At Computex 2023, we spotted a Supermicro ARS-221GL-NR. This was the system at Supermicro’s keynote that integrates the new NVIDIA Grace Superchip 144 core Arm server along with technologies like BlueField-3, NVIDIA H100 GPUs, and even E1.S SSDs.
Supermicro ARS-221GL-NR NVIDIA Grace Superchip MGX Server
The Supermicro ARS-221GL-NR is the company’s NVIDIA MGX offering. NVIDIA MGX is the company’s platform that, as of now, is mostly being adopted for NVIDIA Grace/ Grace Hopper systems. This is a great example of a 2U MGX system where the rear is all expansion slots for additional GPUs as well as BlueField DPUs.
Taking a look at the rear, we can see two dual width GPUs installed and all of the cabled connections to the rear I/O.
Here is one of the risers.
Here is the riser on the other side.
The front of the server is also interesting. This particular model, which was shown during Supermicro’s Computex 2023 keynote, has a center channel dedicated to airflow.
On the right, there are 16x E1.S EDSFF drive bays. This is a great example of what we discussed in E1 and E3 EDSFF to Take Over from M.2 and 2.5 in SSDs where the smaller form factor allows better density.
The left side has three power supplies with cables running to a rear input option. There seems to be room for a fourth.
In the center, we have the NVIDIA Grace superchip. It looks like there is one heatsink per 72 core Arm CPU onboard.
On the baseboard, we have an array of fan headers.
The more interesting feature of the Supermicro G1SMH motherboard is the array of what appear to be MCIO PCIe connections. We did not see the cables from the motherboard to the rear GPUs installed, so perhaps this is where those would go in a production system.
On the other side we can see the M.2 boot SSD.
There are more MCIO connectors as well.
Overall, there is a lot of expandability. The NVIDIA Grace Superchip has 128 PCIe Gen5 lanes from the specs we found, so it has I/O to handle many additional devices spread across the two CPUs in the Grace Superchip.
These are exciting systems. While one may immediately look to the AmpereOne platform with 192 Arm cores, the big advantage of the NVIDIA Grace Superchip is that it includes higher memory bandwidth via its onboard memory. Still, for those who want to have many cores with more memory than current HBM-enabled CPUs offer, having a 144-core NVIDIA Grace Superchip server like the Supermicro ARS-221GL-NR might be a unique option.