Dell EMC PowerEdge R740 Server ReviewAugust 1, 2018
The Dell EMC PowerEdge R740 server brings you the perfect balance of compute, storage, application acceleration, and the ability to adapt and support just about any workload. What’s new on Dell EMC’s R740 platform? Plenty! First off the new R740 can support 50% more virtual desktops with up to three double-wide GPU accelerators. M.2 boot optimized storage solutions enable you to fully utilize your integrated storage more effectively. Management has also been upgraded with new firmware and software, and Intel’s Xeon Scalable processors support more PCIe lanes, more and faster memory, and deliver up to 50% more bandwidth! Like the PowerEdge R740xd, the R740 will support NVDIMM modules for data protection and resiliency.
Our review model features a 16-bay configuration with dual Intel Xeon Scalable Silver 4114 Processors.
Each processor has two 32GB memory modules capable of speeds of up to 2666MHz.
It currently only has a single 120GB SATA SSD that connects into the hot swap backplane which in turn has an expander board connected with cables running to a stand-up H730p PCIe card mounted in Riser 2.
Beneath that is an Intel Network Daughter module supporting four 1Gb Ethernet ports.
Power is provided with dual hot-plug 750W PSUs.
Also included are an optional Optical drive
and Quick Sync for easy management.
Cooling all of that is an array of six fans.
Beneath the newly designed optional honeycomb bezel, you’ll see the R740 has the same internal storage bay layout as the previous generation R730 but supports more storage thanks to higher capacity drives. Options include 16 2.5″ drives, 8 2.5″ drives, and an 8-bay chassis that supports 3.5″ drives for up to 80TB of storage using 10TB SAS drives. All configurations support an optional DVD-ROM or DVD+RW device.
And just like the R740xd, which features greater storage capacity, the R740 also supports an optional integrated Dual SD Card Module (iDSDCM) with two micro SD cards on one side, and a vFlash card on the other. The SD cards support a hypervisor in failsafe mode.
The vFlash card on the other side of the module can be used by the iDRAC management engine to provide persistent on-demand local storage and a custom deployment environment that enables automation of server configuration, scripts, and imaging.
The left ear of the server has an integrated display that tracks hard drives, temperature, power supplies, memory, and PCIe slots with icon-based LEDs. The left ear can also be outfitted with optional Quick Sync 2 wireless for at chassis management.
With the OpenManage Mobile app installed on your smartphone or tablet, just press the button with the wireless icon connect to the server through Bluetooth,
then scan the bottom of the pull-out service tag.
It has a range of about 5-10 feet, which is perfect for data center conditions. Quick Sync 2 works with iDRAC and the OpenManage Mobile app to give server updates on site at the chassis, through a smartphone or web browser using a tablet. With the second generation of Quick Sync, you can use either an Android or iOS device to quickly access the system. This is definitely an improvement if you want to use your iPhone, because before it only supported Android devices. Plus, you no longer have to purchase the special Quick Sync bezel. The right-side server ear also provides a dedicated micro-USB port for access to iDRAC.
Like the R740xd, the R740 supports two Intel Xeon Scalable processors with up to 28 cores each. You can choose from Bronze, Silver, Gold, or Platinum, but with the capabilities of this system, it would be a shame to go with anything less than Silver or Gold. Another thing to keep in mind when choosing a processor is the Ultra Path Interconnect UPI, which replaces the Quick Path Interconnect or QPI. The QuickPath Interconnect offers transfer speed of up to 9.6 GT/s but only two paths. Whereas the UltraPath Interconnect supports speeds of 10.4 GT/s with two paths on most processors and three paths on a select few. Those processors with three paths provide the greatest performance on the quad and eight-socket platforms. You also might want to keep in mind when ordering that not all processors support the highest memory speed of 2666MHz, nor the highest memory capacity of 1.5TB each.
Both the R740xd and the R740 support up to 24 DDR4 memory modules equally divided between CPU 1 and CPU 2 for a maximum memory compliment of 3TB of memory. You can choose from either Registered, Load-Reduced, or Non-Volatile DIMM.
