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Review: SuperServer Gets A Xeon v3 Refresh

For transaction processing and data transfer, the configurable two-socket SuperServer outperforms many in its class.

Supermicro might not be artful when it comes to naming its products, but for performance, design and build, the company gets an A+. For review, the San Jose, Calif.-based system builder sent the CRN Test Center a SuperServer SYS-2082U-TR4+, which rolled through benchmarks more easily than its name rolls off the tongue. Designed for the small and midsize businesses, the TR4 is one of a series of SuperServers released or updated late last year in line with Intel's launch of the Xeon E5-2600 v3 series of high-core-density processors.

Built around the X10DRU-i+ motherboard, this 2U machine has two LGA 2011 sockets, each populated with Intel Xeon E5-2697 v3 14-core, 28-thread processors running at 2.6GHz. Also on board was the Intel C612 Express chipset and 64 GB of DDR4 2,133MHz memory, a small fraction of the 1.5 TB maximum that its 24 DIMM slots can accommodate. To reach that maximum, the system requires two processors, each of which supports up to 768 GB of memory in as many as four channels and at speeds as high as 2,133MHz. The tested unit also delivered four Gigabit Ethernet interfaces plus a dedicated RJ-45 port for out-of-band management.

[Related: Supermicro's Xeon V2-Based System Holds Its Own]

The system can drive as many as 10 SATA3 spinning or solid-state drives at 6 Gbps and supports RAID 0, 1, 5 and 10. The CSE-219UAC-R1K02 chassis can accept as many as 24 hot-swap 2.5-inch drives plus one riser card on its left and right sides for numerous custom options. An optional storage card is required to control more than 10 drives. All I/O takes place at the rear panel, which also is home to a VGA monitor output, two USB 2.0 ports and two 1,000-watt hot-swap power supplies. The system arrived with five 300-GB SAS drives controlled by an LSI MegaRAID card and configured as a RAID 5 array. Testers installed Windows Server 2012 Datacenter 64-bit, which ran out of the gate and required no special drivers.

The first performance tests were conducted using IOmeter, which was configured to simulate large- and small-packet traffic from one, three and five simulated workers across one and two of the server's network interfaces. Its best transactional rate came with three clients moving small (512-byte) packets. Here the system delivered a maximum sustained transaction rate of 2.01 million I/Os per second (IOps) while transferring data at a rate of about 967 MBps. This is the fastest transaction rate we've seen in the Test Center. Switching to 32 KB packets, the system delivered its maximum sustained data transfer rate of 2,038 MBps from a single simulated client, also an impressive number. The same test with three workers yielded 1,907 MBps and with five workers a rate of 1,670 MBps. Test results were similar when testing with two NICs. All tests involved sequential reads.

Geekbench testing was next. The SuperServer's 28 cores precluded us from using Geekbench 2.4, which supports only 16. But we're a curious bunch, so we ran it anyway. The SuperServer found itself in 11th place on CRN's List of the 10 Fastest Servers in terms of (Geekbench 2.4, anyway). Next we fired up Geekbench 3.0, which reported a high score of 23,885. Version v3.x scores aren't comparable to those of 2.x, so we'll run both until we have a new top 10 using the newer benchmark.

In terms of serviceability, the top panel of Supermicro's 2U chassis is removed with two push-buttons, which exposes all system components. Air from its four fans is drawn in through the front drive bays and routed over the processors and memory banks by a thin plastic cowl that sits loosely on top. Fans pop out individually from proprietary assemblies and blind-connect downward with a decisive click. Removing one fan causes the remaining three to speed up dramatically, turning the otherwise quiet server into a 97-decibel jet engine. The motherboard and slot-based components are affixed with screws.

Base list pricing of the SuperServer SYS-2082U-TR4+ starts at $1,755. The tested unit as configured would list for $9,199. For VARs seeking a fast, flexible system that's easy on the budget, the CRN Test Center recommends the 2082U-TR4+ from Supermicro.


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