Dell PowerEdge T20 review

More powerful and flexible than a NAS, this server is great value for small businesses that want to keep their options open

15 May 2014
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
inc VAT


3.1GHz Intel Xeon E3-1225, 4GB RAM, N/A display

We also ran the same tests on an iSCSI target that we created on the server and mounted on a remote client as though it was a local disk. While SMB directories can be shared by multiple users, an iSCSI target can only be mounted by a single PC. Performance here is more dependent on the client machine's processor power, which is an advantage if you're using an underpowered NAS, but in this instance produced a slower large file average of 104.2MB/s, and a small file average of 45.7MB/s. During a 5GB file transfer, we got a sustained write speed of 113MB/s, pushing the in-practice limits of our Gigabit Ethernet network's capabilities and saturating the server’s network port.

We've also introduced a multiple-access SMB transfer test, in which three client machines simultaneously perform read/write read operations on the server, and we measure the performance of one of them. In our large file tests, we got an average throughput of 39.8MB/s, while our small files wrote at 17.5MB/s and read at 23.43MB/s for an average of 20.47MB/s.

We also ran our standard application benchmarks, which primarily test the capabilities of the Xeon E3-1225 processor when it comes with single-threaded tasks. We got an overall score of 88, which indicates that this CPU is capable of far more processor-intensive tasks than simple storage. Add a bit of extra RAM, and it's well equipped for use as a database server, even if you're working with relatively large data sets.


Priced at just £444 excluding VAT, the PowerEdge T20 is compares well to the price of many business-oriented four-bay NAS devices. It's also far more versatile, scalable and powerful. You'll need to spend a bit longer configuring it than you would a NAS, but even if you just want to use it as a networked storage device, a small server like this is good value and destined to have a long lifespan. If you anticipate wanting a mail, database or telephony server in the future, then the ease of upgrading hardware and installing applications makes this small server an obvious Business Buy.

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