Supermicro M11SDV Epyc 3000 boards for small, quiet home server

Discussion in 'Processors and Motherboards' started by ullbeking, Apr 20, 2019.

  1. ullbeking

    ullbeking Active Member

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    Hi all,

    I am investigating boards for a quiet, lightly loaded home server with 4-8 VM's and a light file server. I have a NAS on the internal network that takes the bulk of the data.

    I have researched the Supermicro M11SDV-4CT-LN4F ( M11SDV-4CT-LN4F | Motherboards | A+ Products | Super Micro Computer, Inc. ) and M11SDV-4C-LN4F ( M11SDV-4C-LN4F | Motherboards | A+ Products | Super Micro Computer, Inc. ) on recommendation. I am very impressed.

    What do you think of these boards as the basis for a home server that is quiet and good value for money? Would the 4c/4t model suffice for my needs? I would prefer the 4c/8t model but that is about 50-75% higher in price.

    I'm considering a chassis based on my experiences with the HPE ProLiant MicroServer Gen8. This one looks very fine indeed: SC721TQ-250B2 | Mini-tower | Chassis | Products | Super Micro Computer, Inc. .

    In summary, my question is this: Will the 4c/4t model hold me for the next couple of years for the use case I've outlined? Or should I really invest a little more and get the 4c/8t model? Will I notice the difference? Thanks!!

    ullbeking
     
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  2. maes

    maes Member

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    Weird. At least, where I'm seeing them, there's only ~8% difference in price between the two ($450 vs $479). The 30W 8C/8T is also not much more at $540.
     
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  3. ullbeking

    ullbeking Active Member

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    Thanks for the heads up. I thnk I may have been looking at a different model by mistake. Indeed the 4c/8t model is not that much more expensive, and then the 8c/8t model again not much more. The 8c/16t is when it starts to get expensive.

    In any case, the main point is that I would greatly prefer passive cooling for quiet operation. Would the 8c/8t model be capable of this? It says passive cooling in the spec, but in that case you still need chassis cooling and/or passive CPU cooling via contact with a special Supermicro chassis.
     
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  4. EffrafaxOfWug

    EffrafaxOfWug Radioactive Member

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    Given the CPU TDP of the Epyc 3000's, I think you'd be hard pressed to passively cool any of them. I can't tell if they use the same HSFs as SM's Atom/Xeon-D lines so aftermarket coolers like the CoolJag BUF-E might fit, which would make any active chassis cooling much more effective in cooling the CPU.

    As to whether 4 cores is enough for you, I'd say that depends greatly on the work your VMs will be doing. UK/EU side at least the 8 core models aren't vastly more expensive percentage-wise than the 4 core models so I'd buy the M11SDV-8CT-LN4F if I was in the market.

    Personally I was waiting for some mATX Epyc 3000 boards to appear before I considered getting one as I need more IO, but I have to say the ASRock X470D4U is looking very tempting for my use case, although you'd be limited to 64GB of RAM total if the specs are to be believed (I have a sneaking suspicion it'll work with 32GB UDIMMs but there's no canary in the coal mine yet); but it looks to be the cheapest way to get a server-lite board with a lot of cheap cores.
     
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  5. BoredSysadmin

    BoredSysadmin Active Member

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    I'm generally vs overdoing things and then engineered right, even low power/low noise solution will be just fine.
    Could I offer an alternative:
    https://forums.servethehome.com/ind...nes-industrial-itx-t730-a-like-100-110.22009/
    If you VMs could be docker containers instead (many many media servers are easily available as containers) then bare metal docker host with portainer would more than serve a task of hosting even 20 running containers. If you must, you still could use a hypervisor but it would much less efficient
     
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  6. ullbeking

    ullbeking Active Member

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    That is disappointing to hear.

    Now that you mention Atom's, I'm actually a big fan of Atom boards, and I wonder if I might be better server by a C2000 or C3000 series Supermicro board. I'm pretty sure that the lower-end models can be passively cooled, and I doubt my use cases would push them too hard. In fact, more cores would probably be advantageous if I'm going to be running several (lightly loaded) VM's.

