Dell Inc has been setting the pace in the SMB server market for years and its competitors know it and have been gunning for it in the uniprocessor and two-way server space. The company has responded with an update of its popular PowerEdge SC line of servers, which are aimed at customers with tight budgets and no significant IT staff.
The PowerEdge SC420 is based on the Intel E7221 chipset and supports hybrid 32-bit/64-bit Pentium-4 chips running at between 2.8GHz and 3.6GHz with an 800MHz frontside bus or the Celeron processor running at 2.5GHz with a 533MHz frontside bus.
The machine scales from 256MB to 4GB of main memory and includes a dual-channel Serial ATA RAID 1 disk controller and has an optional Ultra320 SCSI disk controller. Dell offers 40GB, 80GB, 160GB, and 250GB SATA drives and 36GB, 73GB, and 146GB SCSI drives; the machine supports only two disk drives (like other entry tower servers from Dell).
It has a Gigabit Ethernet port embedded on the motherboard, which is a big improvement over 10/100Mbit Ethernet, and has five slots (two PCI Express, three PCI). Dell is configuring Windows Server 2003, Windows Small Business Server 2003, and Red Hat Linux 3 ES on the box.. A base machine with the Celeron chip, 256MB of main memory, a 40 GB SATA drive, with no operating system costs $499.
However, this is not a real configuration. With the 3.6GHz Pentium 4 chip, 1GB of main memory, and two 160GB SATA drives in a RAID1 configuration costs $1,586. If you want an operating system on top of that, then Windows SBS 2003 costs $499 or a one-year subscription to Linux 3 ES costs $349.
The PowerEdge SC1420 is a two-way entry tower server with a $799 base price, which is being given away with a $100 instant rebate as we go to press. It offers the same operating system options as the PowerEdge SC420, but it is an entirely different machine. The PowerEdge SC1420 is based on Intel’s E7250 chipset and runs the hybrid 32-bit/64-bit Nocona Xeon DP processor, which have an 800MHz frontside bus; Dell is supporting Xeon DP speeds ranging from 2.8GHz to 3.4GHz.
The E7250 chipset supports up to 8GB of main memory and the same disk options, Gigabit Ethernet, and PCI slots as the PowerEdge SC420. However, the SC1420 tower has room for four disks instead of two, which means it can support RAID5 data protection (which is not included in the base box). With two 3.4GHz Xeon DPs, 2GB of main memory, and four 160GB SATA disks with a RAID5 SATA disk controller, the SC1420 costs $5,152.