One of the most common questions I read on various forums is “How loud is an R710 compared to [insert server model here]?” The R710 is falling in price and is, what I would consider, one of the best values for a homelab or test environment right now because of the CPU and RAM capacity that it can provide. When an R710 can hold 24 vCPU and 288GB of RAM compared to a Dell 2950 III with 8 vCPU and 64GB of RAM it’s a no-brainer that the R710 is a clear choice if you want capacity. You won’t be buying a 24 vCPU and 288GB model for the same price as your average 2950 III, but the point is that the entry point of an R710 and 2950III are not too far off now. Cruising eBay shows a bunch of R710’s (with modest specifications) for $320 – $380 “Buy It Now” with more deals on auctions.
With that said, anyone who has a 2950 or 1950 will attest that they’re pretty noisy and most certainly cannot be kept in a hall closet some place. Dell made a significant attempt to quiet down the R710 (and use less power/make less heat) when it was introduced. But, is it that much better? Check out this video to see:
Sorry for the long video – I am chatty! The cliffnotes are that the R710 is definitely quieter than the 2950 and might even be quiet enough to put in an office or closet with one major caveat – the temperature of the room, or more appropriately, the ambient system board temperature must remain in the 70 – 73 degF region or the fans will come up to speed and make a lot of noise. I think a system board temp of 75 -76 degF (24-25 degC) is about the maximum I’d want to run in order to consider the fans quiet and the system not offensive. I know there’s know decibel meter here, and I apologize for that, but I doubt many people can relate to decibels directly anyway. Hand down, though, the R710 has more capacity and produces way less noise than the 2950 but do be warned that if you get the ambient temperature of the system board up to 86-87 degF (30-31 degC) the fans will ramp up to about 8,000 RPM and it’s about as loud as a Dell 2950.
Thanks for reading/watching! Hope you guys find this useful!