Supermicro AS-5014A-TT Internal Hardware Overview
The AS-5014A-TT came with a clear side panel that made reflections in photos, but here is the side with that panel off. One can see the CPU and memory, along with the mounting points for 5.25″ hardware, but there is little else. Instead, Supermicro has an elaborate-looking shroud system hiding components underneath.
The right shroud pulls out fairly easily via a locking tab, but the larger panel requires two screws. We wish Supermicro makes this screw-less in future versions.
Under that right shroud, we have our 3.5″ storage bays. These 3.5″ bays can also house 2.5″ drives, even NVMe drives like the Kioxia CD6 drives we have here using mounting adapters. These are not hot-swap bays. That is pretty common in this class of workstation, especially as SSDs have become so much more reliable than their rotating predecessors.
Removing the larger left shroud, we get a GPU or expansion card support bracket. This is used to secure large and heavy PCIe devices during shipping and also to prevent sag through gravity’s gradual bending of GPU PCB over time.
The CPU itself is very interesting. This is an AMD Ryzen Threadripper Pro workstation, so in this, we have the Threadripper Pro 5995WX. Cooling this, we have an AIO liquid cooling loop. As we will see, that seems to perform better than air coolers used in other brands’ workstations.
Here we get 8x DDR4-3200 slots. In our system, we are using 32GB RDIMMs for a total of 256GB of memory. That is likely to be on the lower-end of systems using the Threadripper Pro 5995WX 64-core CPU.
The expansion card slot situation is really interesting. We get a total of six slots. All are PCIe Gen4 x16 card slots. Both the Slot5 as well as Slot1 have a second I/O plate mounting at the rear for mounting double-width cards. Using those slots for double-width cards means that all six slots can be used simultaneously. That is the power of the large chassis and AMD Ryzen Threadripper Pro.
Next to the CPU, there is a M.2 slot, but this is not the only M.2 storage option on the motherboard.
There are three more slots. One can have 6x PCIe Gen4 x16 slots and still have additional room for 4x M.2 storage.
The Kioxia SSDs we have in the system use the U.2 ports next to the M.2 ports. We will have the block diagram so you can see how all of this is wired, given we have a lot of I/O here.
SATA is really being phased out of higher-end workstations. 8-10 years ago, a workstation like this might have 16-20 (or more) ports for SATA drives. Now, we have four. Two are used for those front 2.5″ bays.
Next, let us get to the system topology.