A few months ago we highlighted a new Tyan dual Intel Xeon Ice Lake platform. That platform is the Tyan Thunder CX GC68A-B7126 that utilizes two Intel Ice Lake Xeon processors in a cost-optimized 1U server platform. In our review, we are going to show what that means and why design decisions were made. Let us get into our review.
Tyan Thunder CX GC68A-B7126 Hardware Overview
As we have been doing recently, we are going to split our hardware overview into external and then internal overviews. To help the lengths of each section, we are going to bring in a bit from the internal overview to the external to help with the balance.
Also, just as a quick one, this is the first server that was photographed in the new studio after the STH Blue Door Studio was decommissioned. This is by no means the final look, but it is the start of a new era for STH with a much larger studio space. We also have a few very fun projects happening over the next few weeks.
Tyan Thunder CX GC68A-B7126 External Overview
Starting with the front of the server, we have a 1U server that is only 26.77″ or 680mm deep. This is a relatively shallow-depth server. In terms of cost optimization, often colocation facilities with lower-cost space have shallower racks but there are also facilities that simply can only fit racks designed for legacy equipment.
The front of the chassis has twelve 2.5″ bays. The technical model number we are reviewing is the B7126G68AV10E2HR. That comes with a 2x NVMe configuration while all twelve drives are SAS/ SATA capable. In this server, those SATA/ SAS bays are most likely going to be SATA for cost reasons. The B7126G68V4E4HR is the 3.5″ version with four 3.5″ and four 2.5″ 7mm NVMe SSDs. The 2.5″ drives, despite the dense 12-in-1U configuration are still tool-less which is great from Tyan. Some other vendors use trays with screws in this form factor.
Moving to the rear, we have a fairly standard platform from Tyan if you have used their servers previously. PSUs are on one side, with the rear I/O and then expansion slots.
In terms of rear I/O we get two USB 3 Type-A ports and a VGA and serial port. There is an out-of-band management port connected to the ASPEED AST2500 controller. The onboard 1GbE networking is provided by two Intel i210-AT controllers. For high-speed networking, one would use the OCP NIC 2.0 or the PCIe slots that we will look at later in our overview.
The power supplies are two 850W 80Plus Platinum units. These PSUs are made by Delta and operate from 120V to 240V covering a range of data center applications.
The redundant PSUs are hot-swappable. There is a difference between this and some other configurations we see these days. These hot-swap PSUs go into a power distribution board instead of the motherboard.
This is a fairly classic design, but it is also one that is needed so that Tyan can use an EATX motherboard.
With this server, rear PCIe expansion slots are two full-height slots. Some 1U server platforms have customized motherboards that allow for a third PCIe slot. Since Tyan is using an EATX motherboard, we get two here. Many servers do not fill expansion slots so this is an area where cost optimization comes into play.
Looking at the rear expansion slots, these are on a riser. We wish that this riser was tool-less since it requires two screws to remove. Still, the riser provides two PCIe Gen4 x16 slots so one can put 100GbE/ 200GbE networking in this platform and run at full speed. Having PCIe Gen4 is a major upgrade in this generation versus the previous generation.
Overall, that was a good look at the external system components. Now, let us get to the internal overview.