Dell 14th Gen vs. 13th Gen Servers – What’s Changed and What’s the Same
To the delight of our customers, TechMikeNY has started receiving 14th Gen PowerEdge servers (i.e., R440, R640, R740, etc.) in our refurbishing pipeline.
It’s always exciting for us to start working on a new generation of Enterprise servers. We thought it would be helpful to highlight what is different – and what is the same – both front & center and under the hood when it comes to Dell PowerEdge Servers.
What Is the Same
RAID Controllers. We were relieved when Dell discontinued the 12th Gen Raid controllers that relied on the brittle blue clips. We are also happy to report that most 13th Gen compatible RAID controllers will work in 14th Gen Dell servers – both PCIe and mini/PERC (the one exception being the PERC H740P models which will not work in 13th Gen machines).
This compatibility between 13th and 14th RAID cards also extends to the controller’s battery.
For a complete list of compatibility for Dell RAID controllers, consult our TechMike’s Dell PowerEdge RAID Card (PERC) Guide blog post. You’ll find a summary of the terminology of RAID controller nomenclature, as well as a full matrix on compatibility with virtually all Dell RAID controllers from 11th to 14th Gen servers.
Backplane cables. Much of the under-the-hood architecture is the same between the 13th and 14th gen Dell servers, specifically when it comes to backplane cables. Both 13th and 14th Gen take backplane cable P/N SFF-8643. In other words, if you are looking to move drives from a 13th Gen Dell server to a 14th Gen, and you happen not to have drives for the 14th Gen, you can use the cables from the 13th Gen!
NDC’s/Daughter Cards. Most Dell 14th Gen NDC’s are backward compatible with 13th gen servers and vice versa. But if you are ever unsure, you can confirm compatibility with one of our reps.
iDRAC and Quick Sync Bezel. Dell’s remote management tool, iDRAC, is now at version 9 with 14th Gen Dell servers. iDRAC 9 introduces some significant new features, summed up in Dell’s Comparison Matrix for iDRAC 8 vs. iDRAC 9.
In addition to iDRAC, Dell made significant changes from their initial Quick Sync bezel feature from the 13th Gen servers. Dell 13th Gen servers (RX30) can run the original incarnation of the Quick Sync tool; Dell 14th Gen servers (RX40) run Quick Sync 2.
Quick Sync 2 offers more functionality than the previous version, specifically more wireless connectivity options and other added features. You can read Dell’s Technical White Paper on Quick Sync 2 here.
The bottom line: Quick Sync 2 bezels will NOT work on a Dell 13th Gen server (and vice versa: 13th Gen/Quick Sync ‘1’ will not work on 14th Gen machines).
RAM. Dell increased the RAM speed that their 14th Gen servers can take, up to 2933MT. In addition, RAM channels have expanded to six (from four in 13th Gen servers and three in 12th Gen models).
Processors. Dell 14th Gen Servers take ONLY Intel Gold, Silver, and Platinum processors.
As for AMD-based PowerEdge servers, we get very few through our refurbished pipeline. However, you can use this resource from Dell, which provides a list of Dell EMC PowerEdge models with their generation and corresponding processor.
Hard Drives and Chassis. In their 14th Gen models, Dell has expanded the capacity for their servers to take NVMe drives (certain 13th Gen servers did have the ability to have NVMe drives; however, they only worked at reduced speeds).
The amount of NVMe drive slots varies from model to model (and even chassis to chassis within the same model). You can view here Dell’s guide for NVMe and I/O Topologies for Dell Servers – this handy reference summarizes model by model the interconnect topology for NVMe drives.