    Where did you see the prices in the UK/EU market?

    Yes, agreed. ASRock Rack is my other "go to" brand of server boards, especially when building things like home servers. I will look into this model. Thanks!
     
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  7. ullbeking

    ullbeking Active Member

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    Me too!! However a less engineered or cheaper solution still needs to function properly and be easy to configure. (See below.)

    Here we open the can of worms as to why I'm looking for a more slick solution, than what I've been experimenting with so far.

    I actually have an HP t730 Pro, and found it incredibly slow. Moreover, the BIOS is very strange, and installing operating systems has been a frustrating job because the firmware doesn't play nice with GRUB in my experience. In the end, I shelved this machine and intent to sell it to somebody who either has the time to figure it out and who knows what they are doing.

    Then I tried the HPE ProLiant MicroServer Gen8. Again, I spent a lot of time fiddling with its BIOS, trying to find the SPP and other firmware updates, creating USB sticks in the crazy format that the BIOS expects to see so it can boot them. It's a very nice machine but the weird BIOS and terrible HPE support pages have left me cold.

    Those two experience are actually what motivated me to cut my losses (it's a time sink and even if I work out the problems then I will have to spend even more money on it), and move on to something like the M11SDV series Epyc boards, or the newer Xeon-D or Atom boards.
     
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  8. EffrafaxOfWug

    EffrafaxOfWug Radioactive Member

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    I use an A2SDi-8C+-HLN4F myself, but even the model with a passive heatsink requires active cooling (as I'm not aware of any passively cooled cases that'll fit the SoC models), and even just aftermarket HSF cooling isn't especially easy to come by or fit (here's an example from IamSpartacus). The supplied HSF (the same sort as is used on many SoC motherboards) is unobtrusive enough for my needs as long as ambient temps and chassis cooling is enough to keep the CPU fan at ~3000rpm.

    I've not seen them stocked in the UK/EU yet (I usually get my stuff through Lambda Tek who don't have the full range listed yet) but sona.de has the 8C/8T model listed for €545 versus €700 for the 8C/16T variant. The 4C models hover around €450-500.

    It's a tempting proposition for me since the possibility of easily finding a better cooler is much easier with a standard socket, not to mention a wide range of dirt-cheap CPUs available for all sorts of workloads; it's even newer than the Epyc 3000 boards however and the limited memory support will likely be an issue for many. The Cooljag BUF-E I mentioned earlier is one of the few aftermarket coolers available for the Supermicro's Xeon-D boards that I've seen people use here (and thus likely also compatible with the M11SDV boards), yet I've never seen it on sale in the EU.
     
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    Last edited: Apr 21, 2019
  9. BoredSysadmin

    BoredSysadmin Active Member

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    Fair points. I don't know your loads and why did you feel AMD embedded CPU is particularly slow.
    Apples to oranges, but my Plex media server is installed on Intel nuc with J3455 CPU which is according to PassMark about 1/2 the speed from AMD CPU on T730s. Still works fine for me, including doing simultaneous video transcoding.
    My HTPC/media client is running on a tiny box (about the size of 4 matches boxes) with AMLogic S905x ARM processor and I have no issues running any video on it including it should even support 4k (haven't tried yet)
    and my Freenas NAS is using a low power i3-3220T CPU (it used to run all my media servers until FreeNAS devs decided to stop supporting the plugin system). Most of these "servers" are now containers on docker host(VM) with 2 cores and 4gb ram - no performance issues what so ever.
     
