To update to my review of the Supermicro X8SIL-F, I took some Kill-A-Watt power consumption numbers with the Supermicro X8SIL-F to answer a few questions regarding power consumption with real server hardware compared to consumer-level hardware. Below I am focusing on idle power consumption as with the Intel Core i3-530, Xeon X3440, and other LGA 1156 CPUs the CPU utilization while running a NAS application will be very low. After a bit of testing I found the i3-530 again leading the pack in idle power consumption and the Xeon X3440 turning in very respectable idle power consumption numbers.
One will notice some differences between this configuration and what I used for the motherboard review. The reason for this is that I wanted the results to be closely comparable to the other power consumption numbers. This necessitated the addition of an Intel SSD, to replace the Hitachi 2TB drives and the subtraction of 4GB of RAM. Furthermore, I changed PSU’s to my reliable PicoPSU 150XT and ensured only one fan was running (the Intel stock retail heatsink/ fan).
- CPU(s): Intel Core i3-530 and Intel Xeon X3440
- Motherboard: Supermicro X8SIL-F Rev. 1.02
- Memory: 4GB of Kingston ECC 1333MHz DDR3 KVR1333D3E9SK2/4G (Unbuffered)
- Case: Norco RPC-4220
- Drive(s): Intel X25-V 40GB
- Power Supply: PicoPSU 150XT
- OS(es): Windows 7 Pro 64-bit
Power Consumption Testing
The first question is, how much power does the combination take when the server is powered down and the motherboard and power supply are drawing current from the wall socket (or battery back up unit)?
As one can see above, the power consumption of the Supermicro X8SIL-F’s on board Nuvoton WPCM450 Baseboard Management Controller (BMC) does take a bit more power when the machine is turned off. I will mention that I did see some spikes to 7w and 8w before dropping again to 4w. Typically, I see 1w to 3w consumed by H55 and H57 systems when the power is off with the PicoPSU 150XT according to the Kill-A-Watt. When the motherboard has power, the BMC is providing the WebGUI that allows one to remotely power cycle the server and do other things through IPMI 2.0. This extra functionality seems to make the X8SIL-F consume 4w to 8w when the server is powered down. Then again, for most users, storage servers will stay online 24×7 to keep virtual machines, backup targets, file repositories, and media streaming folders available.
Next, the Supermicro X8SIL-F with an Intel Core i3-530 CPU idle power consumption.
This power consumption is a bit higher than I normally see on consumer level boards. Then again, IPMI 2.0 is probably worth the few additional watts.
After running the Core i3-530 for a few days, I realized that I wanted something slightly faster. I turned to a Xeon X3440 which is a Lynnfield CPU similar to the Core i7 860 and 870, just with ECC memory support and a lower clock speed of 2.53GHz. Interestingly enough, I could still easily power the Xeon X3440 CPU, the Supermicro X8SIL-F, an Intel X25-V, and either an Intel Pro/1000 PT Quad or Adaptec 5805 raid controller with the PicoPSU 150XT. To keep numbers comparable to the i3-530 numbers, I did not have those add-in cards installed when these measurements were taken.
I think this is a key result. One will note that the idle power consumption of the Xeon X3440 is fairly close to the Core i3-530. I tried this several different times, waiting hours to makes sure no processes were still running in Windows 7 64-bit. Still, the idle power consumption remained very close to the Core i3-530.
Perhaps the biggest finding here is the comparison to the Phenom II X4 955 BE which used 57w at idle using the PicoPSU 150XT, however that result I got by significantly underclocking the Phenom II X5 955 BE to get it to boot into Windows with the PicoPSU. Using a PSU that was sufficient for daily use (i.e. one that provides enough power to normally boot into windows at stock clocks) the lowest power consumption I saw was 64w at idle. Given, the AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition is higher clocked than the Xeon X3440 and was on a motherboard (MSI 890GXm-G65) with USB 3, SATA 3, and a Direct X10 capable onbaord GPU so that may account for some of the delta. On the other hand, the Xeon X3440 had a motherboard with the BMC, IPMI 2.0, and three NICs. For a home server (WHS, Linux, or otherwise) or small business server, it is fairly clear that the Supermicro X8SIL-F has a superior feature set to the tested AMD consumer level platform.
The Core i3-530 is now enjoying testing duties in an Intel S3420GPLC server motherboard. Expect a review in the next few weeks.
very much appreciated
Cool first BMC power consumption numbers I’ve ever seen. Review that X3440 for us pls. Plans to test any other Xeons?
X8SIL-F ordered with Xeon X3430 (Got one for $160). Any ideas what the performance and power consumption difference would be compared to your X3440?
Thanks! Looking forward to read your next article.
I have a x8sil-f rev 1.02 and a i5-660. However it just gives me _one_ loooong beep at startup and no video or anything. According to the manual that is a sign of cpu overheat, however i find that really unlikely since i know how to assemble a cpucooler.
