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Jul 31, 2021
July 30, 2021 After the recent mini-review of the HPE 2U server with the very powerful AMD EPYC 7742, I have prepared a test of a more affordable and economical server. Again, I would like to remind you that servers are usually tailored to customers, and the piece tested today is no exception. Different server configurations can vary diametrically in performance, equipment, and price. Today’s piece comes from Abacus, where I like to buy servers. The name a-1610F comes from their configurator, it is not the official name used by Supermicro. H12W then indicates the used motherboard Supermicro H12SSW-iN, resp. it primarily means a number of boards supporting AMD server processors based on the Zen2 architecture (and it also supports PCIe Gen4), ie AMD EPYC codenamed Rome (the first generation bears the Naples designation and the third generation Milan). The server takes up 1U rack positions, 1U servers are quite common as they offer high computing density, we can install up to two 64C / 128T AMD EPYC processors, however, in today’s piece there is only a single socket motherboard, which limits us to a maximum of one 64C / 128T processor . Supermicro has updated the chassis for its 1U servers, changed the power buttons, status LEDs and drawers to 2.5 “disks. In the right front of the server we find two front USB-A 5Gb / s ports, a UID button, a power button and several status LEDs, we have an LED indicating that the server is switched on, disk activity, LEDs for network cards integrated on the board and an LED indicating an error, and a display showing errors or POST codes. The tested chassis has a total of ten hot-swap positions on 2.5 “SATA / SAS disks, with the appropriate reduction it is possible to fit NVMe SSD. The positive is that Supermicro installs standard drawers into which we can screw the disks and are not plastic blanks, thanks to this, the server has a good air flow at the front, as it does not interfere with any front and large pieces of plastic. The tested configuration has a total of six Samsung PM883 480GB SATA 6Gb / s disks, through which RAID5 is configured, which gives us a total capacity of 2.4 TB. In the back of the server we find the remaining port equipment. Two 600W power supplies live in the left part, for the tested configuration it is a sufficient power supply, in the maximum load the server consumes less than 250 watts. Directly on the motherboard we find in the back a serial port, four USB-A 5Gb / s ports, RJ45 connected to ASPEED AST2500 IPMI / BMC, two gigabit RJ45 ports connected to Broadcom BCM5720 dual-port network card, 15-pin D-Sub connected to the ASPEED AST2500 2D display and that’s it. The port equipment may vary depending on the motherboard used, the most common change being a board that has two 10GbE ports directly on it instead of two gigabits. The server has a total of three PCIe slots, all three provide a maximum of sixteen fourth generation PCIe lines, as EPYCs have a total of 128. Two slots are full height and we can install very long single-slot graphics cards, the third slot is only low -profile. The upper cover of the server holds one rear screw in place, just unscrew it and we get a view inside the server. The motherboard is relatively small compared to dual-socket servers, in the front there is a backplane, which is connected to an additional hardware disk controller or directly to the board with the help of miniSAS cables, then provides SAS / SATA or NVMe connectivity. In our case, two miniSAS cables lead to the PCIe x8 Gen3 LSI 9271-8i controller, which does not have a battery because it does not fit in the server, RAID5 has the write cache on the card turned off, but this is not a problem as the server will not perform any complex operations on disks and the performance of this RAID5 corresponds to an NVMe SSD. Cooling is provided by a total of six fans, which can be easily replaced, it is basically two coupled fans in one 40x40x56 piece, the model designation is GFB0412SHS-C and the manufacturer is Delta Electronics. The maximum consumption of the fans is 12 Watts for each pair, the maximum noise is 62.5 dBA and it rotates at a maximum of 13,900 rpm, during my testing they ranged from 4000-7000 RPM. I was interested in the location of the power supply cascade of the processor on the front part of the board and also the presence of a heatsink, so this heatsink comes into contact with cold air first and there is no danger of VRM overheating. The processor heatsink is more or less a standard 1U heatsink with a copper base, next to which we find a total of eight slots, in which we can fit up to 2TB of DDR4-3200 Registered