Dell’s PowerEdge Server line finds use in a broad variety of applications. Cost-effective and configurable, these Racks, Towers, and Blades power many bootstrapped business solutions, such as file sharing, corporate software services, and organizational databases.
Although the PowerEdge brand is well-established after two decades of existence, it is still relevant in 2019. What’s more, the blogosphere rumbles with the sound of an ongoing debate over a seemingly simple question — Which Dell PowerEdge Servers are best?
Today, we will try to remedy that. Exclusively for your reading pleasure, we’ll compare two successive versions of T-type (form factor) PowerEdge Servers to their closest R- type relatives. Here is what to understand about these leading dual-socket solutions.
Getting to Know the Dell Server Contenders
There is no shortage of server products to compare in the well-stocked PowerEdge line. We chose these standouts for good reasons like their versatility, affordability, and widespread popularity.
Although the PowerEdge line also comes in a Blade Server which Dell calls “M” (modular) for short, we have chosen to stick to the Rack aka “R,” and Tower, aka “T,” options. If you are looking for modular hardware, then you will have to accept the fact that Blade Servers are bare-bones by comparison.
The 13th Generation: R630 vs. T630
Dell’s 13th generation of PowerEdge Servers hit the scene in late 2014. Like many other members of that year’s product family, both the Dell R630 and the Dell T630 were powered by Intel Xeon E5 2600 CPUs and C610 chipsets. Although this meant that each server included dual processors, the T630 originally featured Xeon 2600 version four (V4) CPUs as compared to the R630’s version three (V3) variants. Nowadays, however, you can choose the V4 Xeon for both products.
Both the Dell R630 can take up to 1.5TB of RAM.
However, these Dell 630 Server models are quite distinct in terms of data storage. For persistent storage, the R630 lets you install as many as 24 x 1.8″ flash SSDs or 10 x 2.5″ HDDs for a maximum of 23 or 17 TB. You can also replace four of the hard drives with PCIe SSDs for a custom loadout. If you go with the T630, you will be able to install as many as 18 x 3.5″ or 32 x 2.5″ HDDs — This works out to about 144 or 72 TB at most. Although the T630 wins in terms of raw storage capacity, both options make it easy for users to customize how they configure and utilize available space. For instance, you can upgrade either by adding a compatible 12Gb/s PowerEdge RAID, or PERC, controller for improved database performance and faster transaction speeds.
The R630 is a rack-mounted machine that takes up 1U of space. While the regular T630 variant is a standard tower, it is also available in a 5U rack-compatible configuration.
The 14th Generation: R640 vs. T640
In 2017, Dell further improved on its PowerEdge family by introducing the 14th generation. The product line still included lots of configurable functionality, but it upgraded to scalable Skylake – SP 14 nm CPUs. In other words, both the Dell PowerEdge R640 Server and the Dell PowerEdge T640 Server come with up to two (2) Intel Xeon Scalable CPUs that can each support as many as 28 cores.
The R640 and T640 can both accommodate 24 x 2666 MT/s RAM sticks for up to 3 TB of total memory. Alternatively, you can use up to 12 NVDIMM for 192 GB of nonvolatile storage.
Things start to look different when you take a peek at the drive layout. The R640 is equipped with front bays that hold 10 x 2.5″ HDDs for about 58 TB of max storage or 4 x 3.5″ devices for 48 TB. It also supports an extra 12 TB in two rear bays that fit 2.5″ peripherals.
The T640 lets you store data using 3.5″ bays that can accommodate 8 or 18 HDDs or SSDs. You also get plenty of physical space to install custom configurations that feature devices such as NVMe Drives, but 112TB is the maximum while 216TB is the Maximum for 3.5” HDD / SDDs.
Like its predecessor, the Dell R640 is a 1U rack, and the Dell T640 is available as a Tower or 5U rack. Although the T640 demands more space, it makes up for its larger footprint by including more ports- there is room for eight USB connectors as opposed to just four. The T640 also supports eight PCIe Gen3 cards instead of a mere three.
Picking Your Ideal Server Hardware
Which Dell PowerEdge Server should you choose? In the end, it may come down to your usage and needs. For instance, both the T and R form factors are compatible with other Dell solutions, such as the firm’s OpenManage mobile monitoring app and optional GPU accelerator support. The R devices’ smaller form factors, however, mean that they work in space-restricted applications that the T options can’t support.
The T form factors’ advanced storage capacities and extra expansion slots will likely prove better for certain business apps, such as high-demand, user-facing software. Although the starting price is significantly more than the R options, going all out may be a better investment for growing businesses that anticipate future expansion.
Part of the reason Dell PowerEdge Servers are so commercially successful is that they are easy to tweak. Instead of going with a base setup, you can customize everything from your GPUs and OS to fan configurations and hot-pluggable power supplies. In other words, you are not permanently tied to a particular device just because it was the most viable business option when you happened to be out server shopping.
Finally, remember that the 14th generation has an extra three years of development on the thirteenth-gen product family. That is quite a span in tech terms, so if you are looking for the ultimate in performance, it may be best to upgrade.
Want to know more about which servers can help your business applications succeed? Talk to one of our experts, or check out the VRLA Tech selection today or Dell Rack Servers and Dell Tower Servers to start building cost-effective custom solutions.