Review PC Server Dell EMC PowerEdge R640 Price As reviewed (Smart Value Flexi) - £9,418 ex

The Dell PowerEdge R640 aims to provide a balanced combination of storage, processing power and shelf density, and in this exclusive review we are delivering the first look of the new 1-gen 1U rack server. Of course, the Intel Xeon Scalable family is at the top of Dell's agenda and the new internal cooling design allows the R640 to support every CPU model up to 205W 28-core Platinum 8180.

The storage options are equally impressive, because the chassis is available with four LFFs, eight SFFs or ten SFF drives. There is room for two SFF drives on the back in an optional hot-swap cage and the server can support up to eight SSE PCIe NVMe out of the box.

Hard disks are all handled by a 10-gene PERC controller Dell which has NV memory memory supported by 8GB memory - four times the previous generation. The newly prepared H740P and H840P adapters SAS3 and Harpoon-based RoC (RAID on chip) provide performance boost for handling high IOPS SSDs.

All PowerEdge 14thgen servers feature a new Dell management remote controller, which provides a completely revamped web interface and many new features. The security of the platform is also tight and includes firmware packages marked cryptographically plus locking mode to stop unauthorized system configuration changes.

Review PC Server Dell EMC PowerEdge R640

Storage options Server Dell EMP PowerEdge R640

Dell offers a lot of storage options so ensure you make the right choices to avoid future upgrades. All three Smart Flexi Value models are offered with eight or ten SFF drive bays with only the standard model supporting four LFF bays.

The SFF models offer two backplanes with the 8-bay version supporting SAS3, NL-SAS and SATA hard disks. We review the 10-bay version - which you'll need if you want to use PCIe NVMe SSDs as well as SAS3 hard disks.

The Xeon Scalable CPUs increase the number of PCIe lanes from 40 to 48 and Dell's NVMe implementation takes advantage of this. The 10-bay backplane is plugged into a SAS expander board behind it, but also has onboard NVMe connectors cabled directly to the motherboard.

These use the eight extra PCIe lanes allowing you to direct-attach up to eight NVMe drives in the front bays without requiring extra adapter cards. Mind you, they aren't cheap; Dell's 3.2TB mixed-use NVMe drives cost over six grand apiece.

Dell's BOSS (boot optimized storage solution) card does away with the need to put the OS on a hard disk. Included in our review system, the BOSS is a PCIe adapter card with dual M.2 SATA SSD slots which supports mirroring.

Review PC Server Dell EMC PowerEdge R640

Internal design Server Dell EMC PowerEdge R640

There's a lot going on inside the busy interior of the R640 but all the embedded wiring is neat from easy access to the main components. Eight hot-plug fan modules are in front of the motherboard and for NMVe and upper-class CPU drives, you must define high-performance models.

The price includes a RAID snap-in module of PERC H740P Mini. It supports all the usual RAID suspects including RAID6 and 60 and has an 8GB NVRAM cache with a battery backup package tucked neatly at the top.

Our system comes with 2.636MHz DDR4 memory which can be upgraded to 768GB using RDIMM or 1.5TB with LRDIMM. The R640 also supports up to twelve NVDIMM-N Persistent Memory modules that incorporate 16GB of high performance DRAM with built-in Flash backup and use a special custom battery backup module above the SAS expander board.

Up to three PCIe expansion slots are available and under their cage there is a dedicated slot for Dell networking daughter cards. We are supplied with dual Gigabit / 10GBase-T models and other options include quad Gigabit, quad 10GbE SFP + or dual 25GbE.

Review PC Server Dell EMC PowerEdge R640

Server management and security

The new IDRAC9 from Dell is a winner for remote management because the smart HTML5-based web interface provides a wealth of real-time information on server operations. The Dashboard screen provides a quick view of overall system health plus quick access to logs and virtual remote control console.

The System tab shows everything there is to know about power consumption or cooling and provides performance graphs for CPU, memory and I / O usage. Enabling System Lockdown mode prevents any further configuration changes and you can use the System Erase feature to safely destroy data on drives that are disabled.

The value of Dell over the iLO5 HPE with Quick Sync 2 feature we use to connect our iPad to the server via Bluetooth. The iOS OpenManage Mobile (OMM) app allows us to view all server information, receive alerts, restart and control it using the free VNC Viewer app.

Dell OpenManage Enterprise will not be released until mid 2018 but while you wait, you can use free OpenManage Essentials software. We use it to manage all of our Dell networking devices, perform inventory and enable advanced warning systems.

Review PC Server Dell EMC PowerEdge R640


The PowerEdge R640 is packed into a compact 1U chassis and brings some innovative storage features as well. Support for the entire Xeon Scalable CPU family means easily customized to fit the workload and budget range while new iDRAC9 controllers set new standards for server management.


  • Chassis: 1U rack
  • CPU: 2 x 2.1GHz Intel Xeon Gold 6130
  • Memory: 192GB ECC DDR4 2,667MHz (max 1.5TB with LRDIMMs)
  • Storage bays: 10 SFF front hot-swap (supports 8 x NVMe SSDs)
  • RAID: Dell PERC H730P Mini SAS3/8GB NVRAM cache/BBU
  • Storage included: 5 x 300GB 15K SAS3 SFF hard disks
  • Array support: RAID0, 1, 10, 5, 6, 50, 60
  • Network: 2 x Gigabit/2 x 10GBase-T daughtercard
  • Expansion: 3 x PCI-e 3.0 slots
  • Other: BOSS card with 2 x 240GB M.2 SATA SSDs
  • Cooling: 8 x hot-plug performance fans
  • Power: 2 x 1600W Platinum hot-swap PSUs
  • Management: Dell iDRAC9 Enterprise
  • Warranty 3yrs standard on-site NBD

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