Thursday, 25 October 2007

System Builder Tip: New Xeon 5000 Series Server Board SKUs for Penryn 45 nm Compatibility

Notes from the Intel Channel Conference Lite in Red Deer, Alberta. To keep things simple and easy to search for there will be several posts covering different Intel product areas.

There are some new SKUs to keep an eye out for when building that 5100 or 5300 Xeon servers (the links are to the product pages):

  • S5000PSLSASR (SAS Controller)
  • S5000PSLSATAR (SATA Controller)
  • S5000PSLROMBR (RAID on Motherboard - needs key)
  • S5000PALR (Rackmount chassis board)
  • S5000XVNSASR (Workstation board)
  • S5000VSASCSIR (Value Series Server)
  • S5000VSASASR
  • S5000VSA4DIMMR

The key thing to note is the "R" at the end of the product part number. The "R" indicates that the product will be Xeon Penryn 45nm processor capable.

This revision shift is important to note when considering a server quote for a client. If the client will be using the server box for two our three years ... or even more, then there will not be too many worries about the processor limitation built into the current S5000PSL series boards.

If, however, the client may need the option to more power and Penryn at a later date, then the "R" code becomes a factor.

Timing is also crucial. While we are seeing the new "R" code products SKUd up at the supplier level, this does not mean that the new products will be in the pipe any time soon. Keep this in mind when putting together the preliminaries on a presentation with a client or prospective client or an actual quote for product delivery.

While it is nice to be "future proofed", it would not look so good if the "future" did not arrive when we expected it to! ;)

The "R" code products are due to be released on November 11 of this year.

As with other Intel motherboard and server board product releases, keep an eye on board revision level and processor compatibility charts to verify that the processor one thinks should go with a particular board does. Every Intel motherboard product page has a link for processor compatibility.

And one more thing, check the Tested Memory List (S5000PSL list for example) and only supply and install memory on that list. Why? Because, if there is a system stability problem and one is on the phone with Intel troubleshooting it, one of the first things they will ask for is the memory part number. And, if the memory is not on it, they will recommend replacing whatever is in the server with the proper memory. We know, we found out the hard way.

Server boards are particularly finicky when it comes to memory and peripheral components plugged into them. That is why we stick with Intel server products. We have a full range of compatibility lists that help us to determine exactly what server related products and chassis will work with the server setup we are planning for a client. We are not left out in the cold hunting and pecking for the right combination. That is time consuming and can get very expensive very fast.

Intel Blog: Technology@Intel - Penryn - More Penryn info.

Philip Elder
Microsoft Small Business Specialists

*All Mac on SBS posts are posted on our in-house iMac via the Safari Web browser.

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