Since their announcement about five months ago, I’ve eagerly awaited Dell’s first AMD-Opteron-based servers. The PowerEdge 6950 was released today. I’m quite familiar with HP’s ProLiant DL585 boxes; I think they’ve been the best VMware ESX hosts on the market for the last few years. With the PE6950 release I compared its specs to HP’s latest DL585, the G2. Beyond the badges and management software/interfaces, here are the major differences I see:

  • The PE6850 utilizes Broadcom chipsets; the DL585 G2 uses nVidia plus AMD. Until I saw the Dell specs, I wasn’t even aware Broadcom made system chipsets. Their ServerWorks division does; perhaps it’s the first time system chipsets have been marketed as Broadcom since the acquisition. I know nVidia’s been making AMD system chipsets for some time. Advantage: HP.
  • The DL585 G2 offers one more PCIe x8 slot than the PE6950 and two PCI-X slots that aren’t present in the Dell. Advantage: HP.
  • A sweet config with four 2.6GHz processors, 32GB of RAM (16 x 2GB DIMMs), a RAID controller with four 72GB drives, and a DVD-ROM drive lists for $22,560 from Dell, and $23,624 from HP. Advantage: Dell.
  • This is Dell’s first enterprise product with Opteron processors; HP’s been doing Opteron for a few years now. Advantage: HP.