A hugely powerful dual EPYC server with 1TB of RAM, plenty of storage and scope for further expansion.Dave Mitchell 07/01/21 |
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The blue chips have been slow to embrace AMD's EPYC server processors, but for Taiwanese server specialist Tyan it's been full steam ahead: the company now has a portfolio of over 30 motherboard designs supporting the latest core-heavy Gene EPYC 7002 CPUs.
From this lineup, Broadberry has chosen the Transport HX TS75-B8252 barebones system as the basis for its CyberServe AM2-B8252 server - and the end product really shows off the potential of the platform. The price above includes not one but a pair of mighty 32-core 2.4GHz AMD EPYC 7532 CPUs, and a whopping terabyte of 3,200MHz DDR4 memory. There's 80TB of storage too, in the form of eight 10TB SATA hard disks - and to hammer the point home, Broadberry includes a dual-port iooGbE card.
Perhaps the most remarkable part is that this isn't even a maxed-out configuration. The AM2-B8252's 32 DIMM slots can support up to 8TB of memory, and all expansion slots are of the ultra-fast PCIe 4 variety, opening up no end of possibilities.
Cracking open the lid reveals that Tyan has taken a leaf out of Dell EMC's book when it comes to design, with a similar layout to the PowerEdge R7525. Splitting the PSUs across the rear of the chassis means the CyberServe is compatible with power distribution units and allows for a balanced airflow, so there isn't a hotspot on one side of the server.
The twin CPU sockets are flanked on each side by those plentiful DIMM slots, with cooling handled by a bank of six hotplug fans arranged along the front of the chassis. Considering the 200W TDP of the CPUs, these are impressively quiet: we measured a modest overall noise level of 61.5dB from a metre in front.
Storage-wise, alongside the eight hard disk bays, you'll find empty hotplug bays for four NVMe SSDs. All bays use a simple hinged locking lever, with colour-coding to help you identify the SSD bays at a glance, and there's also a pair of M.2 NVMe SSD slots that support all card sizes up to nomm. With all these storage options to hand, it's slightly surprising to note that the server doesn't feature an embedded RAID controller - but it's no problem to install your own and BroadBerry offers an eight-port LSI SAS3 option for £495.
Once that's in place, you're still left with plenty of expansion options. The CyberServe employs four riser cages to present a total of four xi6 PCIe 4 slots and one x8 PCIe 4 connector. If you require even more expansion options, there's also a variant of the motherboard available that provides nine x8 slots.
We've no complaints about the networking provision: the Broadcom 100GbE card comes in addition to dual embedded 10GBASE-T ports, and you can easily increase the port count as the server offers an Open Compute Project (OCP) 3.0 Gen4 slot, with a smart tool-free design allowing you to slot cards in from the rear without having to open the server up. If there's one area where Tyan's board doesn't quite measure up to the competition, it's remote management: the AST2500 controller simply can't match HPE's iLO 5 or Dell's iDRAC9 for features. Nevertheless, the web console provides all the important details about critical components, with a long list of sensor graphs that can be drilled down into for more detail. There's also a platform event filter (PEF) service that can be used to create multiple policies linking events and errors with email alerts, and great access security courtesy of a system firewall and support for LDAP, Active Directory and RADIUS authentication. Full OS remote control and virtual media services are included as standard too, rather than being held back as optional upgrades.
The CyberServe AM2-B8525 is clearly overkill for a small business role, but SMEs and enterprises seeking an uncompromising rack server at a great price will find it hard to ignore. Not only is it an astonishingly capable server as supplied, but it also has plenty of room for growth as your requirements evolve.