Six memory channels are allocated for each twelve slot set and memory can run at up to 2666MHz, depending on your choice of processor and memory configuration. Memory modules of different capacities can be mixed, but mixing more than two capacities is not supported.
You can install up to 12 NVDIMM-N modules in configurations with 1, 2, 4, 6, or 12 NVDIMMs but they must be paired with a minimum of 12 Registered DIMMs and will require a dual processor configuration with optional internal battery. The battery for the NVDIMM modules can be installed on both the regular air shroud or the GPU air shroud.
You may be asking yourself at this point, how do the NVDIMM-N modules work? Because I know I was. In a nutshell, it has a combination of DDR4 DRAM paired with a NAND Flash component.
DRAM is volatile and will very quickly lose data when power is removed. NAND is non-volatile, so when power is removed it will still retain the data indefinitely (SAVE signal is sent to NVDIMM Controller).
The DRAM component allows the processor to recognize the module as an RDIMM module.
NVDIMM-N modules rely on an integrated NVDIMM controller to transfer data from DRAM to NAND Flash, and a power voltage regulator that’s connected to an internal battery with power delivery integrated into the system board.
If power is interrupted, the battery will power the DRAM component for a little over a minute enabling the NVDIMM-N controller to transfer memory to the NAND Flash component. It doesn’t matter if you have a single NVDIMM module or 12 NVDIMMs installed, all modules run in parallel and will transfer all data from DRAM to Flash within about one minute. And whether you install a single NVDIMM module or 12, you still need to pair that with a minimum of 12 RDIMM modules.
Once the system is powered back on, the system determines if the data on the NVDIMM Flash storage or up-front storage devices is more current and pulls the most current data set. (Reversing the previous steps to store on the NAND flash component.)
The network daughter card on the back of the system can be ordered with either 4 1Gb/s, like we have here, there’s also a 4 10Gb/s module, a combo port with 2 1GB/s and 2 10Gb/s, or a dual port setup with each port supporting 25Gb/s. The NDC is a welcome addition that won’t take away any of those PCIe slots and can be easily switched out for a quick I/O upgrade. A maximum of eight PCIe 3.0 slots are available, depending on your configuration and choice of riser with some supporting three PCIe slots and others just two.
There’s also a dedicated slot on the motherboard for a mini-module HD/RAID controller for internal storage devices, or you could just go with the integrated S140 storage controller for software RAID supporting HDDs, SSDs drives, but SATA only. There are also several optional HD RAID controllers for SAS and SATA drives offering more RAID options. An optional Host Bus Adapter with 12Gb/s Access speeds can provide I/O processing for external devices.
An optional Boot Optimized Storage System, or BOSS, features two M.2 storage devices and can be configured in a hardware RAID to support the operating system in failsafe mode. The BOSS device also allows you to preserve all of your storage devices for actual storage.
Depending on your choice of risers, the R740 will support up to eight PCIe 3.0 slots with up to four x16 slots active in a two-processor configuration. With only a single processor, a maximum of four PCIe slots is active using specific riser configurations. If you’re looking to scale your virtual desktop infrastructure deployments, then you can add up to three 300W double-width or up to six 150W single-width GPUs!
Using the Tesla M60 Accelerator with Nvidia GRID software delivers the highest user performance for virtualized workstations, desktops, and applications! Three double wide GPUs will give you up to 50% more users for your VDI deployment than the previous generation R730, but you will need two processors, 1100W of power, and six high-performance fans. Choices, choices…
The Dell PowerEdge R740 server is highly adaptable for just about any workload including, data warehouses, E-commerce, databases, and high-performance computing (HPC). Of course on another document they list VDI, Private cloud, Artificial intelligence, and Machine learning—so yea, this server will do your bidding. And if you need more storage, you can always go with the R740xd. Of course, both support the same memory capacity and those new NVDIMM modules, so performance-wise, same-same.
Click here for pricing and documentation on the Dell EMC PowerEdge R740 Rack Server, and if you have any comments or questions post them in the section below or give us a call at (800) 237-0402.