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Xi NetRAIDer 1100X
(using SuperMicro S2DGE motherboard)
netraider.jpg (15175 bytes)
PCWorld September:  "First Place in overall performance"

Pro: Rugged Construction, Fast Performance

The NetRAIDer is driven by dual PIII-550 Xeons and an AMI three-channel RAID controller with 64MB of cache. The test results confirm the value of those components: The Xi placed first in the SQL test in a close finish, and third in the network service test, trailing the first-place SAG by about 7 percent. But the Xi really distinguished itself in the file service test, beating out its nearest competitor by more than 20 percent and propelling itself into first place in overall performance.

Open the two massive side-by-side front doors and you'll find ten 5.25-inch drive bays; in our unit, however, only three bays contained backplane drive connectors. For each drive you add, you must also install a $63 backplane unit. The Xi has only two open PCI slots (plus two ISA slots).

The three 9GB drives ride in fan-cooled carriers that have handles and use the same effective key-lock mechanism we found on the SAG. Each individual carrier shows power and drive activity. A CD-ROM drive and a floppy drive occupy two of the four 5.25-inch bays housed on the left side of the unit.

Removing the 1100X NetRAIDer's side panels is technically tool free, but you do need the system's key to take off and replace the panels. That's a good security feature if you can't keep the server locked away in a secure closet or cage. Behind the left panel you'll find plenty of room to upgrade or replace the two processor modules, memory modules, cooling fans, and expansion cards. Removing the right panel gives you wide-open access to the rear of the drive cage for servicing the hot-swappable drives. Our evaluation system came equipped with two hot-swappable power supplies, the maximum number available.

Even at $9997, the Xi comes without any server management software, though it does have LANDesk Client Manager for accessing clients attached to the server. Documentation is sparse, and you're pretty much on your own when it comes to setup. But if you can overlook those shortcomings, this server is a hot performer in almost any setting. 

SQL Database Test
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File Service Test
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