Supermicro X11SCA-F BIOS Experience
Having just covered the IPMI management interface features of the Supermicro X11SCA-F, we wanted to discuss BIOS functionality briefly. This is a slightly different experience for STH readers who are accustomed to Supermicro systems is the BIOS. The BIOS on the Supermicro X11SCA-F is from Supermicro’s consumer line.
One of the more unfamiliar settings in the BIOS for Supermicro server users will be some of the more consumer/ overclocking focused settings. While much of the functionality is the same between this and mainline Supermicro server BIOS, there are a few of these interesting features.
Since we know a lot of people will buy CPUs with integrated GPUs for this platform, if you want to use the IPMI video, under Advanced you will find graphics options and then want to select PEG video source to use the BMC video instead of the iGPU video output.
We have a number of performance-related articles coming out with this platform and the new Intel Xeon E-2100 series along with a surprising contender: the Intel Core i3-8300 which you may have seen in a few screenshots. The Intel Core i3-8300 is absolutely intriguing as one gets an iGPU plus four cores, without Hyper-Threading running at 3.7GHz for around $145. This is a major jump over previous 2 core/ 4 thread Core i3 designs. The Core i3-8300 also supports ECC memory. For those looking at a higher-performance option versus an Intel Xeon D, at a lower cost and without 10GbE onboard, the new Core i3 makes a lot of sense in low-end servers.
Overall, after clearing the hurdle of learning the Supermicro X11SCA-F consumer/ workstation BIOS, the platform is extremely flexible. Where we see this being a standout product is for remote branch office deployments where a Supermicro X11SCA-F system starts life as someone’s workstation, then migrates to a small workgroup server. The ability to have onboard GPU support, audio features, a myriad of storage and expansion capabilities, combined with out-of-band management ensures that this system can be used in a variety of different roles.