Broadberry CyberServe AM104S review

£2294
Price when reviewed

Now part of the MiTAC Group, Tyan offers a huge range of white box server solutions allowing system integrators and resellers to customise them to suit specific requirements. Broadberry’s CyberServe AM104S takes Tyan’s GT24 chassis and motherboard bare-bones combo and adds an interesting selection of components, with the aim of providing a good value general-purpose server with high storage capacity and low power consumption.

The AM104S comprises a Tyan Transport 1U chassis partnered by its Thunder n3600R motherboard. At only 65cm deep, the chassis is small enough to fit in a data rack and manages to pack in a specification that looks capable of handling tasks such as server clustering and HPC node duties or web and messaging services.

Four 3.5in hot-swap drive bays are squeezed in across the front panel and the price includes a full set of 1TB WD GreenPower SATA hard disks. These will have a positive impact on power consumption, but despite the wholesale move from all blue chip server vendors, Tyan is one of the few that have yet to embrace 2.5in SFF hard disks. Above the hard disk bays is a slimline optical drive, while the power, reset and ID buttons are accompanied by status indicators for the network ports, hard disks, power and temperatures.

The AM104S presents a tidy interior with easy access to all critical components. You get a decent pair of 2.3GHz quad-core Opterons, mounted by solid copper passive heatsinks, which are covered by a small plastic air baffle. Each socket is accompanied by four DIMM slots, and the 8GB of DDR2 memory included in the price can be upped to a total of 64GB.

Cooling is handled by a bank of five small, hot-swappable rotor fans located behind the processor and memory. Tyan has made significant improvements on lowering noise levels, although the AM104S can’t match the deafening silence of Dell’s PowerEdge R610.

Nvidia looks after core logic duties with its NFP3600 chipset and it also provides an embedded SATA controller, which pushes six SATA ports out to the edge of the motherboard. Standard RAID options look good as you have support for mirrors and stripes, plus RAID5 arrays. No Windows monitoring utilities are provided and all RAID array configurations must be carried out from the controller’s BIOS menu.

The network connection is handled by a pair of Gigabit ports at the rear and there’s room to expand as the motherboard has a small riser card that sports a PCI Express x16 slot on each side. An odd feature is the expansion slot next to the riser card, which supports a PathScale InfiniPath HTX Adapter. Originally only supported by AMD, this technology is aimed at Linux server clustering via Infiniband, and since being acquired by QLogic a couple of years ago, has all but been buried into obscurity.

The AM104S delivered in the power stakes, with our in-line power meter recording 15W in standby and 154W with Windows Server 2003 R2 in idle. Using SiSoft Sandra to pummel the eight Opteron cores, this rose to 229W – not bad for a dual processor system.

The motherboard accepts Tyan’s M3295-2 mini-PCI IPMI controller for remote management, and slotting it in activates the dedicated Fast Ethernet port at the rear. The card can’t be accessed via the server’s BIOS menu and can only be configured from Tyan’s separate UH8 command line utility. We loaded this on a bootable floppy and were able to view system temperatures and voltages, modify LAN parameters and set up users and passwords.

Warranty

Warranty 3yr on-site next business day

Ratings

Physical

Server format Rack
Server configuration 1U

Processor

CPU family AMD Opteron
CPU nominal frequency 2.30GHz
Processors supplied 2
CPU socket count 2

Memory

RAM capacity 64GB
Memory type DDR2

Storage

Hard disk configuration 4 x 1TB Western Digital GreenPower 7.2K SATA
Total hard disk capacity 4,000
RAID module Nvidia SATA II
RAID levels supported 0, 1, 10, 5

Networking

Gigabit LAN ports 2
ILO? no

Motherboard

Conventional PCI slots total 0
PCI-E x16 slots total 2
PCI-E x8 slots total 0
PCI-E x4 slots total 0
PCI-E x1 slots total 0

Noise and power

Idle power consumption 154W
Peak power consumption 229W

Software

OS family None

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