Everything Homelab Node Goes 1U Rackmount Qotom Review

19
Qotom 1U C3758R Front Angle
Qotom 1U C3758R Front Angle

A few months ago, we looked at the Everything Fanless Home Server Firewall Router and NAS Appliance. Now, we have the 1U version of that machine. There is a lot of what we have seen previously, but the execution of the 1U version was better than we thought it would be. An 8-core CPU, 4x 10GbE, 2.5GbE, and more, all in a 1U form factor.

Qotom 1U Rackmount Overview

Of course, we have a video for this one going into a few more angles.

As always, we suggest watching this in its own browser, tab, or app for the best viewing experience. If this in many ways looks familiar, it is very fair to think about it as a 1U version of the system we reviewed earlier this year with a small fan and an internal power supply. You can learn more about that unit here:

We purchased the Intel Atom C3758R version of this unit for $292 on AliExpress. At the time this review is going live, there is a C3558 version for $278 barebones. We would highly suggest the $14 upgrade for twice the cores.

There are also options for a SSD and RAM to be provided so even with 32GB of RAM and a 512GB NVMe SSD, the cost is around $395. We also purchased a number of upgrades to go along with this unit such as additional cables, external storage, and so forth that we will discuss near the end of this review. Let us get to the hardware.

Qotom 1U C3758R Pair In Short Rack 2
Qotom 1U C3758R Pair In Short Rack 2

If you want to check current pricing here is the 1U AliExpress (Affiliate Link) and the Amazon (Affiliate Link) to the listings for this unit. Note that there are various configuration options to be sure to look at those before adding a unit to your cart.

Qotom 1U Rackmount External Hardware Overview

The system is a very short-depth 1U server. We took photos without rack ears just to save on horizontal space, but you can see this installed in a rack in the video linked above.

Qotom 1U C3758R Front
Qotom 1U C3758R Front

If the ports look somewhat familiar, here is the fanless version. The motherboard inside is essentially flipped upside down in the 1U version.

Qotom C3758 C3758R Fanless Rear 1
Qotom C3758 C3758R Fanless Rear 1

Talking about ports for a moment, we get the 12V DC input, a serial console port, and two USB Type-A ports. We then get five 2.5GbE ports that were Intel i226-V in our system. The standout feature is really the four SFP+ 10GbE ports based on the Intel X553 NICs built into the SoC.

Qotom 1U C3758R Front Ports
Qotom 1U C3758R Front Ports

Something a bit strange about this is the labeling of the ports. Port 5 seems to be labeled correctly. The 2.5GbE ports and SFP+ ports are enumerated in opposite directions. It might be worth labeling these yourself.

There are two unpopulated holes in the chassis for WiFi or LTE/5G antennas. It would have been nice if these had covers on them.

Qotom 1U C3758R SFP Ports And Wireless Holes
Qotom 1U C3758R SFP Ports And Wireless Holes

On the side we get holes on the front and rear for mounting. We are calling the network port side the front, but one could turn this around.

Qotom 1U C3758R Side 1
Qotom 1U C3758R Side 1

Both sides of the chassis feature vents.

Qotom 1U C3758R Side 2
Qotom 1U C3758R Side 2

The rear has a few features that stand out.

Qotom 1U C3758R Rear
Qotom 1U C3758R Rear

On the right side, we get a power button, status LEDs, and then a VGA port. This system has basic video output for management, but it is not something to play videos or games on.

Qotom 1U C3758R Rear Ports
Qotom 1U C3758R Rear Ports

Next, there is a SIM card slot that we did not use, but it is for WWAN deployments. There is a USB Type-C slot that varies in speed from USB 2 to USB 3 based on the CPU SKU level you get.

Qotom 1U C3758R Rear SFF 8087
Qotom 1U C3758R Rear SFF 8087

Then there is the SFF-8087 port. We commonly see SFF-8087 as internal SAS connections. Here, it is being used as an external SATA connection with four SATA lanes. There are inexpensive SFF-8087 to SFF-8088 cables, but if you purchase an external drive array, you will want it to be a SATA array, not a SAS expander array. We will go into this a bit more in our customization section later in this review.

Qotom 1U C3758R Rear Power Input
Qotom 1U C3758R Rear Power Input

There is an AC plug, which is different for one of these low-power systems. We were a bit worried about what we might find in terms of a PSU after seeing low-cost 2.5GbE switches. We will show what we found in our internal overview next.

Qotom 1U C3758R Bottom
Qotom 1U C3758R Bottom

The bottom of the unit shows the small fan cutout for the CPU cooling.

Next, let us get inside the system.

19 COMMENTS

  1. That’s an amazing configuration, and the ECC option was critical to include IMO. I have three Supermicro boxes configured as a 3-node cluster. Each include multiple SFP+ and Intel i350 ports and support ECC. I upgraded all of them with 128GB RAM, three NVMe’s, and a dual port 25GbE Mellanox card.

    This is why I think the MINISFORUM MS-01 falls short of practical deployments in a homelab, because without ECC support, the true potential cannot be realized. The MS-01 is a great machine, but was a missed opportunity—hopefully the MS-02 includes ECC.

  2. Thanks for the great job STH team is doing
    As you mentioned the NVMe area gets really hot that is why it is important to use low performance NVMe to manage heat. In my Mini PC I mounted 3x80mm FANs & replaced the bottom cover with a mesh just to keep that area relatively cold. I think this 1U setup it is great but it would be better if they made a mesh to mount tow fans instead of the WiFi antenna holes

    Again thanks a million

  3. My fanless non-rackmount model came with a Channel Well Technology (CWT) PSU, so even those seemingly no longer come with no-name PSUs, at least not all the time.

  4. My only problem with this is that the new E-cores are twice as fast as these. It’s a hard value prop when the N305 is more than twice as fast and uses less power. It feels like there will imminently be a new C-series line and that any C3000 series is already obsolete.

    Granted, that’s somewhat hyperbolic, I do understand the differences between the N305 and the Cx000 atom lines (I have 3x C3758 systems in my lab today).

    But I hope you see my point; the C3000 series is getting quite old to be part of greenfield deployments. Unless you need the crypto throughput or >2.5G networking, I’d add an N305-based system to my lab before any C3000-based systems.

  5. How is the power supply connected to the motherboard? All the pictures show the wires disappearing under the board, but I do not see any connector in the picture of the underside.

  6. I have the fanless version, installed 32GB ECC RAM and also noticed the long boot time. I’m wondering if they ever disabled a lot of extra memory training/margining tests that developers usually use before release. It doesn’t hurt to have all that extra training enabled, but the value is debatable in a production system.

  7. I would like to see also Wireguard perfomance tests.
    To my knowledge it relies purely on CPU power so that would be a nice datapoint.

  8. Why would you have a fan on the bottom of a rack mount unit? It will be blocked by whatever is mounted below.

  9. How about putting a m2 to sff8087 adapter in there as well? Then you could connect to that 8 drive external housing and access all drives

  10. Has anyone installed VyOS or what do you use for routing on these? Also some people complained about the CPU being slow compared to other options… are any of these other options available in rackmount or with 10GbE?

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