Space-constrained small businesses looking for their first purpose-built tower server will find a lot to like in Fujitsu’s Server Primergy TX1320 M4. Despite its ultra-compact dimensions, this little tower delivers a surprisingly powerful hardware package backed up by an impressive range of business-class features.
Designed for small offices, branch offices and retail outlets, the TX1320 M4 is the match of servers twice its size as it supports the latest Xeon E-2100 CPUs and has room for up to 64GB of fast 2,667MHz DDR4 ECC memory. You can tailor the specification to match your budget as Fujitsu offers the server with ten Xeon E-2100 CPUs and the entry model is endowed with a quad-core 3.5GHz Xeon E-2134 and a usable 16GB of memory.
You can cut costs by opting for a cheaper Pentium G5400, Celeron G4900 or Core i3-8100 CPU but we think this may be a false economy. The Xeon E-2100 CPUs don’t add much to the price, they are significantly more powerful and there is a promise of a future chipset upgrade from Intel that will boost supported memory to 128GB.
Entry systems start with a simple internal drive cage supporting two cold-swap LFF hard disks. For more capacity and improved RAID prospects, Fujitsu offers the server with a four-drive SFF cage which can be easily upgraded to eight by fitting a field-installable extension box above it.
The C246 chipset supports up to four SATA drives plus stripes and mirrors so if you go for eight bays, you’ll need to specify a RAID controller as well. Fujitsu’s affordable CP400i PCIe card supports SATA/SAS3 drives and offers RAID5 and 50 array support while the higher-end EP420i adds RAID6 and 60 arrays to the mix plus an optional battery backup pack to protect its 2GB of cache.
There’s more as the motherboard has dual embedded M.2 SSD slots with one supporting both SATA and NVMe modules. You can even install up to four high-performance NVMe SSDs although you’ll also need Fujitsu’s PRAID EP540i or EP580i dual-function RAID controller to manage them.
Hypervisor fans can also avail themselves of Fujitsu’s optional dual microSD Enterprise adapter card. Providing a hardware mirrored flash boot device for VMware ESXi, it doesn’t take up an expansion slot as it plugs directly into the motherboard’s internal USB 3 port.
Design and expansion
Build quality is beyond reproach as the server’s chassis is constructed of solid steel and this extends to the easily removable side panel. Physical security is very good as a single key lock at the front secures the side panel and both halves of the front bezel plus there’s a bracket at the rear for chaining the server to a desk with a security cable.
Removing the side panel reveals a busy but well-designed interior offering good access for upgrade and maintenance manoeuvres. Our review system came with the 8-bay SFF drive cage and P400i RAID card but even with the latter in residence, there are still three more PCIe slots available and all cards are firmly secured with a single flip-down metal bracket.
The LFF drives are fixed with two thumbscrews and easy to remove while up above is a clip-in slim-line optical drive. A spare peripheral bay next door supports an optional RDX drive for essential backup duties and this is cabled directly to the spare embedded USB 2 port right next to it.
Power, cooling and management
Base systems come with a fixed 250W PSU while higher-end models have a 450W hot-plug PSU and room for a second in the spare bay alongside. An interesting option for businesses where their utility supply is unreliable is the second PSU bay also accepts Fujitsu’s battery backup unit (FJBU) which uses the accompanying Windows management software to monitor incoming power and safely shut the system down in the event of a prolonged power outage.
Cooling is exceedingly well handled as the LFF model has one fan servicing its drive bays, the SFF model gets a clip-on fan module for each 4-bay cage and the CPU has an active heatsink with a fan cleverly sandwiched inside it. Add in Fujitsu’s Cool-Safe honeycomb air grills and you have a server that is so quiet it’ll even satisfy your inner librarian – we recorded sound levels from one meter in front of only 37.6dB.
Along with dual Gigabit ports, the server has a dedicated Gigabit port for accessing the embedded iRMC S5 remote management controller. Its web console isn’t as smart as Dell’s iDRAC9 or HPE’s iLO5, but it does present plenty of valuable information about all hardware components and historical power consumption while adding an Advanced license enables video redirection for OS remote control and virtual media services.
Small businesses with a single server will find Fujitsu’s simple System Monitor utility is perfectly adequate for general monitoring. This small footprint app provides an overview of system health along with options to view the status of individual components, send email alerts and run scheduled BIOS and driver update downloads directly from Fujitsu’s support site.
Larger organizations with multiple systems will be pleased to see Fujitsu has finally updated its free ServerView Suite software. Designed to manage and monitor servers, storage and virtualization hosts, its web console sports a much-needed graphical refresh and presents a lot more information about system hardware and configurations along with improved inventory and fault alerting facilities.
Don’t be deceived by the Server Primergy TX1320 M4 as this pint-sized server is bursting with features and delivers plenty of power for running a wide range of demanding business applications. It’s the perfect first server for small businesses with limited office space, it’s very affordable and its impressive expansion potential makes it a great long-term investment.
- Very compact design
- Excellent value
- Xeon E-2100 CPU
- Extremely quiet
- High expansion potential
- Plenty of storage choices
- Extra RAID adapter required for 8-by systems