Gateway 9510 SCSI review: Gateway 9510 SCSI

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The Good Lots of powerful components available; extremely expandable; long warranty.

The Bad Fully loaded configurations are very expensive; giant case requires tools to open; lacks extra help for setting up operating system; loud fan.

The Bottom Line The Gateway 9510 is an exceptionally robust and configurable server--with an especially high price tag to match.

6.9 Overall
  • Design 6
  • Features 7
  • Performance 7

Gateway 9510 SCSI

The Gateway 9510 is definitely not your grandma's server. This massive machine supports some of the most powerful server hardware available, including dual Intel Xeon processors and up to 10 hot-swappable SCSI hard drives. It also ships with an extensive software-management program that lets you monitor and upgrade all of the systems on your network. However, the 9510 stops short of offering extra help on the complex topic of configuring your operating system--and fully loaded versions cost well over 10 grand. For these reasons, the Gateway 9510 is best suited for large businesses with both the knowledgeable IT staff and the cash to cover it.

While no server is simple to set up, the Gateway 9510 is a bit more difficult than scaled-down small-business servers such as the HP ProLiant ML310 G2, which offers a proprietary configuration wizard on top of those included in the operating system you select for the system. With the 9510, you're at the mercy of the help provided by your operating system, which will likely be a variant of Microsoft's Windows Server 2003. Microsoft does what it can to make its wizards easy to comprehend, but you'll still need a solid grasp of computer and networking terms before you tackle the setup and configuration process.

After you make it through the OS setup, you're rewarded with the comparatively easy installation of Gateway's all-encompassing Systems Manager program. The software includes two control consoles: an Administrator console that runs on the 9510 itself and lets you monitor all of the systems on your network, and a Server console that you can install on individual workstations to monitor their activities. These two windows give you a lot of information about your equipment, such as when one of your systems is about to overheat, has an imminent power failure, or has a component that's threatening to crash. The Administrator console also lets you remotely install new programs and BIOS updates on all of your network systems, eliminating the need to have someone physically at each computer in order to upgrade it. If your network already includes other non-Gateway servers with their own management consoles, such as IBM's Tivoli or HP's OpenView, you can access those consoles via Gateway's Administrator window as well. The Administrator and Server consoles each have their own long, helpful user guides, though we wish the guides included screenshots of the console windows.

The Gateway 9510 measures 28 inches long, 17 inches high, and 8.6 inches wide. To get a sense of how substantial this is compared to the average tower-style computer, consider that the server's setup poster advises you to "use two people or a lifting device" when unpacking it. The 9510's sober all-black color makes it appear that much more daunting, and its very loud fans sound not unlike a jet engine when it initially spins up. All of these things considered, you should ideally plan to hide the 9510 inside a server closet.

Whereas you can simply twist out some servers' case screws with your fingers, you need a Phillips-head screwdriver to remove the 9510's side panel. Once you're inside, key features, including three PCI-X slots, two PCI Express slots, eight DIMM slots, and up to two hot-swappable fans, are within easy reach for upgrades. You can rely on the component map stuck to the inner panel to identify each of these features and more. Other 9510 components can be accessed by opening the front bezel; these include a whopping 10 hot-swappable bays that accommodate 6 SATA or 10 SCSI hard drives, as well as 2 free bays for more optical drives.

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