The parts list for the server build is shown in Table 2. Note this does not include Windows 2012 Server Essentials or Windows 8.1 x64 license.
|Case||Corsair Obsidian 550D||$150|
|Motherboard||Supermicro X9SRH-7FT ATX
(10GbE Intel X540 dual port onboard)
|CPU||Intel E5-2620 v2 @ 2.10GHz - 6 Core LGA2011 15MB Cache||$500|
|CPU Cooler||HH-U12DX i4 CPU cooler||$80|
|Memory||8GB Module DDR3 1600MHz ECC CL11 RDIMM Server Premier (x4)||$290|
|RAID Controller||RocketRaid 2720 SGL||$154|
|RAID Cables||CABLE 3WARE - CBL-SFF8087OCF-05M (x6)||$24|
|Boot SSD||Intel 530 120 GB||$99|
|Hard Drives||24 TB RAID 5 Array - Hitachi Deskstar NAS 4 TB (x6)||$1400|
|Power Supply||Corsair 750w Bronze (750 W)||$89|
Table 2: 10GbE Workstation parts
If you’re just sharing 10GbE storage for two workstations, you could simply purchase a dual-port 10GbE card for your server and directly connect the workstations. The rest of your network could access your server via existing 1 GbE infrastructure, connected to an inexpensive 1 GbE NIC (I’ve added an older dual port 1 GbE Intel card in the Cinevate server build). The Supermicro X9SRH-7TF board can handle two PCIe x 8 cards. So add another two dual-port 10GbE cards and up to six workstations could be directly-connected via 10GbE.
Alternatively, I produced some very high performance numbers substituting the cheaper ASUS Z87-A board in the “server build” using just Windows 8.1 as the operating system. A small shop with only two editing workstations might just build an Adobe CC workstation/server in the Obsidian 550D case, add six to eight hard drives, a single port 10GbE card and share the RAID array with the second workstation by directly connecting the 10GbE cards. In this case, one workstation would double as the server.
Consider that a NAS like the QNAP TS-870 Pro with the same six 4 TB drives (with room for 2 more) and 10GbE interface would total approximately $3500, with no server license costs. You can see there is a business case to just use a NAS, if all you need is file storage or if you already have a server on site.
The SuperMicro board I used is somewhat unique in the market right now for several reasons:
1. Supermicro has integrated dual Intel X540 10GbE ports. The price of the entire board is less than a 2 port Intel 10GbE card!
2. It is an ATX format server board, so it is easy to find cases to fit.
3. The X9SRH-7TF is a single CPU board, supporting 22nm Xeon processors, so power consumption is much less than a dual CPU server board.
4. A third network port provides out-of-band management (IPMI) meaning full access to the server (even during startup), and the ability to set thresholds and receive emails if, say, a chassis fan fails. This is all done using a remote Java -nabled web browser. Very cool.
5. It supports a lot of RAM, so a MacOS-only shop needing an Adobe CC workstation could potentially run it via a virtual machine on the server, accessible to any network Mac. Virtual machines are used increasingly to run multiple servers and operating systems simultaneously, using just one box.
6. The board hosts 10 x SATA3 ports, as well as 4 x SATA2 ports onboard. For those looking at an Ubuntu server build, i.e. free server software and a ZFS RAID array, this Supermicro board is ideal.
The Supermicro board has video and 10GbE on board. So all you need to get started is RAM, CPU, CPU cooler and boot drive. Note that this board requires a narrow ILM bolt pattern heat sink, which differs from the typical square pattern used for Xeon processors. The narrow version requires less space on the motherboard. Noctua’s NH-U9DX i4 cooler is excellent and includes all the parts needed for various configurations.
You’ll see in the gallery pictures that these Xeon heatsinks attach using screws, instead of the typical spring-loaded plastic push pins. The Xeon 22nm CPUs differ from typical i5 or i7 processors in that they use the socket 2011 standard, so more “lanes” of bandwidth to the chip are provided. This means more PCIe x16 and/or x8 slots, as well as higher RAM capacity. Xeon CPUs don’t include Intel HD graphics, so tend to be bit less expensive as well.
Click through the gallery for a look at all the parts and the finished assembly.
Here’s a screen grab of the IPMI interface, accessed using a web browser via a dedicated 1 GbE port on the Supermicro board.
Supermicro motherboard IPMI interface
What kind of performance will this server provide? Here's the ATTO Disk Benchmark. See the notes in the screenshot for test details.
10GbE Server ATTO benchmark
And here are the Intel NASPT results. Again, test details are in the screenshot comment box.
10GbE Server Intel NASPT benchmark
Here's a Windows 8.1 copy and paste over 10GbE from Raid 5 array (6 x 4TB Hitachi 7200 rpm)
10GbE Server Windows 8.1 filecopy
So there you have it. I hope you’ve found this series as much fun to read as I had researching, testing and writing it! Cinevate’s 10GbE transition is well under way, as the 2012 Server and two 10GbE NASes replace their older counterparts. Our next product launch coming later this month (April 2014) will take advantage of the new high-speed collaborative workflow.
Dennis Wood is Cinevate’s CEO, CTO, as well as Chief Cook and Bottle Washer. When not designing products, he’s likely napping quietly in the LAN closet.