Supermicro's Xeon D Solution: X10SDV-12C-TLN4F

The top tier server vendors seem to offer very few Xeon D based servers. For example, there is still no Xeon D server among the HP Moonshot cartridges as far as we know. Supermicro, on the other hand, has an extensive line of Xeon D motherboards and servers, and is basically the vendor that has made the Xeon D accessible to those of us that do not work at Facebook or Google.

The first board we were able to test was the mini-ITX X10SDV-12C-TLN4F. It is a reasonably priced ($1200) model, in the range what the Gigabyte board and Cavium CN8880 -2.0 will cost (+/- $1100).

The Xeon D makes six SATA3 ports and two 10GBase available on this board. An additional i350-AM2 chip offers 2 gigabit Ethernet ports. The board has one PCI-e 3.0 x16 slot for further expansion. We have been testing this board 24/7 for almost 3 months now. We have tried out the different Ethernet ports and different DDR-4 DIMMS: it is a trouble-free.

The one disadvantage of all Supermicro boards remains their Java-based remote management system. It is a hassle to get it working securely (Java security is a user unfriendly mess), and it lacks some features like booting into the BIOS configuration system, which saves time. Furthermore video is sometimes not available, for example we got a black screen when a faulty network configuration caused the Linux bootup procedure to wait for a long time. Remote management solutions from HP and Intel offer better remote consoles.

Xeon D vs ThunderX: Supermicro vs Gigabyte The Top of the Line Xeon D: 16 Cores At 2.3 GHz
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  • willis936 - Thursday, June 16, 2016 - link

    Are you sure that the there are more cores at lower clocks to keep voltage lower? Power consumption is proportional to v^2*f.
  • ddriver - Friday, June 17, 2016 - link

    Say what? Go back, read my previous post again, and if you are going to respond, make sure it is legible.
  • willis936 - Friday, June 17, 2016 - link

    Alright well if you don't understand why many slower cores are more power efficient even if there was a 0 cycle penalty on context switching then you aren't worth having this discussion with.
  • blaktron - Wednesday, June 15, 2016 - link

    48 cores of server processing on 16mb of l2 and 4 channels of RAM? What is this thing designed for. Will be like running single channel celerons as server processors, so decent hypervisor hosts are out, and so is any database work more complex than dynamic web pages.
  • Haravikk - Wednesday, June 15, 2016 - link

    Facebook is specifically mentioned as being interested in this, so dynamic web-pages is definitely a valid use-case here. HHVM for example is pretty light on memory usage (so is PHP7 now), especially in high demand cases where you're really only running a single set of scripts, probably cached in a compiled form, plus both scale really well across as many cores as you can throw at them.

    Things like nginx and MariaDB will be the same, so they're absolutely intended use-cases for this kind of chip, and I think it should be very good at it.
  • blaktron - Wednesday, June 15, 2016 - link

    With no L3 and slow RAM access I'm not sure where you think the scrips will cache. Assuming you ran them on bare metal (horrifying waste of compute) there would be enough, but if you had docker instances or quick spin vms doing your work (as 99% of web servers are) then each instance will only get the tiniest slice of cache to work with. It would be like running your servers, as I said, on a bank of celerons. Except celerons have L3 and don't carry 12 cores per memory channel.
  • spaceship9876 - Wednesday, June 15, 2016 - link

    Hopefully someone will release a server chip using 64 cortex A73 cpu cores, i'm pretty sure the cortex a73 will be more power efficient than xeon d. Xeon d beats cortex a57 in power efficiency but i'm pretty sure than cortex a72 will be similar and cortex a73 will beat it.
  • Flunk - Wednesday, June 15, 2016 - link

    ARM with ambition?

    I've heard that before, nothing came of it.
  • CajunArson - Wednesday, June 15, 2016 - link

    Interesting article. This does appear to be the first semi-credible part from an ARM server vendor.

    Having said that, the energy efficiency table at the end should put to rest any misconceived notions that ARM is somehow magically energy efficient while X86 isn't.

    Considering that Xeon E5-2690 v3 is a 4.5 year old Sandy Bridge part made on a 32 nm process and it still has better performance-per-watt than the best ARM server parts available in 2016, it's pretty obvious that Intel has done an excellent job with power efficiency.
  • kgardas - Wednesday, June 15, 2016 - link

    2 CajunArson: (1) you can't compare energy efficiency of CPUs made on different nodes. 28nm versus 14nm? This is apple to oranges. (2) Xeon E5-2690 *v3* is Haswell and not Sandy Bridge and it's not 4.5 years definitely.

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