Dell EMC PowerEdge R740xd Review Unbridled Versatility

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Dell EMC PowerEdge R740xd Front
Dell EMC PowerEdge R740xd Front

The Dell EMC PowerEdge R740xd comes from a heritage of popular servers that are Dell EMC’s high-powered 2U server line. At STH, we have had the servers in our data center lab for several weeks and put these servers through the most comprehensive testing around. In this thorough review, we did not just look at features, we tested the system with multiple configurations, we broke the systems down and serviced key pieces. All of our testing is done in an ex-Yahoo! data center so we also have had the opportunity to use the server in an environment like our readers operate. At the end of the process, we have our Dell EMC PowerEdge R740xd review to share and can show what sets it apart from its competition.

Dell EMC PowerEdge R740xd Test Configuration

Dell EMC sent a spectacular configuration. Our test system was configured with dual Intel Xeon Platinum 8180 CPUs. These are essentially the highest-end 28 core / 56 thread CPUs that Intel offers. Here is a quick summary of the configurations we used.

  • Server: Dell EMC PowerEdge R740 2U 24x 2.5″ Chassis
  • CPUs: 2x Intel Xeon Platinum 8180, 2x Intel Xeon Gold 6152, 2x Intel Xeon Gold 6138, 2x Intel Xeon Gold 5119T, 2x Intel Xeon Silver 4116, 2x Intel Xeon Bronze 3106
  • RAM: 384GB in 12x 32 DDR4-2666MHz RDIMMs
  • Storage Controller: PERC H740P
  • SAS3 Storage: 5x Samsung PM1635a 400GB Mixed Use SAS3 12gbps SSDs
  • NVMe Storage: 2x Samsung PM1725 1.6TB U.2 NVMe SSDs
  • OS Storage: BOSS controller card with 2x 120GB m.2 sticks
  • Networking: Mellanox ConnectX-4 Lx dual-port 25GbE

The Intel Xeon Platinum 8180 CPUs are absolutely awesome, however, we felt that the $10,000+ list price each CPU was not representative of what most buyers are going to purchase. Intel sent us a quad Xeon Platinum 8180 system for the Xeon Scalable launch and told us that the Platinum 8180 was not a general-purpose SKU. Instead, it expects volume to come from the Gold and Silver lines. You can read more about the Intel Xeon Scalable Processor Family: Platinum Gold Silver Bronze Naming Conventions.

Intel Xeon Processor Scalable Family Platinum Gold Silver Bronze
Intel Xeon Processor Scalable Family Platinum Gold Silver Bronze

Those CPUs push the price of the configuration Dell EMC sent, using standard discounts, to just over $40,000. This is well over the discounted price of a base system at just over $3,600 so there is a lot of room to scale on this platform. As is customary in this market, the list price is often discounted so we are using the discounted price we got from the web configurator.

Since this is STH, and we have all AMD EPYC and most Intel Xeon Scalable SKUs available in-house, we again went off script and expanded the CPU coverage over our Dell EMC PowerEdge R640 review. Dell has a long list of CPU options so we decided to put some sense of scale to where one can go in this platform. This is going to be unique content we can create due to STH’s scale.

First, we are going to look at the system’s hardware. We are then going to take a look at the management solution for the server. Finally, we are going to review the performance and the power consumption of the system before giving our final thoughts. Get ready as we gave our test unit what may end up being the ultimate examination you will find published online.

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REVIEW OVERVIEW
Design & Aesthetics
9.9
Performance
9.7
Feature Set
9.8
Value
9.5
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Patrick has been running STH since 2009 and covers a wide variety of SME, SMB, and SOHO IT topics. Patrick is a consultant in the technology industry and has worked with numerous large hardware and storage vendors in the Silicon Valley. The goal of STH is simply to help users find some information about server, storage and networking, building blocks. If you have any helpful information please feel free to post on the forums.

7 COMMENTS

  1. This is the most in-depth review I’ve ever seen on a server and 10x better than whitepapers. I really like that you went into performance with so many different CPU options. You could have said though that slower bronze and silver CPUs can’t use ddr4-2666 because of Intel’s limitation. You’ve still got a massive amount of information in here. I’m going to read again tomorrow and share with our team.

  2. Holy hell. What a review. We’ve got a few racks of these already. I’d wholeheartedly concur.

  3. It took me 32 minutes to read. You can almost turn this into a Kindle book but the pictures would suck. Really good STH. For me those servicing pics stand out and I’m normally a Lenovo admin. Maybe it’s time to look.

  4. HC node for sure. I’d echo the thoroughness comments. You’ve got everything here.

    Maybe you can do a video next time?

  5. Read pages 1 and 2. Coffee break. Read pages 3-5. Lunch. I agree you’d be better off turning this into a Kindle book.

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