Dell X4012 12-port 10GbE Switch Review a Half-Width Option

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Dell X4012 Performance

On the performance side, we hooked this up to a network of twelve Intel Xeon D-1500/ D-2100, AMD EPYC 3000, and Atom C3000 series SFP+ nodes, and let the systems have at it with iperf3.

Dell X4012 Iperf3 Performance
Dell X4012 Iperf3 Performance

Performance is what you would expect here. Frankly, if you want higher-performance networking, 25GbE is the way to go these days. On the other hand, for smaller colocation cabinet networks and remote branch office networks, this is a huge upgrade over 1GbE speed.

Dell X4012 Sound Levels

Normally at STH, we do not focus on sound levels for rackmount gear. The Dell Networking X4012 is designed both as a rackmount product as well as a desktop product. Our test unit came with rubber feet for desktop use so we took sound measurements.

We saw noise levels of around 45dba after boot. That is perfectly acceptable for the average office equipment closet. In a noisy environment like a retail location, if it is tucked away one is unlikely to hear the switch. It is still too loud for next-to-user desktop use.

Dell X4012 Power Consumption

At many edge locations and low-cost colocation facilities, power is a major factor. We did not know how the Dell X4012 would fare, so we hooked it up to our 120V Extech TrueRMS power meter in our embedded lab.

  • 25.1W idle
  • 32.7W fully linked

This is absolutely great power consumption. We think given this typical power draw Dell EMC has the opportunity to further optimize fan profiles for lower noise and better desktop use. A modern 33W 1U desktop PC is often nearly silent and under 30dba these days.

Final Words

This is one of those products that with an absolutely minimal amount of tweaking could be spectacular. Having one set of rackmount ears, in the box for standard width racks would be a first step that would save users a few dollars and the hassle of getting a second package. Adding a 1GbE management port would make out of band management significantly easier for those who use 1GbE management networks. Changing fans/ speeds to make a 30dba or lower operation would turn this into a switch that can be put in a ceiling tile or under a desk.

With that being said, there is a lot to like about the switch. It is from Dell, not from a small outfit. The Dell brand alone carries a lot of weight. The cost of the units is extremely low, well under $100 per port. Performance is great for the intended application. Power consumption is great, making it an option even for low power density colocation partial racks. Likewise, the half-width standard size makes it possible to rack these 10GbE SFP+ switches two per U. If you are a novice networking administrator, having the WebGUI is going to be a lot easier to manage the switch than using a CLI.

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REVIEW OVERVIEW
Design & Aesthetics
9.1
Performance
9.3
Feature Set
9.0
Value
9.1
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8 COMMENTS

  1. We have maybe a dozen of these. They’re great but that missing management port is a real issue. We ran into that exact problem and we ended up buying a cheap Mikrotik switch to use as the media interface which is really not the best way to do it. I’ve never heard anyone else call that out, but you’re right, its a pain not having it. I can’t believe Dell didn’t add it.

    @Slowmo think we’ve got one of them in a 10″ rack.

  2. OMG … come on … really?

    what about :
    – MikroTik RouterBOARD CRS300
    – Ubiquiti EdgeSwitch 16 XG

    these are much better switches… for half the price.

  3. We have a couple of these installed for about 8 months in a quarter cabinet colo rack. Let me qualify my statements by saying that I’m a software developer for an SMB who also has to wear the sysadmin / network admin hat. I’m definitely an amateur admin.

    The Ubiquiti EdgeSwitch 16 XG was high on my list at time of purchase, but we ended up going with these for a couple reasons:
    * The half-width was important to get redundant switches in 1U in our quarter cabinet.
    * Our vendor was giving us a discount so that we were getting these for essentially the same price that we could get the Ubiquiti switches, and it was deemed crazy not to go for “Enterprise” gear when it could be acquired for the same price as “SMB\Prosumer” gear.

    The very slow web management interface is a pain during configuration, but since this was mostly set-and-forget, the temporary pain can be swallowed.

    The lack of a 1GbE management port is a larger pain because it means that connecting this to a management network burns one of the SFP+ ports and you have to purchase a transceiver for each device to do so. The recommended Dell branded 10GbE SFP+ transceiver (Dell SFP-10G-T) is about 30% the price of the switch. Compatible generic-branded 10GbE SFP+ transceivers are also available, but are only marginally cheaper. If you instead decide to use a much more affordable 1GbE SFP transceiver to connect to your management network (or to temporarily connect an admin’s laptop during on-site maintenance), it is necessary to disable auto-sensing on the SFP+ port and manually set the speed to 1Gb. As you’d expect, you can do that from the web management interface.

    I have yet to successfully configure the switches in a redundant configuration (I’m told I need to learn about configuring spanning-tree algorithms) or segment the network into VLANs, so they’re basically acting as dumb layer 2 switches, but the two X4012s have been operating reliably so far.

  4. This is in a different quality league than the Ubiquiti https://www.servethehome.com/ubiquiti-edgeswitch-es-16-xg-review-quality-control-absent/ and https://forums.servethehome.com/index.php?threads/ubiquiti-edgeswitch-es-16-xg-sfp-compatibility-thread.11129/ just to name a few. After Patrick had his issues, I had problems getting reliable 10Gbase-T with Supermicro Xeon D systems, SFP+ ports failed. For some, they’re working great but that has been more hassle than its worth.

    Both the MikroTik and the Ubiquiti are full width, not half-width which is one of the key selling points here since you can physically locate two side-by-side or do SFP+ in one switch and 1GbE in another.

    Also, there are a lot of customers who may use MikroTik at home or in a lab, but not in a remote branch office that’s hours from IT. There are others, certainly who will, but there are Dell-only shops.

  5. After discount it’s around similar price as Ubiquiti EdgeSwitch 16 XG with three year 4-hour on site service. I think it’s better than EdgeSwitch 16 XG at that price. CRS317-1G-16S+RM is cheaper but it’s software is lacking.

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