Supermicro A2SDi-TP8F Review 12C 4x10GbE and 4x1GbE mITX

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Supermicro A2SDi-TP8F Block Diagram and Topology

Since this is single SoC system, the topology is very straightforward. Here is what the system topology looks like:

Supermicro A2SDi TP8F C3858 Topology
Supermicro A2SDi TP8F C3858 Topology

As you can see, since this is an Atom C3000 CPU, there is no large shared L3 cache which is done to save on die area. All peripherals are attached directly to the Atom C3858 SoC.

There is a single NUMA domain. Instead, we wanted to focus on the block diagram:

Supermicro A2SDi TP8F Block Diagram
Supermicro A2SDi TP8F Block Diagram

This block diagram is very important. If you purchase lower-end SKUs such as the Atom C3558(R) or C3338, those CPUs do not have the full set of 20 high-speed I/O lanes. We commonly see shared lanes in those designs. Here, the A2SDi-TP8F is able to utilize all of the I/O functionality that is present on the motherboard without making trade-offs. You can see an updated list of C3000 chips and their high-speed I/O lanes in our Intel Atom C3000 Line Quietly Refreshed piece.

Final Words

Depending on the reseller and availability, we normally see these motherboards have a street price of $770-840 in single-unit quantities. The Intel Atom C3858 sold by Intel to Supermicro makes up over 40%-45% of that cost. Onboard we have high-end features such as quad 10GbE. Adding a new dual-port 10GbE SFP+ and dual-port 10Gbase-T adapter to a system can easily cost over $400. While the starting price is higher for a motherboard, it is also very reasonable when you consider the components involved and their alternatives.

The underlying theme of the A2SDi-TP8F is that it is a great platform if you need the features it offers. If you need a bare minimum dual-core CPU and 1GbE networking only, there are other models out there that have a better feature set. For those who are building edge networking appliances, uCPE, and other applications, the mix of ports on this platform is excellent, as are the small features such as the storage configuration and the ability to power drives via the motherboard hard drive power connector.

Supermicro A2SDi TP8F Cover
Supermicro A2SDi TP8F Cover

There are some tradeoffs with the platform. Most notably, is the four SODIMM configuration. If you look at the motherboard, it is immediately apparent why this had to be done as the platform is packed with features. Still, it is something to keep in mind with a 64GB upper memory limit.

In our testing, the A2SDi-TP8F performed very well. The design utilizing flexible high-speed I/O lanes to provide great connectivity is appreciated as it simplifies building a system with the platform. Overall, this was a great platform.

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REVIEW OVERVIEW
Design & Aesthetics
9.3
Performance
9.2
Feature Set
9.4
Value
9.1
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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.

9 COMMENTS

  1. Remainds me combination of words “Cripple fight” 🙂
    Kind a old tech, already 3yo.

    Introduction August 15, 2017 (announced)
    August 15, 2017 (launched)

    We need Refresh for Atoms! Intel!

  2. Sorry for bad attitude and comments lately. Reason, can’t find worth replacement for my current board x9srl with IvyBridge on board. Looks like i stuck with it for another year..till ddr5

  3. Patrick, would you consider loading this thing up with one of the more common router/firewll distros and benchmarking it as a network security appliance?

  4. @emerth, @newyork10023, @Patrick
    I’d like to also see what full power draw looks like with the 2x 10G-baseT and the 2x SFP+ populated with SFP+ 10G-baseT modules (a possible scenario). I’m guessing heat will be too much a problem with two SFP+ 10GbT modules, but it would be interesting to see if the board could power them.

  5. Your former article on supermicro C2750-based motherboard lead me to buy it for my home activity: horse power (not so much to be honest), space for quite a bit of ram (enough for managing a couple of VMs), plenty network interfaces, an almost fully licensed BMC (you just need a license to upgrade BIOS via BMC, which is something I can live without – and besides you cannot even buy it anymore) and an absolutely low power footprint.

    This one seems to be the natural evolution.
    Will evaluate for a centralized device to be used as both network device (WAF or IPS come to mind) and low-load server.

    Thank you

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