HPE ProLiant MicroServer Gen10 Plus Review This is Super

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HPE ProLiant MicroServer Gen10 Plus Performance

In this section, we wanted to discuss the server’s CPU performance. The MicroServer Gen10+ at launch had two CPU options. The lower-end option was the Intel Pentium Gold G5420 and the higher-end Intel Xeon E-2224. You can read that linked Pentium Gold G5420 review, for example, to get some broader sense of performance and also what instructions have been shed for the lower-cost part. In our review, we are going to focus on five data points:

  • AMD Opteron X3421 (Gen10 “Performance” SKU)
  • Intel Xeon E-2224 (Gen10+ Performance SKU)
  • Intel Pentium Gold G5420 (Gen10+ Value SKU)
  • Intel Xeon Bronze 3204 (mainstream server low-end part)
  • Intel Atom C3558 (popular embedded part for storage servers)

In our options article, we are going to discuss more about what other CPUs one can potentially upgrade this platform to. For now, we wanted to put some data around how much faster this new version is. We are selecting a subset of benchmarks from our normal test suite to show different views but also keeping the piece relatively short. You can see our full benchmark articles on STH for the chips.

We are going to use green to show the Xeon E-2224 and Pentium G5420 options for the Gen10 Plus. We have the previous generation’s “performance” model, the AMD Opteron X3421 highlighted in black. The two blue bars will be for the Xeon Bronze and Atom C3558 comparison points. The one exception will be for the 7zip compression/ decompression benchmarks. Hopefully, this simplified view will show our readers the basics in terms of the performance deltas between the two processor options and the impacts beyond core and clock speed in an easy-to-digest manner.

Python Linux 4.4.2 Kernel Compile Benchmark

This is one of the most requested benchmarks for STH over the past few years. The task was simple, we have a standard configuration file, the Linux 4.4.2 kernel from kernel.org, and make the standard auto-generated configuration utilizing every thread in the system. We are expressing results in terms of compiles per hour to make the results easier to read:

HPE ProLiant MicroServer Gen10 Plus Linux Kernel Compile Benchmark
HPE ProLiant MicroServer Gen10 Plus Linux Kernel Compile Benchmark

Here you can see a trend that will continue throughout these numbers. The dual-core Intel Pentium G5420 base-level value SKU is significantly faster than the previous generation performance AMD Opteron X3421. The Opteron X3421 is more of an Atom competitor, and it shows here.

7-zip Compression Performance

7-zip is a widely used compression/ decompression program that works cross-platform. We started using the program during our early days with Windows testing. It is now part of Linux-Bench.

HPE ProLiant MicroServer Gen10 Plus Compression Benchmark
HPE ProLiant MicroServer Gen10 Plus Compression Benchmark

Here we wanted to highlight the comparison between the two MicroServer Gen10 Plus CPU options and the Intel Xeon Bronze 3204. Many organizations configure ROBO servers with a Xeon Bronze, one or two sticks of RAM, and a drive or two. The MicroServer Gen10 Plus can offer more CPU performance at a lower cost and lower physical footprint with the Xeon E-2224 variants.

OpenSSL Performance

OpenSSL is widely used to secure communications between servers. This is an important protocol in many server stacks. We first look at our sign tests:

HPE ProLiant MicroServer Gen10 Plus OpenSSL Sign Benchmark
HPE ProLiant MicroServer Gen10 Plus OpenSSL Sign Benchmark

Here are the verify results:

HPE ProLiant MicroServer Gen10 Plus OpenSSL Verify Benchmark
HPE ProLiant MicroServer Gen10 Plus OpenSSL Verify Benchmark

OpenSSL is a foundational technology on the web. Here we see a more muted benefit of the Pentium Gold G5420 over the previous-generation performance model. Still, this is a massive performance increase.

GROMACS STH Small AVX2/ AVX-512 Enabled

We have a small GROMACS molecule simulation we previewed in the first AMD EPYC 7601 Linux benchmarks piece. In Linux-Bench2 we are using a “small” test for single and dual-socket capable machines. Our medium test is more appropriate for higher-end dual and quad-socket machines. Our GROMACS test will use the AVX-512 and AVX2 extensions if available.

