Dell EMC PowerEdge R450 review: Rack-dense server power for SMBs

Businesses looking for an affordable rack server that can handle a wide range of general purpose workloads will find the PowerEdge R450 could be the ideal solution. As the entry point to Dell EMC’s family of dual-socket rack servers, the R450 targets SMB applications such as small IT infrastructure tasks as well as modest virtualization services.

It packs a quality hardware package into its 1U height with plenty of processing power thanks to a choice of seven Xeon Scalable Gen 3 processors. Our review system came with a meaty pair of 24-core 2.1GHz Gold 5318Y modules. – the highest the R450 can manage – but you can save a stack and go for a more modest 8-core 2.8 GHz Silver 4309Y.

Memory sees no real limits either and the R450 can handle up to 1TB. Our system was designed for memory-intensive action; the price includes good 128GB DDR4 memory spread across eight 16GB DIMMs.

Dell EMC PowerEdge R450 review: Storage options

The R450 is available with four hot-swappable LFF drive bays or, in our case, eight SFF bays. The motherboard has a basic onboard PERC S150 SATA controller for software managed RAID arrays, but this is largely redundant as the R450 is offered with a choice of PERC hardware RAID cards from Dell EMC which also incorporate support for SAS in the equation.

Our server is equipped with a PERC H745 Front SAS card that smartly slots into a dedicated bay just above the drive carriers, plugs directly into the backplane, and connects to the motherboard with a single cable. It supports all the usual RAID array suspects, including 5 and 6, and comes with a battery backup unit (BBU) protecting the cache.

A good selection of SATA and SAS hard drives and SSDs are offered for the R450, but NVMe SSDs aren’t on the menu. If you want them in 1U of rack space, you’ll need to consider upgrading to the cost-optimized PowerEdge R650xs.

Don’t believe the tech specs listed on the Dell EMC buy page: the R450 doesn’t support the latest BOSS (Boot Optimized Storage Solution) S2 card which features dual M.2 SATA SSDs in removable media in back. All is not lost though, as the R450 has enough space between its two expansion card slots for a dedicated slot where the old, non-removable BOSS S1 card nestles, and we’ve raised the price of the system. to include a mirrored pair of 480GB SSDs.

Dell EMC PowerEdge R450 review: Remote management

The R450 features Dell EMC’s iDRAC9 controller which sets the standard for remote management. Its intelligent web-based console presents a wealth of information on system and component status, power consumption and cooling efficiency, as well as comprehensive hardware inventory and direct access to BIOS and storage configurations .

Costing just £115, the Quick Sync 2 module is a must-have feature for support staff who want walk-in diagnostics on their mobile device. Using the OpenManage Mobile (OMM) iOS app on an iPad, we connected to it via Bluetooth by scanning the QR code on the server’s removable system tag.

From our iPad, we could view all server information, alerts, and hardware component health. Other useful tools include features to directly access the iDRAC9 web console and use its built-in VNC server to remotely control the server operating system.

A screenshot of the Dell EMC PowerEdge R450's management software.

We are running OpenManage Enterprise (OME) software in the lab as a Hyper-V virtual machine and after discovering the server’s iDRAC9 we were able to manage and monitor it, control power and run remote control sessions . With an OME Enterprise Advanced license added to our iDRAC9, we could use the Power Manager plugin to view server power consumption graphs and thermals going back up to a year.

As long as the server has a valid support contract, you can integrate it with the free CloudIQ cloud-hosted service, which provides server telemetry and predictive analytics. Installing the CloudIQ plugin allows OME to function as a collector where it sends its logs every 15 minutes. This means CloudIQ can provide proactive health scoring, hardware inventory, and 24-hour performance graphs of CPU and memory usage, power consumption, and temperatures.

Dell EMC PowerEdge R450 Review: Internal Design

Cracking the lid reveals a well-designed interior that gave us easy access to all key components. The two Gold processors are complemented by large passive heatsinks and flanked by a total of 16 DIMM slots supporting up to 64GB of RDIMMs – although these bad boys will set you back over £1600 each.

At the rear are two risers, each offering a PCI-E Gen 4 expansion slot for a low-profile, half-length adapter card. There is room for further network expansion as below the risers is a 3.0 OCP mezzanine edge slot with Dell EMC offering a choice of Gigabit, 10GbE and 25GbE multiport cards from Intel, Broadcom and Marvell.

The R450 supports dual power supplies, and our system included two 800W Platinum models running in fault-tolerant mode. High-powered 1100W power supplies are also available, while single-CPU systems can get away with cheaper 600W models.

A photograph of the Dell EMC PowerEdge R450 internal chassis layout

Cooling is provided by a bank of seven standard, cold-swappable dual-rotor fans positioned behind the drive backplane. While they do a good job, we recommend making sure there are no obstructions to airflow around the server. We found that the Gold 5318Y processors get quite warm during operation, with the iDRAC9 temperature monitor showing them running at 80℃ in standby.

Dell EMC PowerEdge R450 Review: Verdict

The R450 is a good choice for SMBs and large enterprises wanting a rack-dense solution to run a wide range of general-purpose applications – although if you choose the dense Gold processors, be aware of the cooling requirements. That aside, this 1U rack server offers a good spec for the price, and if remote server management is a high priority, then you’ve come to the right place.

Dell EMC PowerEdge R450 Specifications (as revised)

Frame

1U rack

CPU

2 x 24-core 2.1 GHz Intel Xeon Scalable Gold 5318Y

Memory

128 GB of DDR4 ECC memory at 3200 MHz (max. 1 TB)

Storage bays

8 x hot-swappable SAS/SATA SFF (max 8)

RAID

Dell PERC H745 Front SAS with 4GB cache and BBU

Storage included

2 x 900 GB SAS SFF hard drives

Other Storage

Dell BOSS-S1 with 2 x 480GB M.2 SATA SSDs

Network

2 Gigabit LOMs

Expansion

2 x PCI-E 4, 1 x OCP 3 edge slot

Power

2 x 800W Platinum hot-pluggable power supplies

Other

LCD bezel, Quick Sync 2 module

Management

Dell iDRAC9 Data Center with Advanced OME

guarantee

3 years standard on-site NBD

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