Featherweight Desktop Server Packs A Heavyweight Punch

The miniaturization of PC components, peripherals and systems is quite obvious with mobile computers???there???s no place to hide it. But that???s not necessarily so with desktop systems and servers. (Courtesy:

February 4, 2006

4 Min Read
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The miniaturization of PC components, peripherals and systems is quite obvious with mobile computersthere's no place to hide it. But that's not necessarily so with desktop systems and servers. Desktop systems and servers often pack more power per cubic inch today than they did just a few years ago. Take for example Hewlett-Packard's new ProLiant ML110 G3 server, an entry-level or SMB server that can be configured with a dual-core processor that supports multithreading and multitasking applications much better than a single-core processor.

Dual-core processors were just introduced last year but are expected to dominate the server market in no time. A dual-core CPU contains two processors in one chip. Each processor has its own path to the front-side bus and permits high-performance parallel computing, which is typically used for high-end clustered systems. A server containing a dual-core processor can simultaneously work on two tasks without having the applications compete for processing power.

The ProLiant ML110 G3 server is ideal for applications such as file and print; Web messaging; small vertical applications or databases; shared Internet access and network infrastructure; as the main server in remote or branch offices; or for general SMB use. Applications that all dual-core systems excel at include CAD, SAS, data mining, animation and 3-D rendering.

Hewlett-Packard has loaded the ProLiant ML110 G3 server with more features than one would expect in an entry-level package. Depending on how much horsepower is needed, the system can be configured with various processors including Celeron, Pentium 4 and dual-core Pentium D models.

The most powerful processor, and also the most expensive, would be a 3GHz dual-core Pentium D with an 800MHz front-side bus, which is what the Test Center engineers' sample unit was fitted with. The least expensive processor, and least powerful, is a 2.53GHz Celeron unit with a 533MHz front-side bus. To help boost performance, the system uses 533MHz DDR II memory in four sockets for a maximum of 8 Gbytes of total memory; the sample unit came with 512 Mbytes of memory.The server's motherboard features two PCI Express slots, one x4, one x16 and two PCI slots. One of the PCI slots was fitted with a single-channel Ultra 320 SCSI adapter that drives an optional 15,000 rpm 36 Gbyte Ultra320 non-hot plug hard drive. The motherboard also features two integrated Serial ATA ports and integrated Broadcom 5721 Gigabit NIC. The system came with a 48x CD-ROM drive. USB 2.0 ports include two front, two rear and two internal, and the system has two rear serial ports. If the ML110 G3 is to be used in remote locations, it should be equipped with an optional HP Lights-Out 100 Remote Management Card; the card costs an additional $119. As configured for the Test Center, the ML110 G3 costs $1,517, which is quite reasonable considering everything included with the system.

The ML110 G3 is designed for easy servicing and upgrades. Most components can be removed or installed without tools. The system offers two internal hard drive bays, and a third bay can be added using an optional HDD bracket conversion kit. The system also features two external drive bays, with one of them filled by the CD-ROM drive.

The ML110 G3 was tested for performance using PassMark's Performance Test software, which can be used for free by anyone for up to 30 days. The server earned an impressive PassMark score of 439.6. For comparison purposes, note that AOpen's mobile-technology based miniPC recently scored 290.2 and an Acer 2GHz Pentium M notebook scored 385.5.

The ML110 G3 is available to partners under HP's Channel One partner program. Broken down into three tiers, Business Partner, Gold and Platinum, HP aims to give product access to solution providers of all sizes.

The most basic, the Business Partner level, is for partners simply looking to resell HP's product line, but they must have an authorized business development agreement on file. Business Partners have reduced access to channel-centric offerings, such as enhanced support and market development funds. Gold and Platinum level partners have extended requirements and access to marketing funds and additional support options, ranging from a dedicated Web portal to express warranty replacement services. Gold Level partners are required to have five certified staffers and $10 million in yearly sales. Platinum Level partners are required to have 15 certified staffers and $75 million in yearly sales.Training is offered at no charge and HP offers incentives for training and certification. HP did not disclose margins or additional information differentiating partner levels. It is recommended that prospective partners further investigate the channel program.

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