Boston GP M100 review

£1144
Price when reviewed

Supermicro is usually one of the first server manufacturers to deliver the latest processor technologies to market and it does it yet again with the GP M100. In this exclusive review of Boston’s new entry-level server we bring you the first look at Intel’s latest “Lynnfield” Xeon 3400 processor in a production server.

The M100 mini-tower targets small offices without rack cabinets and a demand for silent running. Performance isn’t a casualty in the search for value as the review system came equipped with the fastest processor in the Xeon 3400 series and the latest enterprise SATA hard disks from Western Digital.

Launched in September, the new Xeon 3400 series is aimed at entry-level uniprocessor platforms and is based on the same 45nm manufacturing process as Intel’s Series 5500 Xeons, but with a number of differences. As they don’t support dual sockets there’s no need for the QPI (quick path interconnect), which provides a high-speed link between processors.

Boston GP M100

The Xeon 3400 uses an LGA 1156 socket and incorporates a 1,333MHz DDR3 integrated memory controller (IMC) and PCI Express 2 I/O interface, which reduces the chip count from three to two. The family consists of six new processors with the 2.93GHz Xeon X3470 in the review system representing the top of the tree. The X3430 and X3450 are embedded versions and, apart from the 45W L3426, all have a TDP of 95W.

The four physical cores share 8MB of L3 cache. All six models support Intel’s Turbo-Boost technology, with the maximum turbo frequency for the X3470 an impressive 3.6GHz. All except the embedded X3430 support Hyper-Threading, which gives eight virtual cores.

There are two different chipsets from which to choose. The M100 sports Supermicro’s X8SIL-F motherboard, which has the high-end 3420 version. It supports six 3Gbits/sec SATA interfaces plus 12 USB ports, and incorporates Intel’s Matrix Storage Technology, which brings mirrors, stripes and RAID5 arrays into the mix. The basic 3400 chipset supports four SATA and eight USB ports, and has no integrated RAID functions.

The M100’s chassis is a lightweight affair but uses a tool-free design throughout. Physical security extends to padlocking the side panel shut or using the Kensington lock, but the power button and USB ports can’t be physically protected from wandering fingers.

Warranty

Warranty 3yr on-site

Ratings

Physical

Server format Pedestal
Server configuration Pedestal chassis

Processor

CPU family Intel Xeon
CPU nominal frequency 2.93GHz
Processors supplied 1

Memory

RAM capacity 16GB
Memory type DDR3

Storage

Hard disk configuration 2 x 500GB WD RE2-GP SATA drives in cold-swap carriers
Total hard disk capacity 1,000
RAID levels supported 0, 1, 10, 5

Networking

Gigabit LAN ports 2

Motherboard

Conventional PCI slots total 1
PCI-E x8 slots total 2
PCI-E x4 slots total 1

Noise and power

Idle power consumption 52W
Peak power consumption 130W

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