Supermicro AS-E301-9D-8CN4 Review Embedded EPYC Appliance

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Supermicro AS-E301-9D-8CN4 Performance

For this exercise, we are using our legacy Linux-Bench scripts which help us see cross-platform “least common denominator” results we have been using for years as well as several results from our updated Linux-Bench2 scripts. At this point, our benchmarking sessions take days to run and we are generating well over a thousand data points. We are also running workloads for software companies that want to see how their software works on the latest hardware. As a result, this is a small sample of the data we are collecting and can share publicly. Our position is always that we are happy to provide some free data but we also have services to let companies run their own workloads in our lab, such as with our DemoEval service. What we do provide is an extremely controlled environment where we know every step is exactly the same and each run is done in a real-world data center, not a test bench.

We are going to show off a few results, and highlight a number of interesting data points in this article.

Python Linux 4.4.2 Kernel Compile Benchmark

This is one of the most requested benchmarks for STH over the past few years. The task was simple, we have a standard configuration file, the Linux 4.4.2 kernel from kernel.org, and make the standard auto-generated configuration utilizing every thread in the system. We are expressing results in terms of compiles per hour to make the results easier to read:

AMD EPYC 3251 Production Linux Kernel Compile Benchmark
AMD EPYC 3251 Production Linux Kernel Compile Benchmark

Performance of the Supermicro AS-E301-9D-8CN4 ‘s embedded AMD EPYC 3251 tops our charts of embedded parts up to eight cores here. High clock speeds along with sixteen threads mean performance is great. It comes close to the dual Intel Xeon X5670 configurations which shows just how much performance has moved into the low power embedded realm.

c-ray 1.1 Performance

We have been using c-ray for our performance testing for years now. It is a ray tracing benchmark that is extremely popular to show differences in processors under multi-threaded workloads. We are going to use our 4K results which work well at this end of the performance spectrum.

AMD EPYC 3251 Production C Ray 4K Benchmark
AMD EPYC 3251 Production C Ray 4K Benchmark

Here the AMD “Zen” architecture performs very well benefiting the Supermicro AS-E301-9D-8CN4. Clock speeds combined with high core counts and fast caches mean that AMD solutions do well here.

7-zip Compression Performance

7-zip is a widely used compression/ decompression program that works cross-platform. We started using the program during our early days with Windows testing. It is now part of Linux-Bench.

AMD EPYC 3251 Production 7zip Compression Benchmark
AMD EPYC 3251 Production 7zip Compression Benchmark

One can notice Supermicro AS-E301-9D-8CN4 with the AMD EPYC 3251 is faster than the Intel Xeon D-2141I. Supermicro offers Intel Xeon D-2141I options as well. Since the Xeon D-2141I is a higher cost and power consumption part, this can be a good alternative platform.

OpenSSL Performance

OpenSSL is widely used to secure communications between servers. This is an important protocol in many server stacks. We first look at our sign tests:

AMD EPYC 3251 Production OpenSSL Sign Benchmark
AMD EPYC 3251 Production OpenSSL Sign Benchmark

Here are the verify results:

AMD EPYC 3251 Production OpenSSL Verify Benchmark
AMD EPYC 3251 Production OpenSSL Verify Benchmark

This is very interesting. Here we see the Supermicro AS-E301-9D-8CN4 offers more performance than the Intel Xeon Silver 4108 based servers. That is impressive. Our Intel Xeon Silver 4208 review was published before this review but tested after. The performance edge has moved back to the mainstream Xeons which have more PCIe lanes and I/O, as well as more memory channels. Still, the fact that AMD is competitive here says a lot about today’s market.

UnixBench Dhrystone 2 and Whetstone Benchmarks

Some of the longest-running tests at STH are the venerable UnixBench 5.1.3 Dhrystone 2 and Whetstone results. They are certainly aging, however, we constantly get requests for them, and many angry notes when we leave them out. UnixBench is widely used so we are including it in this data set. Here are the Dhrystone 2 results:

AMD EPYC 3251 Production UnixBench Dhrystone 2 Benchmark
AMD EPYC 3251 Production UnixBench Dhrystone 2 Benchmark

Here are the whetstone results:

AMD EPYC 3251 Production UnixBench Whetstone Benchmark
AMD EPYC 3251 Production UnixBench Whetstone Benchmark

Here again, we see the Supermicro AS-E301-9D-8CN4 and the onboard AMD EPYC 3251 perform well both in single and multi-threaded tests. That is a testament to how well AMD designed the EPYC 3000 line.

Chess Benchmarking

Chess is an interesting use case since it has almost unlimited complexity. Over the years, we have received a number of requests to bring back chess benchmarking. We have been profiling systems and are ready to start sharing results:

AMD EPYC 3251 Production Chess Benchmark
AMD EPYC 3251 Production Chess Benchmark

Here the Intel Xeon D-2141I again edges out the AMD EPYC 3251, but AMD is again very close at lower cost and power consumption. For the Supermicro AS-E301-9D-8CN4 that is a great trend.

Next, we are going to look at the Supermicro AS-E301-9D-8CN4  power consumption before getting to the STH Server Spider and our final words.

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REVIEW OVERVIEW
Design & Aesthetics
9.2
Performance
9.6
Feature Set
9.3
Value
9.5
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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.

6 COMMENTS

  1. On every hardware metric it is rather limited: but it has fairly fast CPU cores for it’s power budget.

    Like it’s brethren it is very cute and it looks nice sitting on a bench but I have a difficult time understanding why it exists. What am I supposed to use it for?

  2. @emerth industrial applications where you need some compute on the edge such as factories/oil/chemical. From my perspective this is direct competition for the like of HPE Edgeline 1000 type of applications but at a lower cost.

    The 40mm fans I don’t quite understand, at 1.5U height it’s ~66mm high so 50mm or even 60mm fans would have been possible. It could also have used the additional height for a top down 80mm or 120mm cooler for low noise applications (and a custom shroud for airflow).

  3. I ordered one of these from Newegg.

    It DOES NOT come with:
    1. PCI-E 90 degree riser card
    2. ANY hard drive cages – and I have yet to figure out the part number for those

    It only comes with one SAS power cable, so you can’t actually hookup 4 drives – only 2… And the cable used isn’t available on Supermicro’s store…

    What a MESS.

    What a MESS!

  4. Jason, we mentioned in our review that we had a pre-production unit with some parts labeled as optional. I think this is great feedback and will send it to the team. I agree it would be good either to have this as everything in the box or an additional SKU with all of the accessories. Maybe even a note on the product page for optional components like in some other Supermicro servers.

  5. Do you know if it’s works with ESXi 6.7? I know it’s not officially supported yet, but it would be nice to know for homelab purposes.

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