ECC memory, provided we use 256GB modules. Today’s configuration is a bit more conservative, there are four 8GB DDR4-3200 Registered ECC modules from Kingston, so the processor has at least a four-channel RAM connection. In addition to various miniSAS, SATA and USB, the board itself will also offer two M.2 22110 ports for NVMe disks, we can install two, however AMD does not support pseudo hardware RAID, so it will be necessary to make some SW RAID in Linux or leave the disks as standalone. The server has two PCIe trees, one provides sixteen PCIe Gen4 lines to the low-profile slot, the other leads from the board thirty-two Gen4 lines to two x16 Gen4 slots, where we can install other PCIe cards. Longer graphics cards such as the AMD Radeon Pro W5500 or NVIDIA Quadro RTX 4000 will also fit into the server without any problems. I would rather not recommend a dual-slot, as the fan will be very just above the bottom of the cabinet. The NVIDIA Quadro P1000 graphics card in a low-profile design is located in the second tree, it was imported from Germany and the manufacturer is surprisingly Fujista Siemens, as the P1000 was unavailable from PNY in the Czech Republic. The Quadro P1000 is a low-profile Pascal card with 640 GPU shaders and 4GB of GDDR5 5GHz memory on a 128-bit bus, the TDP card is reportedly 45 Watts. The second PCIe card, which easily sniffs out, consumes only four PCIe lines, and I’ll just reveal that the coaxial connectors have something to do with SDI. I easily forgot about the used processor, the server is equipped with an affordable and relatively economical AMD EPYC 7282, which is a sixteen-core with TDP 120W, of course supports everything other EPYCs, provides up to 128 PCIe Gen4 lines, has an eight-channel memory controller and so on. The processor is very similar in configuration to the desktop Ryzen 9 3950X, as it has only two active CCDs, two CCXs are active in each and therefore it has only 64MB of L3 cache. The basic frequency of the processor is 2.8GHz, while the non-core boost climbs to a maximum frequency of 3.2GHz. If we use all the cores, the frequency bounces in the range of 3-3.1GHz. This processor will be the slowest of all tested so far, because apart from the lower number of cores, it does not reach too high frequencies and has RAM on only four channels. I find it interesting to test such “weaker” hardware, as I spent some time testing older Intel Xeons of the Ivy Bridge-E, Haswell-E and Broadwell-E generations. In addition, not all tasks require a very powerful processor, I also solved servers with eight-core EPYCs 7232P or 7252 (depending on what was in stock). The operating system was Windows Server 2019 Standard, for testing in Linux I used Ubuntu 20.10, which I booted from an external NVMe SSD connected via USB-C. For NVIDIA Quadro P1000 graphics, I installed the Quadro driver 462.31, at the time of testing it was the latest stable version for “Enterprise”. Avago MegaRAID Storage Manager I will quickly show the interface to the RAID card for Windows, we can of course configure RAID in the UEFI server, but it is useful to have some management options in the OS as well. The RAID card was originally developed by LSI, but in 2014 it was bought by Avcom, which belongs to Broadcom, so technically all their newer controllers are more or less from Broadcom’s workshops. The tested card is slightly older in business, but it is quite sufficient for the given purpose. However, the management program is a bit more muscular, however, we can configure everything we need here. BMC and IPMI 2.0 – remote administration Of course, the board also has IPMI thanks to the ASPEED AST2500 for remote management, whoever has seen such an interface knows almost everyone. The logic of the control is very similar, there was a slight resampling on newer boards, the tested server has a slightly older version. Personally, I’m glad that manufacturers are abandoning JAVA applets for KVM consoles, newer HTML5 KVM consoles are much better and there is no need to deal with slightly obscure Java and unsigned JAVA applets, which is a problem especially with older servers, regardless of Oracle’s licensing policy in relation to Java Runtime. So I would recommend using the rather open source Java ala AdoptOpenJDK, if you are a company and do not want to pay Oracle for the runtime of their Java.
ASPEED Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Where is ASPEED's headquarters?
ASPEED's headquarters is located at New York.
What is ASPEED's latest funding round?
ASPEED's latest funding round is Other Investors.
Who are the investors of ASPEED?
Investors of ASPEED include Castile Ventures.
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