I use some non-ecc ram from samsung which i suspect might be the problem. But shouldnt it give me the 3 beep -” no memory found” message instead?
Oliver: Power consumption is going to be really similar. $160 is a great buy for an X3430.
Erik: That’s exactly the issue that I had, a really long beep. Changing to the Kingston ECC RAM listed above was what fixed it on the rev 1.02 board.
PS cron: I ordered a Xeon X3460, so yes.
Did you tweak any BIOS parameters on the X8SIL-F? I too have one of these boards. I’m not near it now, but going from memory, I recall there was at least one power-related BIOS variable. Sorry, I can’t remember the details, but I believe it’s worth a quick check. (I was in too much of a hurry to get my system actually deployed to take power measurements.)
This motherboard (and server motherboards in general, I believe) usually don’t offer much in the way of BIOS tweaking, at least compared to enthusiast motherboards. But, for what it’s worth, this motherboard replaced a Biostar A760G M2+. On the Biostar board, I was able to reduce idle power consumption by a few watts by simply tweaking BIOS parameters. A big one was reducing the on-board video clock speed to minimum. (By the way, that Biostar board is a good value board for home server roles: cheap, low power, AND supports ECC (although unofficially). Search the Silent PC Review forums for my post about this board’s lower power consumption, titled “30 watt barrier broken”.)
This one does have things (IIRC) like C3 states in BIOS. I saw your post and it is pretty cool. As a side note, the big difference between this X8SIL-F and a consumer board is the BMC which is clearly using 8w+ of power, but it gives you KVM-over-IP, remote image mounting, and etc… which you can’t get on AM2 and AM3 motherboards (except a handful of Tyan boards that are more expensive and harder to find).
Also, if you get bored, you can see I hit 27w on a Kill-A-Watt w/ a full SSD (I think you used a CF drive) and a Core i5-650 with no BIOS tweaks and no underclocking/ undervolting. It even beat my Sempron 140 in idle power consumption (even with Cool’N’Quiet enabled). I do hope Intel just enables ECC on their mainstream CPUs. It would make life much easier. AMD definately has good power consumption and is cheap.
I cannot find the C3 in Bios. Can you double check yours and let me know. I am trying to finish my Mymovies3 server and want to figure that out.
In processor and clock options there should be things like C1E Support (Enabled/ Disabled) and Intel C-STATE Tech (Enabled/ Disabled). C2/C3/C4 is auto selected if you enable the second.
Hi ! Very interesting article.
How did you connect PicoPSU (24+4 pin) to X8SIL (24+8 pin) ? Special 4-pin to 8-pin connector ?
With these components (PicoPSU 150W + X8SIL-F 1.02 + L3426 processor) my system does not POST at all, neither with 0-pin connected nor with 4-pin…
I would like to build a 10 disks home server/nas so I ordered a L3426 and a X8SIL-F but i don’t know what kind of PSU I should take.
Does the picopsu would be enough with 10 disks and a full load xeon?
Stefano’s comment isn’t really reassuring…
I was thinking about a “quiet” supermicro case (SC743 TQ-865B-SuperQuiet) but the power supply is quiet overkill for the rig (865w).
What’s your opinion guyz?
L3R4F – You are probably correct on both counts, 865w is probably too much and 150w is probably too little (Stefano actually had a bad power brick if I recall our e-mail exchanges).
At start-up I like to use 15w per drive as my rule of thumb figure. You will also have the motherboard plus one to two controllers and a CPU all at peak power output. I would suggest a SC743T-665B if you are looking at the SC743 range. It is quieter and a bit less expensive than the 865w power supply version. You could probably use a lower max output power supply, but less stress on components equals a longer life in many instances and power consumption differences would not be that great.
The SC743T-665B was my first pick but the 4 5000rpm fans are scaring me a little bit. The SuperQuiet version with the 865w power supply seems more appropriate to my ears (28db according to Supermicro’s website) although the lower airflow will tend to rise the temperature of the disks. Didn’t find a lot of reviews on these Supermicro towers.
Anyway, thanks for your input and your work on this website. I choosed the X8SIL-F and the L3426 because of your tests 🙂
I think the SC743T-665B’s power supply is also a super quiet model at 25db. The 5000rpm fans I would also assume would be loud, but fans are generally easier to replace… then again the cost of four fans probably is a good portion of the difference between the 665w and 865w versions.
I’m really surprised people still comparing things like server grade MB and CPUs for Intel with consumer grade AMD’s offering… I have AMD 210e CPU, 32GB ECC memory and 6x 2TB raidz2 based on Toshiba 2GB 3.5 drives. Gues what… it cost me much much less than intel based NAS and apart of ipmi does everything I can ask for. Something for something…. I may not have 35W idle but 55W or more but I do not spend 130 pounds just for CPU.
To get that money back via power it will take years and by that time you will change cpu twice…