Tyan Thunder SX GT90-B7113 Internal Overview
Making this extensive drive configuration work is not easy. The drawer is latched on either side of the front and houses all twelve drives.
Sliding the disk drawer out, we can see the wires for the NVMe SSDs (and extra SATA cabling for the 2.5″ 7mm bays) running on the left side of the chassis to a PCB. Since we have the SAS version of this system, this PCB is providing both SATA and NVMe connectivity.
On the right side, we can see the wiring bundle that provides data and power connectivity to the twelve drives in the drawer. This is the view of that fully extended cable. One can see there is still a little slack to ensure it is not pulled out as the drawer is extended.
As the drawer is placed back in the chassis, these cables fold and are guided via a track system. They eventually stow into a compact space between the drawer and the power distribution board.
Cooling is provided by six sets of counter-rotating fans. These are fairly standard 1U units. Any airflow on the PSU side will be moved by the PSU fans.
In the system, we get dual Intel Xeon processors. This system can take first and second-generation Intel Xeon Scalable including the new Big 2nd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable Refresh SKUs. There is a caveat. One can only use up to 165W TDP CPUs. In our test system we have dual Intel Xeon Gold 6230R CPUs each with 26 cores / 52 threads so we are able to achieve over 100 threads without going over that TDP limit. It does prevent us from using the higher-TDP parts but in a scale-out storage server that is not needed.
Each Xeon CPU gets eight DIMMs for sixteen total. That means each CPU has four channels that will run in 1DPC or 1 DIMM per channel mode and two channels that can run in 2DPC mode. With eight DIMMs per CPU, this matches a 2DPC Intel Xeon E5 configuration and a future 1DPC Ice Lake Xeon configuration in terms of DIMM density.
Since the Tyan Thunder SX GT90-B7113 has two main variants including the B7113G90U12E4HR which we are reviewing today. This has a Broadcom (LSI) SAS3416 controller that is situated on a small riser. The custom controller allows for all twelve drives to be connected in the system along with providing SATA connectivity on the other side of the card for the 2.5″ bays.
We wanted to show more than the Lewisburg PCH heatsink below this SAS card. Underneath we find three mini-SAS ports and a SATA DOM header. As you can see, the three cables that go to the 12x 3.5″ hard drive drawer are designed to be used without the SAS controller. This is how the SATA-only B7113G90V12E4HR variant is configured. This is a really nice design touch by Tyan.
The NVMe drives are provided connectivity through cables that run on the other side of the motherboard.
Our final internal slot is an OCP NIC 2.0 slot. This is the only networking onboard but Tyan provisions the slot for a full PCIe Gen3 x16 connectivity. We tend to use dual 25GbE NICs such as this Broadcom model, so we only need an x8 link. Still, if you want to use dual 50GbE or 100GbE NICs the full x16 lanes of PCIe are important.
We would have liked to have seen an OCP NIC 3.0 slot as that is going to be the go-forward form factor. We even saw one on the Tyan Transport HX TS75-B8252 we recently reviewed. Since this is a PCIe Gen3 Xeon Scalable platform, the OCP NIC 2.0 slot makes sense as the 3.0 revision was made for a PCIe Gen4 era.
Another feature one can see here is the ASPEED AST2500 baseboard management controller. We are going to discuss the BMC in our management section. Overall, this is a really interesting server platform since it does not have a single standard PCIe slot. There are a ton of nice features and small optimizations that make this a highly tailored server.
Now that we have looked at the system’s hardware, it is time to test the server.