Our Supermicro M11SDV-8C-LN4F review shows the power of the AMD EPYC 3000 embedded platform. With the onboard AMD EPYC 3251 8 core and 16 thread CPU, the solution is highly competitive with the Intel Xeon D-1500 and Xeon D-2100 series in terms of performance and power consumption. Furthermore, if you are a vendor looking to dual source your CPU suppliers for x86 operation, the AMD EPYC 3251 is compatible which makes it perfect for those looking to diversify their supply base.
We attended the AMD EPYC embedded launch in London about a year ago. We first benchmarked the AMD EPYC 3251 a few months ago. Now we have a commercial mITX platform from Supermicro that you can buy in the channel and start working with an AMD EPYC powered server platform at a very low cost. Our Supermicro M11SDV-8C-LN4F review is going to show you the ins and outs of the platform.
Here is our basic configuration for this class of CPU:
- Motherboard: Supermicro M11SDV-8C-LN4F
- CPU: AMD EPYC 3251
- RAM: 4x 16GB DDR4-2666 ECC RDIMMs
- SSD: Intel DC S3710 400GB
- SATADOM: Supermicro 32GB SATADOM
The CPU itself supports up to 512GB of RAM, in a 4x 128GB configuration. That is as much as the Intel Xeon D-2100 series platforms and more than both the Intel Xeon D-1500 and Intel Atom C3000 series embedded platforms.
We are going to have reviews down the stack over the course of the next few weeks. Practically, the Supermicro M11SDV-8C-LN4F, M11SDV-8C+-LN4F, M11SDV-8CT-LN4F, M11SDV-4C-LN4F, and M11SDV-4CT-LN4F are all very similar. The 8C+ is the same as what we are reviewing but with an active CPU cooler. The remainder of the SKU stack simply use lower cost and performance CPU models. With the Supermicro M11SDV-8CT-LN4F, only DDR4-2133 speeds are supported to ensure that 8 core model is able to maintain the lowest power consumption. This Supermicro M11SDV-8C-LN4F has both SMT and DDR4-2666 support.
You will see this test setup more in the future and it is similar to our Intel Xeon D review platform. We also spent time plugging in devices to ensure the NVMe and PCIe lanes worked as advertised. We also tried up to 128GB of RAM in 4x 32GB configurations in our testing.
Supermicro M11SDV-8C-LN4F Overview
Measuring 6.7″ x 6.7″ the Supermicro M11SDV-8C-LN4F is a compact mITX motherboard. Compared to previous generations, the Supermicro A2SDi-8C+-HLN4F offers a lot of expansion functionality in a very compact space. Supermicro includes both a 24-pin ATX and a DC input as ways to power the motherboard so you can easily choose a case with either a standard PC power supply or an external power brick. That deployment flexibility makes the platform more versatile.
Sporting the AMD EPYC 3251 we have the first Intel Xeon D competitor from the AMD EPYC 3000 line. Here is a lscpu output:
Since this class of system is expected to run computationally heavier workloads and virtualization or containers, RAM can be a priority. Here, the motherboard can support up to 4x 128GB DDR4-2666 DIMMs for a total of 512GB. We see 128GB or even 256GB as being the limit most users will want given current DRAM pricing.
Airflow wise, all of the initial Supermicro M11SDV platforms, with the exception of the 8C+, are passively cooled. The AMD EPYC 3251 is a part that needs airflow over the heatsink. The passive heatsink design allows one to utilize redundant cooling fans on the platform.
For M.2 connectivity there is a PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 2280 (80mm) slot for SSDs. Many SSDs with power loss protection are 110mm. We see this M.2 slot used mostly for a read cache or boot device in systems.
Likewise, there is SR-IOV and IOMMU support on the platform. We also wanted to note for our readers that the PCIe x16 slot is capable of running in x16, x8x8, or x4x4x4x4 mode. The 4×4 mode is useful if one, for example, wanted to use four PCIe NVMe SSDs:
The Supermicro M11DV-8C-LN4F has a standard front panel header, COM port, and USB 2.0 headers, although no Type-A USB internal header and no USB 3.0 front panel header. From the look of the board, there does not seem to be room for those.
We also see four 7-pin SATA ports. One is an orange/ gold port for SATADOMs. In that port, a SATADOM does not need an additional power cable to operate which is handy in embedded applications. That white header between the SATADOM port and the battery is a power connector. When on DC power, Supermicro makes cables for that header that can power four hard drives/ SSDs. We are going to show that in the Supermicro AS-E301-9D-8CN4 system review.
The motherboard itself has three 4-pin PWM headers. That allows for a redundant SoC cooling path as well as a peripheral fan.
The rear I/O is comprised of a legacy VGA port on the right side and two USB 3.0 ports plus a management port on the left. Overall I/O pinout is compatible with a wide range of Supermicro embedded products so those that have systems based on Intel embedded products can likely use the same I/O shields and chassis with the Supermicro M11SDV-8C-LN4F.
Networking is provided by an Intel i350 quad port NIC. This is a 1GbE NIC that supports higher-end features like SR-IOV. At the same time, it is not leveraging the AMD EPYC 3251’s quad 10GbE NIC (as seen below from our previous piece.) While we wanted to see a 10GBE solution, we understand the conservative design decision for a first-generation embedded product. The Intel i350 is well supported by every major OS vendor. Hopefully Supermicro will release quad 10GbE versions in the future, but there is little room for 10GbE cages on the mITX motherboard so space is a constraint as well.
Next, were are going to look at the Supermicro M11SDV-8C-LN4F management and system topology. We will then show performance figures along with power consumption and our final thoughts.