HPE ProLiant MicroServer Gen10 Plus GROMACS STH Small Case Benchmark
HPE ProLiant MicroServer Gen10 Plus GROMACS STH Small Case Benchmark

GROMACS is a high-performance computing workload that is not likely to be run on a MicroServer Gen10 Plus in the real world. It does, however, utilize AVX-512 and AVX2. The Xeon Bronze 3204 utilizes AVX-512 and is able to keep up with the much higher clocked Xeon E-2224 that only supports AVX2 more than we would see if instruction sets were equal. At the same time, the Pentium G5420, Opteron X3421, and Atom C3558 do not support AVX2. As a result, their performance suffers.

The Pentium Gold G5420 only supports up to the SSE4.2 instruction set which is much older than the newer instructions supported by the Xeon E-2224. This is a good example of why the Xeon E is the performance option even beyond cores, threads, and clock speeds.

Chess Benchmarking

Chess is an interesting use case since it has almost unlimited complexity. Over the years, we have received a number of requests to bring back chess benchmarking. We now have a fairly large data set for this workload.

HPE ProLiant MicroServer Gen10 Plus Chess Benchmark
HPE ProLiant MicroServer Gen10 Plus Chess Benchmark

Here, the Xeon E-2224 is able to really shine. Performance is again well over 2x the previous generation. This is also another example of where the Pentium G5420 is using popcnt instead of the slightly faster bmi2 instructions which hurts performance here.

Overall, the Intel Xeon E-2224 is our pick from a performance standpoint and is our recommendation unless one absolutely needs to save every dollar, regardless of benefits. With street pricing the difference is only around $100 and one gets a significantly better CPU, more RAM, and higher RAM clocks (DDR4-2666 v. DDR4-2400) with the Xeon E over the Pentium Gold.

Next, we are going to look at power consumption and noise before getting to the STH Server Spider and our final words.

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REVIEW OVERVIEW
Design & Aesthetics
9.5
Performance
9.3
Feature Set
9.2
Value
9.4
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Patrick has been running STH since 2009 and covers a wide variety of SME, SMB, and SOHO IT topics. Patrick is a consultant in the technology industry and has worked with numerous large hardware and storage vendors in the Silicon Valley. The goal of STH is simply to help users find some information about server, storage and networking, building blocks. If you have any helpful information please feel free to post on the forums.

37 COMMENTS

  1. I’ve skimmed this and wow. This is another STH Magnum Opus. I’ll read the full thing later today and pass it along to our IT team that manages branch offices.

  2. I made it to page 4 before I ordered one. That iLO enablement kit isn’t stocked in the channel so watch out. I’m now excited beyond compare for this.

  3. A really nice review, thanks a lot. impressed with the Xeon performance at this kind of low power system. I should/really want to get one, replacing my old gen 7 microserver home server.

  4. I like seeing bloggers and other guys review stuff, but STH ya’ll are in a different league. It’s like someone who understands both the technical and market aspects doing reviews. I think this format is even better than the GPU server review you did earlier this week.

    I’d like to know your thoughts about two or three of these versus a single ML110 or ML350. Is it worth going smaller and getting HA even if you’ve got 3 servers? I know that’s not part of this review. Maybe it’s a future guide.

  5. You’re Windows 10 testing is genius but you missed why. What you’ve created is a Windows 10 Pro remote desktop system that can be managed using iLO, is small and compact and it’s got 4 internal 3.5″ bays.

    If you plug RDP in, it’s a high-storage compact desktop when others this small in the market have shunned 3.5″.

  6. gentle suggestion: perhaps when taking photos of “small” items like this, have another human hold a ruler to give perspective of size (more helpful than a banana 🙂

    Thanks for mentioning the price within the article. Good info all around.

  7. Not impressed by this product nor this review; need more infos on thermal performances.

    Review lacks any discussion of thermal performance other than showing us the pretty picture of the iLO page and a brief mention of thermal limits on the PCI3 Gen3 slot with certain add-in cards.

    Complete lack of discussion of thermal performance of horizontally mounted HDD in this device where the review already admits to possible thermal issues with the design.

    For me this review looks like a Youtube “unboxing” article for HPE products and not a serious product performance review.

    Patrick, you can do better than this. Srsly.

  8. Sleepy – we used up to 7.2k RPM 10TB WD/HGST HDDs and did not see an issue. We also discussed maximum headroom for drives + PCIe + USB powered devices is around 70W given the 180W PSU and how the fan ramps at around 10min at ~110W.

    In the next piece, we have more on adding CPUs/ PCIe cards and we have touched the 180W PSU limit without thermal issues. Having done that, the thermal performance/ issue you mention is not present. If the unit can handle thermals up to the PSU’s maximum power rating, then it is essentially a non-issue.

