HP ProLiant ML350 G5

Hewlett Packard's HP ProLiant ML350 G5 is a decent, basic system that can grow to fit any network administrator's Web server needs.

GCN

HEWLETT-PACKARD'S PROLIANT ML350 G5 is a decent computer at a decent price. It comes in a minitower configuration ' 23.5 inches by 18.5 inches by 10.5 inches ' with feet that extend from the sides for stability, which can be a good thing in busy network rooms.

[IMGCAP(1)]The ProLiant has a single hot-swappable power supply, and there is space for a second one if you need redundancy. It's two 500G Serial Advanced Technology Attachment drives are in a RAID 1 (mirrored) configuration, yielding 500G of hard drive space total. There are four more unused bays to increase this space, but any drives smaller than 500G will have to be mirrored separately.

The unit has four 1G memory modules taking up four of the eight available slots, so you can have a total of 20G without replacement. We found more peripheral slots in the ProLiant than in any other server in the review. There are three PCI Express x8 slots, two 64-bit/100 MHz PCI-X slots, and even one 64-bit/133 MHz PCI-X slot. These of course all allow for fullsized cards. This should be more than enough room for expansion no matter which direction a network administrator decides to take it.

One thing that concerned us was HP's decision to put only four regularstrength fans inside the ProLiant ' one on each processor heat sink, and two on the back wall of the casing. This was sufficient to cool the server during our tests, but we think an administrator might run into trouble in a crowded network room, especially if a number of peripheral cards are installed.

One of HP's great strengths is the amount of management hardware and software that comes with its computers. Although it only has one Gigabit Ethernet port, it has an HP Integrated Lights Out port, which is used for remote management over IP. The unit also has software for setting up the server, monitoring power consumption and automated recovery. When you run into trouble, this HP is ready.

The ProLiant scored only 1,878 in our benchmark test, the lowest in the review. The two Intel Xeon Quad-Core E5420 processors are slightly slower than those in the other servers. It also was in the bottom half in our file transfer tests, achieving 31.02 megabits/sec for files moved to the server and 43.45 megabits/sec for transfers the other way around.

Web page loads did not fare much better, taking 11.5 seconds to load from inside the network, and 1 minute, 27 seconds from an external computer. These are not terrible times, but they were slower than most of the other servers in the review.

HP sells the ProLiant ML350 G5 for $4,015, a good price. For this money, you get a decent, basic system that can grow to fit any network administrator's Web server needs.

Hewlett-Packard, (800) 888-0262, www.hp.com

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