Today we have one of the most highly anticipated reviews of this year in the Supermicro X10SDV-TLN4F. We first previewed the X10SDV-TLN4F and it has been a hot topic since then. The Supermicro X10SDV-TLN4F utilizes the new Broadwell-DE SoC. Specifically, the Intel Xeon D-1540 which is an 8 core 16 thread SoC that runs at 2.0GHz base frequency and can turbo up to 2.5GHz. The SoC incorporates a PCH that appears largly based on the Intel C200 series PCH as well as dual 10Gbase-T Ethernet. Supermicro is the first vendor to make the Xeon D’s 10GbE available in quantities. We have already looked at the performance of the Intel Xeon D-1540. We were able to test the setup with 128GB of RAM which was great as that configuration opens up many more possibilities.
We certainly put the Intel Xeon D-1540 and Supermicro X10SDV-TLN4F through its paces, loading up the system about as much as we could.
- CPU: Intel Xeon D-1540 (embedded)
- Motherboard: Supermicro X10SDV-TLN4F
- Memory: 128GB – 4x Samsung 32GB DDR4 2133MHz ECC RDIMMs
- SSD: 6x Intel DC S3700 400GB, 1x Samsung XP941 512GB, 1x Intel DC P3600 400GB (add-in HHHL card)
- Operating Systems: Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, Windows Server 2012 R2, VMware ESXi 6.0, CentOS 6.6
We purposefully loaded up the system with SSDs just to ensure that all slots would operate if populated with storage.
One other note is that we did try powering the system for our thermal testing using a PicoPSU 160-XT which worked well. Even with 128GB of RAM the package under load consumed just under 90w with just the Samsung XP941. Without the Intel DC P3600 series, one could be comfortable running a lower power PSU even with 6x SATA SSDs and a m.2 PCIe SSD. Note the 10Gb adapter drivers are still in validation (especially for ESXi 6.0) but the Windows and Linux drivers worked well. We expect these NICs/ drivers to get validated by the time these boards are released to the general public. ESXi still works with the i350-am2.
Supermicro X10SDV-TLN4F Overview
Part of the appeal of the Supermicro X10SDV-TLN4F is that it comes in a compact mITX form factor. It is perhaps the most powerful mITX form factor server platform available.
From an airflow perspective the Supermicro X10SDV-TLN4F is a bit different than the X10SDV-F which had passive cooling. The X10SDV-TLN4F has an active cooler which we saw in some of the pre-production shots. For those looking to build a quiet SMB desk side server, the fan is quiet but not silent.
This is the first platform that we have seen a production Intel Xeon D-1540. BIOS settings are present for features such as VT-d that are not present in previous low power platforms such as the Intel Atom C2000 series. The magic of the Intel Xeon D is the fact that it has many of the same features as higher-end Xeon E5 chips.
Looking to the top edge of the motherboard we see standard power connectors. We were able to power our test system using only the 24-pin ATX power connector. In a short depth 1U chassis, one can have an absolutely monstrous system even in lower power density 1A @ 110V / 1U racks because the base motherboard consumes under 90w.
There are only three 4-pin PWM power connectors, one of which connects the SoC’s HSF unit. This is certainly not a lot, bit it is likely enough for applications that this board is meant for.
One can see that the motherboard has a m.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 slot for SSDs. We used a Samsung XP941 512GB SSD, however there are newer faster models hitting the market soon. We would have liked to have seen a second m.2 slot for a RAID 1 SSD.
The Intel Xeon D platform has a set of PCIe 3.0 x16 lanes that is directed at the PCIe x16 slot onboard the X10SDV-TLN4F. We can also surmise that four of the set of PCIe 3.0 x8 lanes from the Xeon D are linked to the m.2 slot.
At the edge of the PCIe 3.0 x16 slot are six SATA III ports. One port is designed to take a SATA DOM.
Omitted from the motherboard is a Type-A USB header. Then again, there is virtually no space for this on the PCB. This is a commonly used feature for embedded OSes such as those for storage appliances, VMware ESXi and others. One looking to install an embedded OS should look to the SATA DOM solution.
Moving to the rear of the unit one can see two USB 3.0 ports below the IPMI remote management Ethernet port. The same two gigabit Ethernet ports we saw on the X10SDV-F controlled by the Intel i350-am2 Ethernet controller next to the ports are present. The next two RJ-45 ports are the two 10Gbase-T Ethernet ports. The PHY for this is is under the large heatsink and in front of the VGA port.
Overall the hardware packed on this small motherboard is impressive. One can build a very complete and expandable system all in small desktop chassis or short depth 1U chassis.
Supermicro X10SDV-TLN4F Thermal Imaging
To capture these images we utilize our FLIR Ex series professional thermal imaging camera and turn on FLIR’s MSX enhancements so we can see components outlined clearly. We put the system under 100% CPU load for a period of 24 hours to let “heat soak” set in prior to taking the images.
We wanted to see how the board fared under lower amounts of cooling so we hooked up a PicoPSU 160XT and allowed the motherboard to run for 24 hours under load. With this setup, we saw the Xeon D-1540 SoC run relatively cool. The three packages for the 10GbE, 1GbE and the Aspeed AST2400 all ran warm but within specs. We would suggest at least some additional cooling on this motherboard other than the SoC HSF unit. It appears as though not much active cooling is needed but some is suggested.
Supermicro’s IPMI and KVM-over-IP as described a few times on this site, allows for a lot of deployment flexibility. Things such as fan speeds, chassis intrusion sensors, thermal sensors, and etc. can be monitored remotely. Alerts can be setup to notify the admins of issues. Beyond this, the functionality also allows for remote power control. One can do remote power up, power down, and reset of the server in the event that it becomes unresponsive.
Another important feature is the ability to remotely mount CD images and floppy images to the machine over the dedicated management Ethernet controller. This keeps maintenance traffic off of the primary Intel NICs. At the same time it removes the need for an optical disk to be connected to the Supermicro motherboard.
The latest revision of Supermicro’s BIOS has a great feature: the BMC IP address shows up on the post screen! This is a super feature because if one has a KVM cart hooked up to the system, it gives an indicator of which machine one is connected to during post.
Supermicro does include KVM-over-IP functionality with the motherboard. We have been testing servers from HP, Dell, Lenovo and Intel that all required an additional add-in key to get this functionality. It is an absolute time and money saver in the datacenter and other vendors should follow Supermicro’s lead in this space.
Admittedly, the Intel Xeon D was one of our most anticipated releases of this year and the Supermicro X10SDV-TLN4F certainly lives up to our expectations. The 128GB configuration along with 10Gbase-T Ethernet is excellent. We were able to build a nice proof of concept with the board using ESXi that had a pfsense virtual machine handling network functions, a storage VM using the 6x Intel DC S3700’s and still almost 114GB and plenty of CPU available for virtual machines. While the Intel Atom C2000 series was a step in the right direction for an all-in-one mITX platform, the Intel Xeon D finally enables a significantly higher-end and usable configuration while still maintaining low power consumption. The Supermicro X10SDV-TLN4F is an awesome package. We should be getting street pricing soon, however Intel has priced the Xeon D-1540 more in-line with the Xeon E5 series and is trying to capture the value of the platform so expect these to retail in the $900 range.
[Update] We just received word that the Supermicro X10SDV-TLN4F has a MSRP of $958. Expect some vendors to undercut this by a bit.