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  10. ullbeking

    ullbeking Active Member

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    I don't feel that AMD embedded CPU is particularly slow in general. If I did then I would not be considering Supermicro's M11SDV series. My misgivings were regarding the HP t730 Pro in particular for the following reasons:
    • This machine was particularly sluggush for some reason.
    • Configuring its stock BIOS and getting USB flash drives to boot wasted a lot of time until I gave up on it.
    • I have had very similar and equally frustrating experiences of other HP (HPE) hardware, my ProLiant MicroServer Gen8.
    It's only apples to oranges in the sense that we seem to have to a misunderstanding in what the primary issue actually is. It is not speed, which is an incidental concern. The major problem has been that HP/E BIOS'es are very difficuly to use and confiure. It is particularly difficult to get them to boot USB flash drives in my experience, which has been a MAJOR time sink. This is the reason that I am choosing to cut my losses.

    Not only is initial configuration, provisioning, deployment, etc, difficult. But this also indicates that when I have a system failure I will probably have a difficult time getting my system back online.

    FWIW, I am actully a big fan of the J3455, and similar such SOC's. I have also been considering Pentium J5005 and Celeron J4105 boards, so if you have any recommendations I would be appreciative.

    Which SBC is this?

    I would be happy with using an i3 in a home server CPU, for example, in my ASRock Rack E3C236D2I, which currently has a Pentium G4560. But swapping such CPU's are highly unlikely to give any noticeable performance boost so in this case I'm looking at a Xeon E3 instead.
     
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  11. BoredSysadmin

    BoredSysadmin Active Member

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    I fully understand the issues you're having with BIOS and Boot issues on T730. Trust me I feel the pain. Sluggish performance, again, this is very subjective - either you had some hardware and/or software issue or I completely don't understand your performance needs, but then again you have yet to clearly define these. " lightly loaded home server with 4-8 VM's and a light file server." isn't exactly very specific. I have HA-Proxy as VM and I have a vCenter appliance VM - both extremely different needs and requirements.
    I'd be glad to point you toward various systems, but it all depends what exactly are you trying to run on this host.
    In general, some people like to use Intel NUCs , like this one for home lab VM hosts:
    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CWXNYJL/ref=dp_cr_wdg_tit_rfb
    New Thunderbolt 3 to 10GbE options for ESXi

    Khadas Vim Pro Gen1 (plenty of other options like Le-Potato SBC for example)
    Well, let's agree to disagree. Coffee late gen Core i3-8100 is nearly 2x faster than G4560:
    PassMark - Intel Pentium G4560 @ 3.50GHz - Price performance comparison
    PassMark - Intel Core i3-8100 @ 3.60GHz - Price performance comparison
     
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  12. ullbeking

    ullbeking Active Member

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    Well, I never got into the "flow" with this machine, such that I was never able to do proper measurements or tune it appropriately. Maybe I will give it another try.

    Mainly a web server for our family web page and photo album, plus file transfer methods to transfer photos and videos, etc, between family overseas and here. A DMZ with SSH so I can log in from the outside, plus a VPN, a DNS server, MTA, etc. I'm moving to more self-hosting.

    I have looked at NUC's when they only had one NIC, and that put me off.

    Is this the kind of thing you get from AliExpress? I had a quick look but will have to examine it in detail later...

    Whoa, yeah you are right... I was originally going to get a Xeon E3-1200v6 series CPU, which is vastly overpower for what I need but then the CPU isn't being strained and it is less likely to push the fans on. Is there a way to run the E3-1200v6 CPU's on this board with suitable low-profile cooling, and to keep it quiet?

    The i3-8000 series look excellent. But now I think of it... there was a reason I didn't pursue this option... more later...

    Edit: Now I remember... this board only supports i3-7000 series, and it is missing features in the i3-8000 series that I really want. Hence, leaning towards Xeon E3.

    I've also been looking at the EPYC 3000 SOC as in the Supermicro board, and the Ryzen 5 1600, which looks like great value. But that means starting all over again (new motherboard, chassis, etc). If I had my time again I would one of these.
     
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  13. Connorise

    Connorise Member

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    As for SSDs for OS, I would recommend taking a look into servers where SATADOM option is available. It saves a few $ and if you want additional redundancy you can always take a look at BOSS cards (they will be raided in R1)
     
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