Everything Homelab Node Goes 1U Rackmount Qotom Review

19

Qotom 1U Rackmount Internal Hardware Overview

Inside the 1U, there is a lot of space, and airflow is not tremendous on the top side, with the CPU cooler being on the bottom of the motherboard. Even though this system has one fan we would still suggest using lower-power components inside. Cooling was not an issue for us, but we also used low-power components after seeing this.

Qotom 1U C3758R Internal Overview
Qotom 1U C3758R Internal Overview

While we usually start with the motherboard, this time, the big feature is the power supply. Instead of a questionable unit from a no-name brand, we get a Mean Well LRS-50-12 power supply. Mean Well is a fairly well-known brand, and it is one of the power supply vendors that folks use to replace internal and external power supplies in some of these low-cost systems when they want an upgrade. These are not expensive power supplies, but it was great to see it here.

Qotom 1U C3758R Internal Mean Well LRS 50 12 PSU
Qotom 1U C3758R Internal Mean Well LRS 50 12 PSU

In the center, there are mounting holes for a 2.5″ drive and then a SATA data and power connector to connect the drive. Since we had two units, we had a second cable and used that to connect a second drive using Velcro inside the chassis, and it worked.

Qotom 1U C3758R SATA Data And Power Cable
Qotom 1U C3758R SATA Data And Power Cable

Here is the motherboard stripped of components.

Qotom 1U C3758R Internal Motherboard
Qotom 1U C3758R Internal Motherboard

This is the same motherboard that we saw in the fanless units with a few smaller manufacturing changes like the QR codes versus the barcodes for MAC address stickers. Since we got the 1U systems later, we also have things like the C3758R and Intel i226 NICs in here.

Qotom C3758 C3758R Fanless Internal Barebones
Qotom C3758 C3758R Fanless Internal Barebones

Here is the backside of what one of these motherboards looks like.

Qotom MB4C911 0311 Intel Atom C3558R Motherboard CPU Side
Qotom MB4C911 0311 Intel Atom C3558R Motherboard CPU Side

For memory, we get two DDR4 SODIMM slots. If you ask, there are a few ECC options available from Qotom at a price premium.

Qotom 1U C3758R Internal DDR4 Memory
Qotom 1U C3758R Internal DDR4 Memory

Something that is worth noting is that if you add 64GB of memory, the boot time on the first boot takes several minutes. If you then subsequently boot it, the boot process will take around a minute. If you instead use something like 2x 8GB for 16GB, the boot time may take half the time. In a firewall, that can be a big deal, so we suggest right-sizing the memory and not just installing 64GB because you can. We also tested and this is working in dual channel mode.

Qotom Intel Atom C3758R 1U Dual Channel Check
Qotom Intel Atom C3758R 1U Dual Channel Check

Next to that, there are two M.2 2280 (80mm) slots for NVMe storage. The slots are only PCIe Gen3 x2, so our advice is that if you purchase something like a barebones version of this, get a low-power PCIe Gen3 drive like the SK Hynix Gold P31 or something with even less power instead of the fastest drive you can find.

Qotom 1U C3758R Internal M.2 Slots
Qotom 1U C3758R Internal M.2 Slots

There is another M.2 B-key slot for a M.2 3042 or 3052 WWAN card. If you remember the SIM card slot on the exterior, this is why that feature exists.

Qotom 1U C3758R ASPEED Video
Qotom 1U C3758R ASPEED Video

There is also an ASPEED AST2400 BMC chip onboard. That is an older chip (we are currently on the AST2600 version) that is used for VGA and console output. The GPU IP in this is ancient, so think of something to allow for a management display, but not much else beyond that.

Here is the topology of the system:

Qotom Intel Atom C3758R 1U Topology
Qotom Intel Atom C3758R 1U Topology

Next, let us get to the performance.

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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