The Supermicro SYS-120U-TNR is a dual-socket Intel Xeon “Ice Lake” generation server. In this generation, Intel adds more cores, new instructions, and more platform capabilities. In dual-socket servers, this translates to an overall more capable server. Supermicro with its “Ultra” line, which the SYS-120U-TNR is part of, takes advantage of these new platform capabilities for a massive generational upgrade.
Supermicro SYS-120U-TNR Overview
As we have been doing recently, we are going to split our review into the external overview followed by the internal overview section to aid in navigation around the platform.
Supermicro SYS-120U-TNR External Overview
The system itself is a 1U server that is 29.1″ or 739mm deep. This is slightly deeper than the Supermicro SYS-510P-WTR 1U 1P server we reviewed, but one gains additional features.
Starting with the front of the system, we get twelve 2.5″ hot-swap bays. The system itself can support NVMe, SATA, or SAS drives, but one will need a few additional parts such as a SAS HBA/ RAID controller to allow the server to utilize SAS drives. These 2.5″ drive trays are not Supermicro’s legacy drive trays since they are thinner to allow for a full 12 drives in the 1U chassis. Even though they are different trays, they retain the same tab color scheme as the previous generation and that is what we are showing above.
On the rear of the system, we have a number of features. In the middle of the system, we have a standard Supermicro “Ultra” I/O block including USB 3.0, serial, VGA, and an IPMI port. Like other Ultra servers, and many competitive systems, the onboard NIC is provided via a LOM in this case a riser which also makes it customizable.
The power supplies are 1.2kW 80Plus Titanium units. Supermicro was early adopting the 80Plus Titanium power supplies in its systems and the Ultra line tends to use these high-efficiency power supplies.
The far right (looking from the rear) I/O expansion slots are two PCIe Gen4 x16 full-height slots. Here is the riser powering those.
The middle slot is actually a change in this generation. While it is still a low-profile slot, it is now a PCIe Gen4 x16 slot.
With the 64 PCIe Gen4 lanes per CPU, Supermicro has enough PCIe expansion lanes to handle the shift to 12x PCIe Gen4 x4 links for the front drive panel (48 total), and 3x 16 lanes for these expansion slots (48 total) while still having more lanes left in the system.
While many may focus on how AMD EPYC can use 160x PCIe Gen4 lanes in a dual-socket system, with current generation 2.5″ drives, it is challenging to use that many lanes in a 1U system. We recently did a E1 and E3 EDSFF to Take Over from M.2 and 2.5 in SSDs piece where we showed how the next-generation EDSFF form factor will help allow for more PCIe devices in a system in the coming quarters. As of now, the 128x PCIe lanes in a sub 800mm deep chassis is plentiful.
Next, we are going to get to the internal overview where we will see what is inside and even how Supermicro is able to fit all of those expansion slots.