The Tyan S32272NR-C958 is an extraordinarily interesting platform to us. At STH we have done an enormous number of Intel Atom C3000 series reviews, with more on the way. Many of the embedded parts are meant to service storage and lightweight virtualization roles or the role of security appliances. The Tyan S32272NR-C958 is different in its approach as it specifically targets the network security appliance segment. As a result, we have a platform where the hardware is tailored for that purpose and an intriguing benefit: this is the lowest power 16 core Intel Atom C3000 series platform we have tested.
If you want a video version of the overview, you can find it here:
Tyan S32272NR-C958 Overview
The Tyan S32272NR-C958 is an extremely compact system. With a mITX form factor it will fit in just about any enclosure, including the 1U short depth and desktop form factors that are popular in security appliances.
The -C958 in the SKU means that the motherboard has an affixed Intel Atom C3958 CPU. The Intel Atom C3958 is a top bin 16-core CPU running at 2.0GHz. Beyond the pure cores and clock speed, the Atom C3958 also includes Intel’s hardware acceleration technology called QuickAssist which helps compression and crypto algorithms. QAT, as it is commonly referred to, is targeted at the communications and storage markets.
Although the Intel Atom C3958 can take up to four DIMMs if the motherboard is configured as such, the Tyan S32272NR is configured to use only two DDR4 DIMM slots. These can be filled with up to DDR4-2400 16GB UDIMMs or 32GB RDIMMs according to Tyan.
In terms of storage, there is a m.2 slot (2242 and 2260 supported) for boot devices. There are also two 7-pin SATA III 6.0gbps connectors for boot devices. The Tyan S32272NR is not intended for storage appliances where one would typically want a large array of SATA ports and RAM onboard.
There are two other expansion slots. First, there is a PCIe 3.0 x8 slot as well as a SFI slot (OCP) for appliance vendors to customize their systems using add-on PCB.
The rear of the motherboard has dual USB 3.0 and dual 1GbE ports. There is something different than all of the other Intel Atom C3000 systems we have seen before: no IPMI management port.
Tyan S32272NR C958 Rear IOSecurity appliances typically do not have IPMI management ports as it is a vector for a remote attacker to get console access to a system. This omission has another important benefit that we will see soon: it is the lowest power Intel Atom C3958 platform we have tested thus far.
Tyan S32272NR-C958 Performance
We recently covered the Intel Atom C3958 performance. You can check that out for more information on the SoC’s performance in a variety of applications. In terms of raw compute, we often use a Linux kernel compile to test systems. Here the 16 core Atom can be competitive with even the Intel Xeon Silver CPUs with almost 3x the TDP.
Perhaps more interesting is the OpenSSL RSA performance. Here are the sign figures:
Here are our verify figures:
These were not done with QAT. We will have QAT enabled figures soon as that is in the writing queue. Still, impressive performance even without acceleration.
Tyan S32272NR-C958 Power Consumption
One of the more exciting aspects of the platform is the lack of IPMI. Current generation Aspeed AST2500 BMC chips and their associated RAM and circuitry consume around 4 watts at idle and around 5 watts when the system is loaded. As a result, on 120V power we get excellent results from the Tyan platform by removing that excess component stack:
- Power off BMC only: 0.3W
- OS Idle: 25.1W
- Single Thread Maximum: 29.7W
- 100% Load: 47.8W
These are around 5-6W lower than other Intel Atom C3958 platforms we have tested.
For some, the lack of and IPMI management interface, lack of 10GbE, and a full set of four DDR4 DIMM slots will be a turn-off. For those in the security segment, this is a great low power platform to build an appliance from. If we were looking to build a high core count Denverton firewall/ VPN appliance today, Tyan S32272NR would certainly be on our shortlist of solutions.