Inspur NF5180M5 Flexible 1U Server Review


Inspur Systems NF5180M5 CPU Performance

At STH, we have an extensive set of performance data from every major server CPU release. Running through our standard test suite generated over 1000 data points for each set of CPUs. We are cherry-picking a few to give some sense of CPU scaling.

As a quick note here, our test configuration came with dual Intel Xeon Gold 5115 CPUs. These are higher volume SKUs with 10 cores each. Since we are in the middle of the 2nd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable product cycle for this platform, we are going to use newer CPUs. Intel made enormous upgrades to the CPU performance in the lower and mid-range with this generation.

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, 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.

Inspur Systems NF5180M5 Linux Kernel Compile Benchmarks High End CPUs
Inspur Systems NF5180M5 Linux Kernel Compile Benchmarks High-End CPU Options

Many buyers will focus on the lower-end of the Xeon Gold line such as the Intel Xeon Gold 5220. Here Intel increased performance by 30% or more in its SKU stack by increasing clock speeds and core counts. You can see that in contrast to something like the Intel Xeon Gold 5120.

Here you can see an example of CPU scaling with the Inspur NF5180M5 using different Intel Xeon Gold and Platinum offerings. There is a fairly wide range. We are only showing dual-socket performance results, not single-socket results in this test. The server is capable of going up to the dual Intel Xeon Platinum 8280 configuration above and down to a single Intel Xeon Bronze CPU.

c-ray 1.1 Performance

We have been using c-ray for our performance testing for years now. It is a ray tracing benchmark that is extremely popular to show differences in processors under multi-threaded workloads. We are going to use our new Linux-Bench2 8K render to show differences.

Inspur Systems NF5180M5 C Ray 8K Benchmark High End CPUs
Inspur Systems NF5180M5 C Ray 8K Benchmark High End CPUs

Here, the Intel Xeon Gold 6242 solution is providing a lot of performance even with fewer cores than the Gold 6230. Intel has a broad SKU stack that can optimize for more cores or higher frequencies at a given core count. The Intel Xeon Gold 6242, for example, is a 16-core SKU that fits will into Microsoft Windows Server 2019 licensing.

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.

Inspur Systems NF5180M5 7zip Compression Benchmark
Inspur Systems NF5180M5 7zip Compression Benchmark

Here one can see the benefit of moving to a higher-end SKU like an Intel Xeon Platinum 8260. Intel’s robust Xeon Scalable SKU stack helps a user pinpoint the level of price/ performance they are looking for.

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:

Inspur Systems NF5180M5 OpenSSL Sign Benchmark
Inspur Systems NF5180M5 OpenSSL Sign Benchmark

Here are the verify results:

Inspur Systems NF5180M5 OpenSSL Verify Benchmark
Inspur Systems NF5180M5 OpenSSL Verify Benchmark

Here the Intel Xeon Platinum 8280 shines. The Inspur NF5180M5 can handle up to 205W TDP CPUs which means it can cover the full SKU stack. Some other 1U platforms are only capable of handling 165-180W maximum SKUs which limit their flexibility. In the case of the NF5180M5, this is not a concern.

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 have been profiling systems and are ready to start sharing results:

Inspur Systems NF5180M5 Chess Benchmark
Inspur Systems NF5180M5 Chess Benchmark

Here again we see nice scaling in the benchmark. We will note that Intel and Inspur also offer lower price, power, and performance SKUs like the Intel Xeon Silver 4214. There are a lot of configuration options but we are only showing some of the higher-end versions.

GROMACS STH Small AVX2 Enabled

In Linux-Bench2 we are using a “small” GROMACS test for single and dual-socket capable machines. Our GROMACS test will use the AVX-512 and AVX2 extensions if available.

Inspur Systems NF5180M5 GROMACS STH Small
Inspur Systems NF5180M5 GROMACS STH Small

Chips like the Platinum 8268 perform very well in AVX-512 workloads. This is a key feature that Intel has over the AMD EPYC 7002 series processors.

Next, we are going to take a look at the Inspur Systems NF5280M5 storage and networking performance before moving on to power and the STH Server Spider.


  1. They are not going to get a lot of sales with their current “purchase/contact us page”. The serve details page is also not elaborate. TS860G3 info page have all product images broken.

    If they showed at least ballpark price, lead-in times, available components(what ‘Intel Xeon Scalable’ are supported?) and put at least some attention to the form, it might be better.

  2. @altmind
    Yea, it’s interesting to read about the these challenger brands, but frustrating that they don’t offer any outlet besides wholesale bulk purchases and then they make it difficult to find out any real information on their products.

    The big brands need challenging, it’s what keeps the market vibrant, but when I read a glowing review for a product you cannot practically buy, it’s somewhat disappointing.

  3. This server is available in the market. Inspur in over 110 countries and regions across the globe. You should check on their website.


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