to fault the CyberServe XE5-R1208 on as it packs a fine hardware specification into its 1U chassis. Along with support for the latest E5-2600 v3 Xeons plus masses of DDR4 memory, it offers plenty of expansion options and delivers it all at a very tempting price.


If you thought E5-2600 v3 servers were beyond your budget think again as Broadberry’s CyberServe XE5-R1208 delivers heaps of processing power at a bargain price. It’s not as feature rich as Dell’s PowerEdge T630 but the massive price difference is impossible to ignore.

Chassis: Intel R1208WTT 1U rack 

Motherboard: Intel S2600WTT

CPU: 2 x 2GHz Xeon E5-2683 v3 (14-core, 35MB L3 cache)

Memory: 64GB 2133MHz Crucial DDR4 expandable to 3TB (with 128GB DIMMs)

Storage: 2 x 240GB Intel S3500 SATA SSDs (max 8 drives)

RAID: Intel C612

Array support: RAID0, 1, 10 (5 optional)

Expansion: 2 x PCI-e Gen3 slots, Intel SAS RAID and I/O expansion ports

Network: 2 x 10Gbase-T

Other ports: 5 x external USB 3, 2 x VGA

Power: 750W hot-plug PSU (max 2)

Management: Intel RMM4 Lite with Gigabit port

Warranty: 3yrs on site NBD

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