The PowerEdge R720 is Dell’s 2U mainstream server option for the 12th generation of servers and comes with many big advancements over the 11th generation R710. For starting, it is the first Dell server that supports Intel’s E5-26xx v1/v2 processors. This means you may utilize up to two 12 core processors; in other words, upwards of 48 threads depending on configuration.
Coming along with support for these processors is quad channel memory with 12 DIMM slots per processor, which is 3 more DIMM slots per processor when compared to the Dell R710. The increased amount of DIMM slots along with support for LR(Load Reduced) memory means you can utilize up to 1.5TB of ram when fully loaded with 24 64GB LRDIMMs.
Dell has also upped their game when it comes to expandability on this generation server. Rather than onboard NIC ports, the Dell 12th generation servers introduces daughter cards, which can be swapped out depending on your networking requirements. The R720 also makes excellent use of its 2U footprint allowing for up to 7 PCI cards in a dual processor configuration compared to 4 PCI cards in an 11th generation R710.
It wasn’t just the internals that Dell improved on the R720 either, they have upped their storage as well. The Perc H310 and H710 introduce improved performance over the H300 and H700 from the 11th generation. The system supports 6 LFF drives or 16 SFF drives. This change means you may utilize much more space locally on the system. Along with the standard R720 there is also an XD version which allows for up to 12 LFF drives or 24 SFF drives and 2 rear SFF drives. However, you do lose the internal DVD drive and LCD display for the system when using this configuration as the entire front is utilized for drive space.
Lastly, the R720 introduced the idrac7. The idrac7 adds a number of features into the lifecycle controller and was also switched to a license model from a hardware model for the Enterprise features. This change means you need to get an idrac license file to import onto the server to unlock Enterprise functionality.