Supermicro Ultra SYS-120U-TNR Review: Testing Dual 10nm Ice Lake Xeon in 1Uby Dr. Ian Cutress on July 22, 2021 9:00 AM EST
With the launch of Intel’s Ice Lake Xeon Scalable platform comes a new socket and a range of features that vendors like Supermicro have to design for. The server and enterprise market is so vast that every design can come in a range of configurations and settings, however one of the key elements is managing compute density with memory and accelerator support. The SYS-120U-TNR we are testing today is a dense system with lots of trimmings all within a 1U, to which Supermicro is aiming at virtualization workloads, HPC, Cloud, Software Defined Storage, and 5G. This system can be equipped with upwards of 80 cores, 12 TB of DRAM, and four PCIe 4.0 accelerators, defining a high-end solution from Supermicro.
Servers: General Purpose or Hyper Focused?
Due to the way the server and enterprise market is both expansive and optimized, vendors like Supermicro have to decide how to partition their server and enterprise offerings. Smaller vendors might choose to target one particular customer, or go for a general purpose design, whereas the larger vendors can have a wide portfolio of systems for different verticals. Supermicro falls into this latter category, designing targeted systems with large customers, but also enabling ‘standard’ systems that can do a bit of everything but still offer good total cost of ownership (TCO) over the lifetime of the system.
Server size compared to a standard 2.5-inch SATA SSD
When considering a ‘standard’ enterprise system, in the past we have typically observed a dual socket design in a 2U (3.5-inch, 8.9cm height) chassis, which allows for a sufficient cooling design along with a number of add-in accelerators such as GPUs or enhanced networking, or space on the front panel for storage or additional cooling. The system we’re testing today, the SYS-120U-TNR, certainly fields this ‘standard’ definition, although Supermicro does the additional step of optimizing for density by cramming everything into a 1U chassis.
With only 1.75-inches (4.4cm) vertical clearance on offer, cooling becomes a priority, which means substantial enough heatsinks and fast moving airflow backed by 8 powerful 56mm fans, which are running at up to 30k RPM with PWM control. The SYS-120U-TNR we’re testing has support for 2 Ice Lake Xeon processors at up to 40 cores and 270 W each, as well as additional add-in accelerators (one dual slot full height + two single slot full height), and comes equipped with dual 1200W Titanium or dual 800W Titanium power supplies, indicating that it is suited up should a customer want to fill it with plenty of hardware. You can see in the image above and on the right of the image below, Supermicro uses plastic baffles to ensure that airflow through the heatsink and memory is as laminar as possible.
LGA-4189 Socket with 1U Heatsink and 16 DDR4 slots
Even with the 1U form factor, Supermicro has enabled full memory support for Ice Lake Xeon, allowing both processors sixteen DDR4-3200 memory slots, capable of supporting a total of 12 TB of memory with Intel’s Optane DCPMM 200-series.
At the front are 12 2.5-inch SATA/NVMe PCIe 4.0 x4 hot swappable drive bays, with six apiece coming from each processor. If we start looking into where all the PCIe lanes from each processor go, it gets a bit confusing very quickly:
By default the system comes without network connectivity, only with a BMC connection for admin control. Network options requires an Ultra add-in riser card for dual 10GBase-T (X710-AT2), or dual 10GBase-T plus dual 10GbE SFP+ (X710-TM4). With the PCIe connectors, any other networking option might be configured, but Supermicro also lists the complete no-NIC option for air-gapped systems. The system also has three USB 3.0 ports (2 rear, 1 front), a rear VGA output, a rear COM port, and two SuperDOM ports internally.
Admin control comes from the Aspeed AST2600 which supports IPMI v2.0, Redfish API, Intel Node Manager, Supermicro’s Update Manager, and Supermicro’s SuperDoctor 5 monitoring interface.
The configuration Supermicro sent to us for review contains the following:
- Supermicro SYS-120U-TNR
- Dual Intel Xeon Gold 6330 CPUs (2x28-core, 2.5-3.1 GHz, 2x205W, 2x$1894)
- 512 GB of DDR4-3200 ECC RDIMMs (16 x 32 GB)
- Dual Kioxia CD6-R 1.92TB PCIe 4.0x4 NVMe U.2
- Dual 10GBase-T via X710-AT2
Full support for the system includes:
|CPUs||Dual Socket P+ (LGA-4189)
Support 3rd Gen Ice Lake Xeon
Up to 270W TDP, 40C/80T
7+1 Phase Design Per Socket
|DRAM||32 DDR4-3200 ECC Slots
Support RDIMM, LRDIMM
|Up to 8 TB
32 x 256 GB LRDIMM
|Up to 12 TB
16 x 512 GB Optane
16 x 256 GB LRDIMM
|Storage||12 x SATA Front Panel
Optional PCIe 4.0 x4 NVMe Cabling
|PCIe||PCIe 4.0 x16 Low Profile
PCIe 4.0 x16 Low Profile (Internal)
2 x PCIe 4.0 x16 Full Height (10.5-inch length)
Ultra Riser for Networking
|Networking||None by default
Optional X710-AT2 dual 10GBase-T
Optional X710-TM4 dual 10GBase-T + SFP+
|IO||RJ45 BMC via ASpeed AST2600
3 USB 3.0 Ports (2 rear, 1 front)
1 x COM
2 x SuperDOM
|Fans||8 x 40mm double thick 30k RPM with control
2 Shrouds, 1 per CPU socket+DRAM
|Power||1200W Titanium Redundant, Max 100A|
|IPMI 2.0 via ASpeed AST2600
Supermicro OOB License included
Intel Node Manager
KVM with Dedicated LAN
ACPI Power Management
|Optional||2x M.2 RAID Carrier
Broadcom Cache Vaults
Intel VROC Raid Key
RAID Cards + Cabling
Ultra Riser Cards
|Note||Sold as assembled system to resellers
(2 CPU, 4xDDR, 1xStorage, 1xNIC)
We reached out to Supermicro for some insight into how this system might be configured for the different verticals.
|Supermicro Ultra-E SYS-120U-TNR
|Cloud Computing||handles all mainstream configs|
|Software Defined Storage||+ or 2U|
|5G/Telco||Ultra-E Short-Depth Version|
Read on for our benchmark results.
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mamur - Saturday, July 24, 2021 - linkIntel is dead. Muh AMD will rule the world. Why even allow comment like that? To say you are stupid too?
ceomrman - Monday, July 26, 2021 - linkThe conclusions in the article are confusing. I'm seeing the Supermicro with similar or superior per-thread performance on every workstation load tested, excluding Photoscan (which slow cores suck at). On SpecINT and SpecFP, the 6330 can only match Zen 2. It's whooped by Zen 3, but the Xeon is so much cheaper that it still wins the price-performance ratio. If you happen to have a use for AVX-512, that's a big Intel win, too.
So overall, Intel wins price/performance on every measure. It's a clear "second place" on the very important SPEC measures. It seems like a highly competitive option, but of course, watts are crucial! Availability and volume discounts are hard to measure, but I wish there was some better power consumption data presented. 2x56-core Intel 6330 chips cost a good chunk less than a single AMD 7f53. That's great, but how much more heat can the Intel be expected to generate? These servers could make great VM hosts, or they could be money pits - I want to understand efficiency better.
mode_13h - Tuesday, July 27, 2021 - linkHuh? It also lost on LLVM compile, Blender, SPECint, and Corona.
> similar or superior per-thread performance on every workstation load tested
This basically is a nonsense metric, for workstations. Per-thread performance only really matters for cloud workloads. On workstations, you can just use bare hardware, which means you can use *all* of the threads it provides.