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Lenovo ThinkServer TS460 review

Lenovo delivers a big tower server for SMBs with an eye on future growth

Price
£2,341
  • Good value; SATA/SAS3 storage; Very quiet, High expansion potential, Low power consumption
  • Limited management features

Fast-growing SMBs looking for a tower server that can run with them will find Lenovo's ThinkServer TS460 a good partner. Along with support for Intel's latest E3-1200 v6 Xeons, it offers plenty of room for future expansion and some versatile storage options.

Only requiring a BIOS upgrade to its C232 chipset, the TS460 supports all members of this new CPU family with speeds ranging from 3GHz up to 3.9GHz. All models have four cores, 8MB of L3 cache and support faster 2,400MHz ECC DDR4 memory.

The price we've shown is Lenovo's estimated street price (ESP) for the 70TT003XEA model which sports a 3GHz E3-1220 v6 Xeon and 8GB of 2,400MHz ECC DDR4. End-user prices will undoubtedly be much lower and it includes a generous three-year on-site warranty.

Design and security

This 4U tower chassis is solidly built, and its side panel can be padlocked shut or secured with a Kensington lock. Even better, the front door can be key-locked shut which stops the side panel from being removed and also protects the power button and drive bays from wandering fingers.

The price includes a DVD-RW drive, leaving one bay free for upgrades such as Lenovo's internal USB RDX cartridge or LTO-6 SAS tape backup devices. The former can be connected to the motherboard's internal USB 2 port, while the latter requires a dedicated RAID 520i card.

Plenty of USB 3 ports are provided fore and aft, and a smart security feature is each one can be individually enabled or disabled from the BIOS setup screen. You have a standard VGA port at the rear but the TS460 doesn't feature Lenovo's trademark DisplayPort connector - which is no great loss in our view.

Internally, everything is neat and tidy with easy access for upgrades and maintenance. The server offers a tool-free design, so adapter cards and most components can be added or removed without reaching for a screwdriver.

Storage capacity

Entry systems have a 4-bay NHS (non-hot swap) LFF drive cage cabled directly to the motherboard's four SATA ports. These link up with the embedded SR 121i RAID controller, which supports mirrors, stripes and RAID5 arrays.

Lenovo offers a number of expansion kits, with the first adding a second 4-bay LFF hot-swap cage. You'll also require one of Lenovo's SAS/SATA RAID cards, with the entry-model RAID 520i supporting stripes and mirrors and requiring an upgrade key for RAID5 and 50.

Our review system is the 8-bay hot-swap SFF SAS3 version which has its cage backplane connected to a RAID 520i PCI-Express card. This can be upgraded to 16 SFF bays, and it's possible to mix one 4-bay LFF cage with an 8-bay SFF cage for some extra storage versatility.

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