Today we wanted to focus on a small system, the Supermicro E300-9D-4CN8TP which is a system we use around the STH labs as a firewall appliance. We purchased this system some time ago and had an opportunity recently to move the system and do a review in the process. The system itself is a compact edge platform built inside Supermicro’s E300 chassis that houses a Xeon D, four 1GbE, and four 10GbE network ports. In our review, we are going to take a look at how this system is constructed.
Supermicro E300-9D-4CN8TP Hardware Overview
As we have been doing in recent reviews, we have the hardware overview for this system split into two parts. First, we are going to look at the exterior of the chassis. We will then get into the interior of the system. If you want to check out a different format, we have a YouTube video on this one.
As always, we suggest opening this video in a YouTube tab for a better viewing experience.
Supermicro E300-9D-4CN8TP External Overview
The system itself is 10″ x 1.7″ x 8.9″ or 254mm x 43mm x 226mm. We normally do not start server reviews with dimensions. In this case, that is an extremely important facet of the server since it is designed to be an edge device instead of a rackmount-first solution (there is a rackmount kit available.) The front of the server is basically power buttons, and status LEDs but the majority of the system’s front is for airflow.
We will note here that if you are looking for hot-swap drives, this is not the device for you. As you can see, there are no hot-swap drive trays.
On the rear of the unit, or what we feel many of our readers may view as the front, we have where the key features of the unit are. The first feature is the DC input. The unit uses an external power supply which is a 150W unit (MCP-250-10128-0N). The key feature here is that the DC jack has threads so the power supply neatly couples with the system and locks in place preventing accidental removal. That is a big deal for an edge appliance. The input for the 150W power adapter is a C14 so one can use a C13 cable with the adapter. We wish there was a locking version of this as well, but that is a more secure socket than the average non-locking DC power brick.
One also gets a plentiful I/O panel. As we would expect there is a legacy VGA port, two USB 3.0 ports, and a RJ45 port for the out-of-band AST2500 management.
Networking goes well beyond this one gets four 1GbE ports powered by an Intel i350-am4 controller. The 10Gbase-T ports are powered via an Intel X557 NIC. The dual SFP+ 10GbE ports are powered by the Intel Xeon D-2123IT. That is a lot of connectivity options in a small package. We will have the block diagram later in this review if you want to see how this is connected.
On the opposite side of the chassis, we see only air vents. There is an optional low-profile riser and rear chassis piece for those that want to add an expansion card. This could be yet another NIC or even a dual M.2 SSD expander board.
The outside of the chassis is great, but let us get inside to see what else the system has to offer since that gets to configuration options.