Regular STH readers will have seen our AMD Ryzen Threadripper PRO 3995WX Review that was published recently. In that piece and the accompanying video, we opined that the processor series would need to move beyond just the Lenovo ecosystem. That started today. There are a few vendors who are releasing TR Pro or “WEPYC” motherboards, but Supermicro is releasing not just a motherboard, but also a system that can be either a desktop or rackmount workstation as well.
Supermicro AMD Ryzen Threadripper Pro Offerings
Supermicro has offerings both at the motherboard and system level. The system incorporates the motherboard so we will start with the M12SWA-TF and move to the system that is built around it.
Supermicro M12SWA-TF Motherboard
The Supermicro M12SWA-TF is interesting for a number of reasons. First, it is a “Gen 12” motherboard from Supermicro. As such, a standout feature of this platform is that it incorporates the new ASPEED AST2600 BMC for its IPMI out-of-band management.
Here are the key specs of the AMD sWRX8 platform:
Our readers will quickly gravitate to the six PCIe Gen4 x16 slots along with the four M.2 PCIe Gen4 and two U.2 connectivity. There are still four SATA ports, but it is clear that on this next-gen system, SATA is being de-emphasized for more modern NVMe storage. In workstations, there is often fast local storage and then capacity storage is accessed via the network.
One nice feature is that we get the Marvell-Aquantia AQC113C 10Gbase-T controller, but Supermicro also has the Intel i210 NIC. Since the AQC113C is not supported out-of-the-box with all OSes, having the i210 helps one get a necessary driver for the Marvell 10GbE NIC.
This motherboard is an EATX platform, but it is designed for the Supermicro AS-5104A-TT system.
Supermicro AS-5014A-TT System
The Supermicro AS-5014A-TT system is the workstation platform built around the M12SWA-TF motherboard.
This is a standard workstation tower from Supermicro. We are told that there are both air-cooled as well as 360mm closed-loop liquid cooling options for the AMD Ryzen Threadripper Pro CPUs. At a system level, support for 256GB DIMMs gets us up to 2TB of memory supported although that is likely cost-prohibitive for many users. Still, if you need it, it is available and not currently available on the Lenovo ThinkStation P620.
We asked Supermicro and there is an available rackmount kit for this platform. That allows the system to be racked. The front-to-rear airflow of the CPU and DIMMs means that it should work well in a rackmount environment as well.
Overall, it seems as though Supermicro looked at what Lenovo launched and iterated on providing access to more of the platform’s features.
There are a few big implications here. First, Supermicro has a more expandable platform than the Lenovo ThinkStation P620. While this may not necessarily matter to Lenovo-only IT shops, those who can buy across vendors will find that Supermicro made several tweaks to “one-up” Lenovo. Further, with features such as IPMI support instead of AMD DASH, Supermicro has a solution that is more suitable for workstation clusters where users remotely log in to centralized workstation resources. While IPMI is not a great remote desktop solution, it does simplify management greatly.
Overall, this looks very cool. Let us know if this is something you would like us to review.