  9. A random question, if I may : will the Gen10Plus physically stack on top of / below a Gen10 or Gen8 Microserver cleanly? It looks like it should but confirmation would be appreciated 🙂

  10. In the “comparison” article (between the MSG10 and the MSG10+), you wrote about the “missing” extra fifth internal SATA port: “[…] I think we have a solution that we will show in the full review we will publish for the MicroServer Gen10+.”
    I really had hoped to read about this solution! Or did I just miss it?

    Also, I’d like to know more about the integrated graphics: If I’m understanding it correctly, the display connectors on the back (VGA and DisplayPort, both marked blue) are for management only; meaning that even if you have a CPU with integrated GPU, that is not going to do much for you. (This is in line with the Gen8, but a definite difference with respect to the MSG10!) So … what GPU is it? A Matrox G200 like on the Gen8? Or something with a little more oomph?
    Personally, I’m saddened to see that HPE skimped on making the iGPU unusable. 🙁

  11. TomH – the Gen10 Plus is slightly wider if you look at dimensions. You can probably stack a Gen10 atop a Gen10 Plus but not the other way around.

    Nic – great point. As mentioned in the article, we ended up splitting this piece into a review of the unit for sale, and some of the customizations you can do beyond HPE’s offerings. It was already over 6K words. For this, we ended up buying 2 more MSG10+ units to test in parallel and get the next article out faster.

  12. Thanks Patrick – had hoped the “indent” on the top might be the same size as previous models, despite the overall dimensional differences, but guess not!

  13. Patrick – sounds great! Btw, next to the cmos battery, there is undocumented 60pin connector. Do you have any idea what is this for?

  14. Does iLO Enablement Kit allows you to use server after OS boot, ot is this the same as big servers where iLO advance licence is needed?

  15. Nikolas Skytter -> 4* WD40EFRX -> About 32C in idle (ambient around 20-21C), max 36C when all disks testing with badblocks. Fan speed 8% (idle).

  16. Patrick – I have found that undocumented connector exists on several supermicro motherboards as well.. and guess what.. undocumented in manual as well. Starting to be really curious..

  17. Lucky you, how were you able to install the latest Proxmox VE 6.1 on this server?
    As soon as the OS loads, the Intel Ethernet Controller I350-AM4 turns off completely :\

  18. Hi, could you please test if this unit can boot from nvme/m.2 disk in pcie slot without problem? There are some settings in bios that points to it, even there is no m.2 slot. Thanks!

  19. Having skipped the GEN10 and still owning a GEN7 and GEN8 Microserver this Plus version looks like a worthy replacement. Although I would have liked to see that HPE switched to an internal PSU, ditched the 3.5 HDD bays for 6 or 8 2.5 SSD bays (the controller can handle 12 lanes) and used 4x SODIMMS sockets to give 4 memory lanes. I also agree with Kennedy that 10Gbit would be a nice option (for at least 2 ports).

  20. How did you manage to connect to the iLO interface? My enablement board did not have the usual tag with the factory-set password on it. Is there some default password for those models?

  21. Has anyone else had / having issues when running VM’s? I have the E2224 Xeon model 16Gb RAM, but keep having performance issues. Namely storage.

    Current setup 1x Evo 850 500Gb SSD 2x Seagate Barracuda 7.2k 2Tb Spindle disks.

    Installing the Hypervisor works fine. Tried ESXi 6.5,6.7 and 7 and used the HPE images. All installed to USB and then tried to SSD all install and run ok, but when setting up a VM, it becomes slow – 1.5hrs to install a windows 10 image, then the image is unuseable.

    Installed Windows Server 2019 Eval on to bare metal, Installs ok, but then goes super sluggish when running Hyper-V to the point of being unusable. Updated to the latest BIOS etc using the SPP iso.

    Example. Copy 38Gb file from my Nas to local storage under 2k19, get full 1Gbps, start a hyper-v vm, it slows to a few kbps, even copying from USB on the Windows 2019 server, not VM, Mouse becomes jumpy and unresponsive.

    Dropped the VM vCPU to 2, then one, still no difference.

    Tried 2 other SSD’s.

    BIOS settings were set to General Compute performance, and Virtualization Max performance.

    Beginning to think I have a faulty unit.

  22. Hi! Do you think that it could be possible to add a SAS raid controller on the PCI express and use it with the provided sas connector?

    It would look a little frankenstein but with a NVME on the minipcie and a proper raid controller this would be a perfect microserver for ESXI

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