Boston Value Series 125 review
Intel’s latest Atom C2000 processors are aimed firmly at microservers, and in this exclusive review we look at the first server to sport this low-power chip. Offered as a low-cost, entry-level server, Boston’s Value Series 125 is a good fit for the Atom: its 1U chassis is a mere 10in deep – and it recorded the lowest power consumption we’ve yet seen.
Codenamed Avoton, the C2000 Atoms are a vast improvement on the S1200 Centerton chips. They also use a SoC design, but a fab drop to 22nm means they can pack in more hardware, as well as reduce power consumption.
The C2000 SoC has two DDR3 memory channels, supporting up to 1,600MHz speeds and four PCI Express 2 controllers. It has two SATA III and four SATA II ports for direct links to storage, plus quads of Gigabit Ethernet and USB 3.
The family comprises five models, with this VS 125 equipped with a 2.4GHz Atom C2750. Sitting at the top of the C2000 tree, it has eight physical cores, a chunky 4MB of L2 cache and a low TDP of 20W. At the other end of the scale is the 1.7GHz C2350, which has only two cores but a tiny 6W TDP. All support Turbo Boost, with the C2750 capable of being pushed to 2.6GHz, but Hyper-Threading is off the menu.
Boston chose a Supermicro SuperServer 5018A-TN4 to showcase the new Atom, which is embedded on an A1SAi-2750F mini-ITX motherboard. Boston kept costs down by supplying the review system with a single 500GB SATA III LFF hard disk.
There’s room for a second LFF drive, but adding this prevents you from using the PCI Express slot. Intel elected not to embed RAID, which may be a problem. The only way to get a mirrored array is by ordering the system with two SFF drives or SSDs and a PCI Express RAID controller; Boston suggests a low-cost LSI 9211-4i. If RAID isn’t a requirement, you can cram in four SFF drives using two optional double-height mounting cages.
The server supports up to 64GB of DDR3 RAM, but the use of four SODIMM sockets limits it to 32GB. The price includes two 8GB 1,600MHz DDR3 modules, so there’s room to max out memory without wasting them; 16GB is enough for the workloads the server is aimed at, though.
|CPU family||Intel Atom|
|CPU nominal frequency||2.40GHz|
|Gigabit LAN ports||4|
|PCI-E x8 slots total||1|
|Power supply rating||200W|
Noise and power
|Idle power consumption||20W|
|Peak power consumption||30W|