One vector in the server industry that is picking up steam in 2018 is Arm servers. Arm is now making a concerted effort to brand and go to market with its Neoverse brand. At STH, the year started with the Cavium ThunderX2 Review and Benchmarks a Real Arm Server Option and for updated power consumption figures Updated Cavium ThunderX2 Power Consumption Results. In that review, we used a 32 core ThunderX2 CN9980 part that had a 2.2GHz base frequency. Gigabyte is launching the Cavium / Marvell ThunderX2 servers with those parts, the Gigabyte R181-T92 and R281-T94.
Gigabyte R181-T92 1U 2P ThunderX2 Server
The Gigabyte R181-T92 is a 1U, dual processor server. That means one can get up to 64 cores and 256 threads per U using 4-way SMT on ThunderX2. These CPUs seem to be affixed to the motherboard which saves significantly on motherboard costs.
Some of the notable features are an onboard Broadcom SAS3008 HBA and QLogic SFP+ 10GbE dual-port interfaces.
The Gigabyte R181-T92 seems to share the same motherboard as the Gigabyte R281-T94 2U platform.
The block diagram shows the major features such as the PCIe and OCP mezzanine connectivity, storage connectivity, and the 24x DDR4 in 8-channel memory configuration.
Gigabyte R281-T94 2U 2P Server
The other option is the Gigabyte R281-T94. This is a 2U 24-bay option with significant risers. This is an update to the Gigabyte R281-T90 we used for our original review in May 2018.
Some of the easily identifiable changes are that the Gigabyte R281-T94 appears to use BGA CPUs instead of socketed models. That saves on cost. All of the drive bays are SAS3/ SATA III instead of some being NVMe as they were on our test system.
The R281-T94 also has dual SFP+ (QLogic-based) 10GbE SFP+ networking built-in.
The block diagram looks similar to the Gigabyte R181-T92.
Learn More About Cavium / Marvell ThunderX2
STH has a number of resources about the Marvell ThunderX2. Our in-depth review above is the first place you should start. Here are a few others: